Bending the Arc

Interactive Installation by Jennifer Wen Ma during Atlanta's Flux Festival
Interactive system design, development direction, coding, projections
Bending the Arc

A field with illuminated microphones and a projection on a wall of the building next to the field greet the visitors. The projection is, at rest, a thick line composed of many lights

Bending the Arc

The lights around microphones incite the visitors to use the microphones. Once they do so, a section of the line jumps up and forms a section of an arc.

Bending the Arc

If two or more microphones are used then more sections jump up and the overall height is a bit higher. The louder they sing, the higher and brighter their section. If all the microphones are used at the same time then a glorious arc is formed and if sustained an explosion is formed. The visitors can sing, talk, whisper, or shout into the microphones, all produce different reactions.

Bending the Arc

While they are using the microphones their voices are being recorded, analyzed and chopped up into little snippets of sound. These will be used in the second part of the event. During the finale a choir comes out with a lead singer and a rapper.

Bending the Arc
Rapper RDK in the foreground and composer and producer Jeryl Bright with the Georgia Institute of Technology choir in the background

They begin singing the song specially composed for the event. Smoke is produced so that the projection now happens on the smoke giving the images a whole new texture.

Bending the Arc

In fact at times the smoke blows over the heads of the audience and the lights form a fluid vault above them. Lights react to the new voices, going through various patterns until the grand finale when the arc is built. Accompanying the choir is a musical instrument we created for the event that plays the snippets of voices recorded in the correct key, incorporating everyone's voice into the final product. For this project we created two software systems that would communicate in various points. I designed the overall system and coded the visuals and interactivity. Jason Freeman & Anna Xamb├│ (GA Tech), & Gerard Roma (University of Surrey) designed Granular sampler, the software that records, analyzes and plays back the voices from the audience as a musical instrument.

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