by Sponge, San Francisco and FoAM, Brussels collaborators: Sha Xin Wei, Christopher Salter, laura Farabo, Maja Kuzmanovic, Evelina Kusaite, Cynthia Bohner-Vloet, Sam Auinger, Joel Ryan, Ozan Cakmakci, Kristof van Laerhoven, Els Fonteyne, David Tonnesen
T-Garden is a responsive environment where visitors can put on sound, dance with images and play with media together in a tangible way, constructing musical and visual worlds 'on the fly'. The performance dissolves the lines between performer and spectator by creating a social, computational and media architecture that allows the visitor-players to sculpt and shape the overall environment. All media (clothing, image, sound) in the T-Garden environment follow one central theme: transmutation. Within this theme, the media will explore the connections between different mutating systems, such as alchemy, ecology, memory, archaeology and recognition. Melodic and rhythmic flows and cycles, morphs, transformations and pliability are some of the characteristics of media that will be explored and developed. Aural and visual density can be influenced and guided depending on the play of visitors.
The entire space should appear experientially as if it was shapeable and responsive in a fluid and choreographic manner-where the visitors ' own bodies can meld inside an alchemical landscape and, like the principal goal of alchemy itself, result in a transformation not only of the media but the visitors themselves. T-Garden environment generation is a self-creating activity that does not accept the notion of a static world. It is an environment in constant development-in becoming. The visitors perform a journey into a world where physical and virtual (or spiritual), exterior and interior, micro and macro exist in "the collision of two elastic spheres." The image becomes tangible, the sound malleable and the clothing ethereal. The media use a dynamic language that can be compared to the movement of verbs instead of the symbolism of nouns. This is a language that connects the sensual experience of the visitors with the processes of growth, decay, memory and sedimentation.
T-Garden should be experienced as a world whose matter is not actually solid, but merely a stress, a strain in the field of time and space. It is the visitors' gestures (that are not so different from everyday gestures of touching, brushing along other bodies, moving and falling, etc.) that define the matter of T-Garden. For without the human gestures, it would remain in a chaotic flux. As visitors enter the performance, they find an array of clothing from which they can choose to don. The clothing has specific exaggerated physical qualities of, for example, weight, size and material. This clothing is embedded with wearable sensing devices as well as small audio speakers. Individually, the visitors enter into several private vestibules-rehearsal studios where they can play with streams of sounds and compositional effects that is produced by and played within the clothing. There the visitors can reveal the aural and physical properties of their garment instrument, and gradually learn how to modulate and change the sounds they are receiving. After practicing, the players then enter a circular room, thick with sound and image. The floor is covered with transforming, polymorphous video and computer- generated textures: organic forms, elemental and microscopic liquid and solid state changes. These phantasmagoric textures appear to breathe and dance according to the sound patterns in the room. In this garden, as the visitors pass near each other, their clothes will appear to howl and squeal - patterns of sound 'bleeding' from one body to another. As the visitors move about, their locations and groupings will strengthen and lighten the density of the visual environment while varying the melodic and rhythmic aspects of the sound space. Memory, population density and bodily proximity affect the dynamics of the room, causing growth, decay, infection and contamination in the visual environment.
Overall Structure: The room has 4 states (audio,video, activity).Transitions between states occur as a result of user activity (state machines) or, if little or none, through set clocks which move to the next state after a specified period of time has elapsed.
State 0: (Discrete Quiescence)- room is quiescent, dark, impulses (jerks) trigger discrete sonic events. Reverse alchemy. This layer resembles the process of calcination, heating a substance until it is reduced to ashes. Streaks and pin pricks appear in the surface--resembling acid eating through the black surface. In the beginning, these effects are not lasting as the gaps return to black within a beat. Through these streaks and gaps you glimpse the next layer of video bright underneath.
State 1: (Discrete Continuity)- room adds continuous sound fields between discrete events, the effects of the stage0 are longer lasting: dissolution, rusting, corrosion, breaking up and disappearing of the first layer.
State 2: (Rhythm Phase Change)- Patterns created in response. (e.g. SuperCollider's patterned accents) Video: Separation: filtration of the 'essence' of the (upcoming) third layer--time in the video is slowed down to just a minuscule changes. The movement of the people might cause, for example, time remapping. or some other gestures might serve to get rid of the 'noise' - noise being the first layer, or maybe the edges that are traced in the video.
State 3: (Alchemical): a. Conjunction: recombination of the 'saved elements' from stage 2 and their recombination in the .effects (like edge detection, or some of the QT-grammar deformations) are fading away, The rules disappear and we're left with substance and its movement. It's still not clear what we're looking at.as there is still just movement in one layer. b. Fermentation: the layers start growing like bacteria in milk or grape juice. The content of the video is rotting and becoming something else, through the mixing of different 'substances' (this is primarily AE work). The video-image is here very dense and physical, heavy, slow and inert. The process is beautifully slow and 'painfull'-- solid to liquid c. Distillation: the video starts 'boiling', and the layers start mixing and bursting in one another. The image is full, but light and hot -- liquid to gas. d. Coagulation: Ultima materia. The layers evaporate like these last 2 images of wisping white fabric. The only movement we can perceive is the movement of the weightess, contentless layers. The layers slowly fade away and the room goes back to darkness. Visitors leave traces and "converse" with each other in musical and visual phrases as they weave their way through the room. The traditional roles of spectator and actor dissolve into a field of performance as gesture immanent in ordinary life, where social play emerges without explicit rules or grammar.