S O U N D . I T . I S Design Document

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I DI N A S L D T A I I B O T K N U I T AM G M MB A E / ST V E E M ME R RI IN ER A L LY L D D T I I I A V T N W I V M I H K D I A NG IJ / AL I D /A F S PR DB S/ UA MS T B A H T O I M L T A S H E EN JE L YR S/ ER U L A I N T C I T 3 D M O A B S T H 1 A S ST TR N RR ER M G/ E M M H B I ER AA R AT GE AN MA D AY F A 1 O E 2 N DA T AN IV /“ A RI S 2 S 2 JU WE M 2- D/ E RE GE S M 01 HI S I 0 1 L Y E K F A 4 / W I O F V I R : A T/ 3 / O N 3

M

DESIGN DOCUMENT


TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION

3

THE BEGINNING

5

INVESTIGATED TECHNIQUES

Chosen technique

9 10 13 15

LOCATION SETUP AND DESIGN

16

WHY WFS?

20 23

Augmented audio Polyphonic sound system

Sound designers

SOUND DESIGN

24 24 24 25 25 25 26 27

Timing Requirements sound design Concept sound design Concept Structure Requirements Requirements catwalk section

FINAL SOUND DESIGN

28

BIBLIOGRAPHY

29

APPENDIX

30

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How can the narrative fashion

of

revived

media

culture

through

be

digital

in the context of the

iNDiViDUALS brand

?

INTRODUCTION The fundamental goal of this assignment is to

successfully

create

and

deliver

an

innovative way for iNDiViDUALS to present its latest fashion collection. The narrative behind this season’s fashion collection must be conveyed to the audience to which it is presented. Revival is necessary, as the current uses of new media do not reflect innovation. The measure of success will include the depth of coverage of the collection’s presentation in national and international fashion press, and secondly the success of the collection in retail sales PROBLEM STATEMENT: How can the narrative of fashion culture be revived using new media in the context of the iNDiViDUALS brand?

ASSIGNER: AMFI/iNDiViDUALS For the last seven years, the Amsterdam Fashion Institute has operated a Minor program called iNDiViDUALS. The program accepts eight students from each of the Institute’s departments, Fashion, Branding, and

Management

who

collaborate

to

design and produce a full-fledged fashion collection. The intensity of the program activities as well as aspects of retailing and merchandising make the minor project

/3


known as a “reality school”. The venue where

these

collections

have

been

historically legitimized is the catwalk of Amsterdam Fashion Week (AFW), a twiceyearly event that brings together both Dutch and international designers and press. This

presentation

form

has

a

set

of

standards specified through the beliefs and interpretations of the fashion world, and through the manifestation of its constraints and limitations. On the one hand, this environment offers limited playing room to present a collection in ‘another’ manner, as it must meet the professional expectations of the fashion industry. In the last few years, new methods that challenge the traditional presentation form are appearing, namely because of digital and technological developments. The assigner cites a holographic catwalk show from Burberry in early 2012 as one example of how new media is influencing the narrative of fashion culture. Other large fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Kenzo, and Ralph Lauren have also sought other forms of fashion presentation with more creative

outlooks

that

stretch

the

boundaries of “standard”. Taking these recent developments into account, AMFI and

iNDiViDUALS

seek

an

innovative

solution that utilizes new media to present their collections in a way that preserves and supports the core values of the brand and also expresses the concept of “reality school”.

THE TEAM The four members of the team from MediaLAB Amsterdam are students from the University of Amsterdam, University of Utrecht, and the VU University Amsterdam, respectively. Hired to work in the creative interdisciplinary environment offered by the MediaLAB, they must produce a solution /4


that utilizes digital new media to revive the narrative of fashion culture. The production of

the

solution

must

occur

within

a

prescribed methodological process. The process (or perhaps more aptly, journey) to producing

a

working

prototype

of

a

solution has evolved through the phases of research, concepting, and design. Each phase has been accompanied by a distinct set of activities that produce cumulative knowledge.

More

details

about

the

activities of previous phases can be found at

the

team

blog

at

http://medialab.hva.nl/individuals.

1

THREE CONCEPTS In order to proceed with the Design phase, the MediaLAB team sought approval on one of three concepts that were developed in response to the problem statement. More information about the details of each of the concepts can be found in their separate

documentation.

One

concept

focused on delivering exclusive content with a social media strategy; another was for an internal system to digitally preserve elements of the group’s creative process; the final concept presented: a soundscape.

THE BEGINNING OUTCOME – CONCEPT PRESENTATION A specific set of insights was produced during the research and concept phases that

led

to

the

development

of

a

soundscape concept. Shortly summarizing these insights: Catwalk shows tend to be very visually focused. As a result, music or sound for fashion shows receives less direct press

/5


attention than other elements of visual spectacle that are used (such as holograms or large screens). Furthermore, in the field of new media studies, sound is less often studied

alone

aspects.

relative

Theories

of

to

other visual

acoustics,

sound

design, and audio engineering have been produced long before the dawn of the Internet, which makes the production of a sound concept all the more interesting to the

four

university

students

from

the

MediaLAB. Furthermore, there is a distinct level of technical expertise that the team can

acquire

as

it

regards

the

implementation of a hardware and software solution. From a surface review of the results of the digital ethnography conducted in the research phase, the team remarked that the concept of immersive sound had been explored to a very limited extent within fashion culture. Sound itself was particularly interesting for the assigner in regards to the ability

of

sound

to

evoke

emotional

intimacy at the show. The assigner in turn compared the effect of delivering an impactful performance to the feeling of hearing a favorite song at a live concert. Sound has been studied extensively as an emotional trigger that is highly personal in terms of its perception. The concept of individuality of perception in fact happens to be directly aligned with the brand equities of the assigner, especially for this particular collection. Via maintenance of an online link archive via a private Facebook page, the team assembled a list of links to information about sound’s deployment in a variety of mediums and formats. These links were closely examined and then categorized in order to orient the team to state-of-the-art possibilities in sound design. In a series of several rapid breakout sessions, the team /6

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Producing soundscape provide a

discussed the importance of these projects as well as the leverage each could have in

the

relation to the context in which the sound design would operate.

concept would

STAKEHOLDER AND END USER

serious challenge

ANALYSIS

MediaLAB, and thus chose also out of desire to maximize educational for the

The

MediaLAB

team

sought

first

to

understand why AMFI had chosen for the soundscape concept as opposed for the other two that were presented. Particularly for the soundscape, the idea that the overall message provided by visuals can be

value.

supported by the simultaneous delivery of music and sound is not new. Yet, the team understood that significant personal cultural knowledge

resulting

from

AMFI’s

experience of participating closely in the close-knit community of AFW contributed to the decision. Through indirect influence of these external stakeholders/facilitators, the team believed that AMFI understood that the soundscape concept would fit better with the requirements of AFW as opposed

to

the

other

concepts.

Furthermore, the team believed that AMFI understood that producing the soundscape concept would provide a serious challenge for the MediaLAB, and thus chose also out of desire to maximize educational value. The team also posits that the nature of the MediaLAB’s operation as an educational institute

as

well

as

the

pre-existing

arrangements made between the AMFI and the

coordinative

MediaLAB

about

assignment

also

personnel the

of

nature

influenced

of the

the the final

decision. The key elements of the narrative to be revived are those being created by the current generation of iNDiViDUALS

/7


students. However, the larger goal of the AMFI is to offer this generation as well as future ones the possibility to repeat the solution’s

implementation.

Thus,

the

MediaLAB team had originally envisioned each concept as a platform or a framework for various forms of narrative storytelling. Designing and providing an innovative delivery system for sound at the fashion show would be one way to solve the assignment challenge. Yet, the specific context and location in which such a soundscape must operate provided it’s own set of challenges. Firstly the traditional setup of the audience surrounding the catwalk arranged in a straight line doesn’t naturally lend itself to reproduction of sound. If the catwalk where the models are walking to showcase the fashion pieces isn’t altered, there would be a chance that the audience doesn’t notice that they’re receiving a curated audio experience. What’s more - the typical attitude of the audience affects what design choices can be pursued. Many traditional immersive sound experiences are delivered via headphones, yet it was confirmed that the audience for this particular show would not be receptive to wearing an apparatus on their heads for any purpose. Besides initial concerns about how the sound would be delivered, the actual design of the auditory or musical score requires talent that the MediaLAB team has had to seek externally. Furthermore, the concepting and design of the actual score is dependent on the ability of the MediaLAB to implement a rapid iterative cycle of Research,

Concepting,

collaboration members.

with

and

the

Understanding

Design

in

iNDiViDUALS the

emotive

qualities as well as the overall message of this cohort’s collection requires constant monitoring and continuous feedback. Since /8


2

the

creative

process

of

the

students

engaged on the project is dynamic and in flux, decisions about the audio/musical gestures have yet to be finalized. Thus the ‘Soundscape’ concept as documented has evolved

and

will

continue

to

iterate

significantly.

INVESTIGATED TECHNIQUES

In order to understand how the team could engage with audio hardware and software for narrative storytelling in a live performance

setting

and

also

most

effectively utilize the project’s budget, a wide variety of options were investigated. The team engaged in desk research that included textual analysis as well as video clip reviews to synthesize this knowledge. Descriptions

below

outline

the

basic

requirements for each technique as well as its modus operandi. For each considered technique there appears a short alinea as to why each technique was considered in light of the overall assignment.

BINAURAL RECORDING Two microphones are used to record sound as if it were being registered by the human ear. In most implementations, a dummy head is used to simulate the slight delay and difference in tones when sounds are perceived from different directions. Other alternations of the technique include use

of

full-torso

mannequins,

or

microphones placed inside of each ear of a person at the recording site. The playback experience, especially when delivered with high-quality headphones, “simulates being right at the site of the acoustic events” (Neumann, Current Microphones, Dummy Head). The sound recorded from the left ear is replayed into the left ear and vice

/9


With the introduction and widespread adoption of

smart

mobile devices, the ability to deliver a personalized

sound incorporates

experience

sonic

elements

of the user’s context is

apparent.

that

more

versa. The most precise replication of the recording is usually achieved when the recording is played back using headphones. The human brain unconsciously recognizes the slight delay between the sound from the left and the right ear and is able to identify the direction from which the sound is coming. This technique works best if the user of the headphones doesn’t move or rotate his head during playback. When he moves,

the

perception

of

the

sound

direction moves with the head, which making

the

illusion

less

realistic.

Although binaural recording and playback through high quality headphones offers a highly personalized and immersive auditory experience, the attendees of a fashion show tend to follow the movement of models by moving their head left and right. Unless individual motion sensors are coupled with the headphone playback system and used to calibrate the recording’s playback for the movement of the head, the realism of the illusion will suffer. Furthermore when trying to

achieve

the

illusion

of

a

sound

originating spatially from directly in front of or behind the head, it’s rare to find an affordable pair of capable headphones.

AUGMENTED AUDIO With the introduction and widespread adoption of smart mobile devices, the ability to deliver a personalized sound experience

that

incorporates

sonic

elements of the user’s context is more apparent. Applications (apps) are being developed and marketed consistently, to the extent that the term ‘augmented audio’ has

graced

the

audio

professional’s

household lexicon. Most of these apps use the device’s built-in microphone to record the audio landscape of the user. The software /10


transforms the recorded sounds virtually in real-time. These sounds are played back to the listener, but usually require playback to happen through headphones. For example, ‘The

Inception

App’

developed

in

collaboration with renowned composer Hans Zimmerman for the iPhone uses this technique to give the listener the feeling they are immersed in a dream sequence from the feature film Inception. This technique was examined due to

the

fact

that

most

fashion

show

attendees are in possession of their mobile devices while they’re watching the show. The devices transform the input from individual microphones but transform them with an identical algorithm and play the same ambient soundtrack. The challenge to implementing this type of sound design is the time needed to develop an app as well as

licensing

challenges

in

making

it

available to the audience on iPhone and Android operating systems in time for the show.

Furthermore,

there

is

a

high

likelihood that the attendees would be using their devices to capture photos and/or

engage

with

social

media

as

opposed to remaining focused on the app. However,

the

delivery

of

an

augmented audio experience doesn’t have to be limited to the screen of the mobile app. The concept of augmented audio can be extended to include nearly any method of live performance or ambient installation that

is

augmented,

incorporating

data

or

altered,

collected

by

using

a

computer. Immersive audio is a hot topic in many fields of new media, especially in that of video game sound. The concept of facilitating adaptive sound has been made possible

by

software

interfaces

that

generate audio signal output based on coded

parameters

that

respond

computerized input. This technique has /11

to


been implemented in a number of live performances that use sensor input to drive the performance, or sometimes indicate to the

technician

that

the

sensor

has

registered at a certain threshold. The MediaLAB team participated in a Do-It-Yourself audio workshop with Arthur Bennis of the Hogeschool Arnhem and Nijmegen to investigate if it was possible to build Arduino software with breadboard extensions that would power sensors that could feed data to augment a linear music composition. The workshop was a basic instruction of how to install LEDs and photo resistors

to

sense

the

surrounding

environment. What became clear to the team during the day-long workshop was the level of programming language needed to fully customize a solution that could be installed to serve an audience of more than 300

persons.

Arthur’s

explanation

granularity of customizations possible with the Arduino or its recent sibling the Raspberry Pi in combination with variety of commercial and open source MIDI software revealed that those working with Arduino usually

build

highly

experimental

[and

sometimes fragile] installations using a ‘hacked’

or

repurposed

application

to

deliver a live performance. The MediaLAB team eventually decided to steer away from designing an Arduino-operated soundscape due to the audience’s perception of the soundscape as playing an ancillary role compared visual elements, as well as the time

remaining

concerned

in

sourcing

the

project

would-be

as

it

talent.

Computer vision was a specific tactic that the team investigated for its ability to make an interactive experience. A video camera can be connected to a computer to a program that runs an algorithm over data gleaned from the image feed. An example of how this /12


technique was implemented was the Tales of the Bridge installation, where a video camera was mounted on a nearby building to observe the traffic at various locations on the bridge. This input in turn fed a software program

that

was

semi-automated

to

trigger various elements of a composition. The activity of the visitors themselves determined the uniqueness and degree of change in the composition. This installation represented

the

collaboration

between

audio professionals from several different specialties. The composition was woven into a three-dimensional soundfield after it was recorded. The team decided that pursuing

augmented

audio

through

computer vision as an element of the final design was inconsistent with the overall message of this iNDiViDUALS collection. Even so much as passive interactivity granted to the audience members doesn’t fit their expectations in the sense that it would be distracting to experience and to participate. This consideration takes into account the range of other departures from the ‘traditional’ presentations decided on by this S/S 14 collection of iNDiViDUALS.

POLYPHONIC SOUND SYSTEM Multichannel sound systems have grown in the last twenty years to regard 5.1 surround sound as a standard [as well as a household term] for home theater systems across the world, as well as in movie theaters, cinemas, concert

venues,

and

the

like.

The

spatialization of sound is delivered through multiple channels; sometimes even with 8 channels, where each channel represents the spatial location of the sound source that is seeking to be replicated. The MediaLAB team’s

desk

research

into

this

audio

technique yielded that it’s used to increase

/13


the

Producing soundscape provide a

perceptual

realism

of

the

audio

experience as well as increase immersion.

the

concept would

serious challenge

MediaLAB, and thus chose also out of desire to maximize educational for the

value.

After speaking with JURLights, the company who has historically been hired Amsterdam Fashion Week to provide lighting and audio services, the team understood that most catwalk shows musical accompaniments were presented in monophonic sound. Although

there

multiple

speakers

and

subwoofers used, the console where the speakers are wired does not differentiate between which speaker delivers which sound. The ephemerality proffered by any catwalk show in general makes it important that the experience is memorable. The philosophy

behind

giving

a

catwalk

presentation in the first place is not only to showcase particular artistic creations but to demonstrate the outcome of a creative process that has commercial goals. As a result, regardless of any particular musical or auditory elements that will appear in the final design, the MediaLAB team seeks a technique where sound can be realistically spatialized. A

recent

innovation

in

this

technology for cinema spaces was created by Dolby, a method of delivering a cinematic sound composition through a 64speaker custom installation solution that the company named Atmos. According to the company’s website, the system allegedly allows sound designers “unprecedented control” over how they spatialize sound within the space. Due to the educational goals of the project, the budget for implementing such a solution at a one-time performance makes the Dolby solution inaccessibile.

Furthermore,

whether

delivering a polyphonic (sound from many directions), quadrophonic (sound from four directions) or even an ambiphonic solution (two

directions),

the

delivery

multichannel sound through traditional /14

of


means has a significant limitation: the socalled spot

“sweet spot”. The location of this results

from

cross-talk

between

speakers, essentially “noise” that distorts what the left ear and right ear perceive respectively.

Therefore

most

traditional

surround and polyphonic sound systems have spatial restrictions where the audio must be delivered to an audience that is situated directly in the middle of the speaker array.

CHOSEN TECHNIQUE Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) creates sound wave fronts by synchronizing an array of speakers that producing sound effects from an ‘artificial’ source.

As opposed to

surround systems, Wave Field Synthesis eliminates the creation of a sweet spot. Instead,

WFS

offers

the

ability

to

“hyperlocalize” sound to a distinct source point within a specified area inside of a mathematically arranged array of speakers. Thus, space becomes a compositional parameter that is incorporated to the traditional musical score. The procedure for the Wave Field

Figure 1

Synthesis was developed by prof. Berkhout at Delft University of Technology. The system has the ability to produce a virtual, physical copy of a genuine sonic field. By producing elementary waves forming a radiating wave from a virtual source, true spatial audio is created. In other words, this system uses software to calculate how a sound wave would spread inside of the playback room area. Then it uses the speakers individually to play the sound in a way that all the speakers their waves combined recreate the exact size and shape of the original sound wave.

/15


TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIO NS The Game of Life’s Wave Field Synthesis system

consists

of

specific

structural

elements that are detailed in Appendix A of this document. The loudspeaker array was designed by Raviv Ganchrow (Baalman,

3

2007, 457). The 192 speakers are grouped into units of 8, and mounted onto twentyfour trolleys with wheels that each require two power lines.

LOCATION SETUP AND DESIGN

The presentation of the Spring/Summer 2014 iNDiViDUALS collection will be on Friday 12 July 2013 at 8:00PM in the Transformatorhuis,

opening

night

of

Amsterdam Fashion Week. The date and time of the fashion show has been up until the publication of this document held entirely secret. More information about the facilities available at the Tranformatorhuis of the Westergasfabriek can be found in Appendix C. The setup for the Game of Life’s

Wave Field Synthesis system is dependent on

several

factors.

Firstly,

the

Transformatorhuis location is too large in terms of acoustics to place the arrays of speakers on all four sides of the audience and maintain the quality of the wave field. Secondly, there needs to be a clear line of sight for photography crews to be able to make pictures and video recordings of the models. Therefore, and also because of the

assigner’s wish to keep the show very small and intimate, the number of allowed spectators at the show will be kept low.

/16


Approximately 200 people will be invited to the show. In comparison: the previous iNDiViDUALS show, held at the Amsterdam Fashion Week in January earlier this year, accommodated around 900 spectators. Due to these factors, and the fact that as many

people

as

possible

need

to

comfortably fit inside of the wave field area, the team has developed two options: The

U-Shape: In this setup on the side

where the Photographers are standing there are no speakers in place. In stead these speakers are added along the other sides to increase the floor size. This means losing one side of speakers meaning sound can now come from only 3 sides. The Tunnel Shape: In this setup the speakers are placed on two opposing sides of

the

audience.

photographers

and

The the

side

of

entrance

the from

backstage are left free of speakers. This way the

sound

can

only

come

from

two

directions. For the system this still means that sound can be placed within the audience. Still the sound can only come from two directions. For the show the rectangle setup is simply too small to fit enough people for the show. The choice is now between having better spatialisation or more people at the show. If we use the rule of thumb for 0,5 person per sqr meter to be comfortable.

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• Rectangle:

96x2192

• U- shape:

141,7x2 284

• Tunnel Shape:

171,7x2 343,4

The win of square meters: • Rectangle maximum = 10 x 14 = 140 sqr minus walking space = 8 x 12 = 96 sqr • U shape = 14 x 12.9 = 181 sqr minus

Figure 2 Floor map U-shape by Wouter Snoei

walking = 13 x 10,9 = 141,7 sqr • Tunnel shape = 15,75 x 12,9 = 203 sqr minus walking = 15,75 x 10,9 = 171,7 sqr

Figure 3 Floor map Tunnel shape by Wouter Snoei

Shape

System Setup

M2

Minus Walking

M2 Result

Rectangle

10x14

140

8x12

96

U Shape

14x12,9

181

13x10,9

141,7

Tunnel Shape

15,75x12,9

203

15,75x10,9

171,7

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As

regards

to

the

audience,

in

a

conventional catwalk setup the audience is seated in rows parallel to the aisle. The volume of these rows mostly vary from two to five, but more and more fashion labels currently are sticking to only one row of audience seated next to the catwalk. This to give every spectator the impression that there is no such thing like a ‘second best row’ to be seated on, since sitting ‘front row’ appears to be a highly desirable privilege in Figure 4

the fashion industry. Since the shape of the catwalk no longer will be straight but square, an empty space will be formed in the middle of this square. The assigner has chosen to make this space the area where the audience will witness the show. This means that at the iNDiViDUALS show the audience won’t sit around the catwalk, as is the conventional setup of fashion shows, but the audience will be surrounded by the catwalk. Therefore, models won’t run the catwalk up and down in front of the spectators, but all around them. With this in mind, the fact of having people sitting at the show also isn’t certain anymore. The idea of letting the audience stand at the show now becomes evident. This would also imply that the audience can walk around within the space inside the square

catwalk,

generating

a

more

democratic feeling of watching a fashion show. The issue of being seated front-row, namely,

will

be

taken

away

with

an

audience standing and walking around, having no fixed ‘second best’ place to sit. Additional, the technical specifications of the Wave Field Synthesis neither will have a ‘sweet spot’ to sit or stand in order to have the best sound experience.

Figure 5

Good note to mention, the catwalk will be, in all likelihood, not a staged runway. This means that the models will walk on the same level as the audience is /19


standing.

Nevertheless,

to

divide

the

“audience space” from the “model space” the audience in the middle of this catwalk setup will be surrounded by hip-high fences.

MODELLING The aisle that serves as the runway for the models will be deformed from a straight line into a square. This provides a runway where models will not run up and down, like they would on a straight aisle, but are able to walk a whole circle, or, in this case: square, without crossing their previous and following colleagues on the same aisle. Also, there will be no evident ‘posing point’

4 /20

where the models will hold their walk for a moment and pose before they turn around and continue their walk down the aisle towards the backstage area. This point, at the conventional catwalk setup, is, due to its shape from the straight aisle, situated at the end of the catwalk. Since the models will not pass a similar ‘dead-end’ point on a catwalk with a continual shape, the actual posing and turning can arbitrarily be chosen by the models themselves or even be excluded from their walk.

WHY WFS?

Gilles Huygen, the owner-operator of the Game of Life foundation stated that the Foundation’s particular system hadn’t been in the context of a fashion show before. To reiterate the research question in light of the development of a concept, the final design must use audio to tell the story

of

this

particular

iNDiViDUALS

collection as well as be available for us as a platform for future collections. Recreating a realistic audio landscape via wave field synthesis is not only an effective way to convey the ideas, feelings, and overall message of the collection, it is an innovative


one. The synthesised wave front makes for a very realistic experience wherever one is placed inside the system. Surround systems don’t deliver this kind of experience. As soon as the listener walks out of the sweet spot of such a surround system the hardware of the speaker itself becomes the reference point of the heard sound, whereas the WFS creates virtual acoustic sources which are produced by multiple elementary waves, which provide the same behavior as real sound sources. Furthermore, aspects

of

wave

the field

new

media

synthesis

are

interesting. Using computers isn’t recent, but the ability to creatively code and produce these sounds live is in fact rather new. 3D graphics software makes visual realization of the spatial properties of the waves

touches

on

theories

of

data

visualization. This way the audience does not experience the sound coming from a particular speaker because the waves of the speakers combine into a larger wave originating from a virtual point behind the speakers. There is also the possibility to let the virtual audio source be inside the speaker arrangement. Basically, by inverting the delay times in the creation of the larger wave through multiple elementary waves the virtual source is now inside the playback room area. To certain degree the audience can now walk around the virtual source. With this system the audience will experience the same change in perception of the audiosource when they walk around

/21

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inside of the wave field area, as if they walked around in the room where the audio is recorded. This means that it is a true spatial audio reproduction.

ADDITIONAL DESIGN FACILITATION W FSCO LLIDER Super

Collider

programming

is

an

language

object-oriented developed

by

James McCartney in 1996 for real time audio

synthesis

and

algorithmic

composition via sound wave programming. WFSCollider is a specific program created with this language to deliver sound for the Game of Life system. The software is open source and was downloaded for free to two personal

computers

by

the

MediaLAB

Amsterdam team. The software offers a graphical user interface that makes it possible to visually spatialize each the path of each sound and its timing within a linear score.

SOFTWARE EXPERT Wouter Snoei is a postdoc from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU) who helped to develop and program the WFSCollider software for use with the Game of Life system. He’s a technician who also is responsible for the use of the system during

live

presentations

and

a

SuperCollider super user. He’s been hired on a per-day basis to deliver tutorials to one of the sound designers and participate in testing days.

LOGIC PRO A standard software used by audio experts and hobbyists alike, the team purchased LogicPro

to

begin

experimenting

with

creating a soundscape. It became clear to the team that the level of customization to any sound or music is high. Despite the flexibility offered, the software interface is /22


relatively intuitive for those familiar with Digital Audio Workstations and have a basic understandings of the principles of sound design. The key to using this software is the ability to create and layer a variety of sound elements before importing them as a single score element to the WFSCollider.

AUDIO ADVISOR The

team

hired

Arnoud

Traa,

audio

professional and owner of De Auditieve Dienst, a service business that produces compositions for sound art projects. Arnoud himself is a graduate of the Hogeschool voor

de

Kunsten

Utrecht

(HKU)

with

specializations in radio dramas and Foley sounds. His function is to guide the MediaLAB students via in-person meetings several times weekly. His responsibilities include supervising the creative process and being able to translate the needs of the MediaLAB team and their assigner to the eventually-hired sound designers.

SOUND DESIGNERS The MediaLAB had initially taken on a role as an agency in search of artists with experience in composing specifically for the Game of Life’s WFS system. International sound collective Soundlings has been hired to produce a composition piece for the introduction of the show. Sound engineer and designer Tijs Ham is the creative lead on the project, chosen for his experience in working with Super Collider code as well as creating and coding compositions for live performances. Pinar Temiz has been hired as an assistant project manager, serving as well as a press manager for the collective. Other sound artists who will be featured on the composition are Robin Koek, Georgios Papadakis and Roald van Dillewijn.

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5

SOUND DESIGN TIMING The narrative of the S/S 14 collection is sought to be represented in a musical composition minutes.

lasting

The

walk-in

approximately period

for

33 the

audience to enter the Transformatorhuis will last approximately ten minutes. After all attendees have entered the and wait for the show to start, also taking 10 minutes. This entrance of the audience and them waiting for the show to start we will further indicate as the ouverture. After this ouverture, the actual show will start. Approximately, the show will last 13 minutes. After the show’s finale, there will be time for the audience to leave the venue and attend the following program in the adjacent buildings of the event

location,

estimated

to

take

10

minutes as well but during the outro there will

be

no

musical

composition.

This

timeline reveals that not only during the show, but also there is room to experiment with the sound design.

REQUIREMENTS SOUND DESIGN The biggest requirements from the assigner are that the emphasis of the entire event is placed on observation of the garments and the underlying messages these are carrying. The sound design should influence and help to carry this message and encourage its interpretation and assimilation by the audience. The goal of the piece is to

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contribute

to

presentation

an of

artful

the

and

impactful

collection

without

dominating the focus of the performance. The

success

of

this

year’s

iNDiViDUALS AFW presentation is focused on generating a demand in retail sales and the accumulation of earned media via the syntheses of online press channels and social media. Similar to the fact that the student teams are working together for the first time to accomplish a common goal for the

performance,

the

MediaLAB

Amsterdam’s milestone of pursuing a sound project is shared by the AMFI via a sisterhood

to

the

Hogeschool

van

Amsterdam. The measurement of these aspects as well as demand and regard from the audio artist community is intended to evaluate the results of the collaboration as well.

CONCEPT SOUND DESIGN The concept of the sound design that the MediaLab team sent to the Soundlings collaborative is based on the story of the collection [see appendix B].

THEME: OPPRESSIVE SYSTEM Challenging the operation of a system, that involves a strict set of expectations and responsibilities. Dealing with the struggle that is accompanied with the desire to be free. Choosing your own way within the system, without rejecting it entirely.

STRUCTURE The entire sound composition is divided into two parts; an intro of 15 minutes when guests are entering venue and catwalk section 13 minutes. Contrast between these parts must be evident, although cohesive.

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Design of catwalk will be a circle. Circles and cycli have to be evident in the sound design. Also that these cycli are repetitive, but slowly morphing and thus slightly change with each repetition.

REQUIREMENTS 1. Intro: Building up towards point of tension 2. First eclectic sound composition, organic, unstructured → symbolising freedom, spontaneity, “make your own rules”. 3. Sounds are pleasant to listen to, separately and together in their arhythmical composition. 4. Eventually structure emerges: sounds on same pace, same interval, same rhythm.

5. Become “mechanic samples” marching in same direction → symbolising the system, structure, conformity. 6. This composition is dissonant, all parts together are uncomfortable to listen to. 7. Tension in this composition is evident. 8. No climax: Use spatial effects of WFS to “push” this cringing sound out and introduce show soundtrack → contrast between intro and show.

Photo by AFW

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REQUIREMENTS CATWALK SECTION 1. Sound that is familiar to audience, that tells them that the show has started. 2. Play with expectations of this sound, in a broad sense → spatialize (WFS), morph/remix, syncopation, etc. 3. Possibility to move different sound tracks in opposite directions, with possibilities to include corresponding choreography of the models. 4. Unexpected ending. 5. Clear ending, but not evident why that ending and why at that time. 6. Surprising, but not fulfilling. 7. Open ending in terms of leaving the audience with questions, but not in terms of whether this was the ending or not.

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DESCRIPTION FINAL SOUND DESIGN

The sound piece for the first part focused on experimenting with the dynamic movement of waves in a rule-based acoustic space. Sounds of natural materials were transformed and filtered to represent the collection’s theme of struggle - cracking wood, clanging metal, crumbling stone. Musical, resonant guitar riffs and the improvisational crooning of a saxophone fused to produce a dark ambience, forming physical structures of sound that create new spaces for the listener As the models begin to make their way around the catwalk, the soundscape morphed into the sort of cutting edge pop music which front-row goers know and love. Still carrying references to the more abstract sonic experience that came before, electronic beats emerged as the broken guitars and vocals were harmonized with the colors of gamelan. Layers of sounds surrounding the listener, complementing the movement of the garments and the intricacy of their designs. The Soundlings also made a binaural recording to replicate the immersive, 3D sensation in headphones for those who weren’t one of the 250 to be invited to the experience of the WFS system.

MORE INFO: WWW.MEDIALAB.HVA.NL/INDIVIDUALS

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Baalman, Marije A. J. “On Wave Field Synthesis and Electro-Acoustic Music - State of the Art 2007”. 457- 464.

IMAGE BIBLIOGRAPHY Figure 1 Wikipedia. 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Principle_wfs.jpg Figure 4 Westergasfabriek. 2011. http://www.westergasfabriek.nl/zakelijk/verhuur-van-locaties-engebouwen/transformatorhuis Figure 5 Bolo. 2012. http://www.bolo.nl/chateau-techno-5154

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APPENDIX A [Technical Specifications WFS from Game of Life] 192 (one hundred and ninety-two) speakers [Seas coaxial] 12 (twelve) subwoofers [Hypex Class-D] 8 (eight) MOTU 2408mk3 [Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI-e) hard disc recording system] 2 Hear Technologies Extreme Extenders [making possible the extension of ADAT fiberoptic cables that transfer digital audio] 2 Apple Powermac G5 quadcore 2.5 GHz 512 MB [desktop computers ca. 2006 to divide processing tasks and a standard video cards] 1 Apple Mac Mini 1.66 Ghz Intel Core Duo 512 MB 80 G superdrive [additional computing power to support the peripheral audio hardware] 24 Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 [to convert analog audio signals to digital and vice versa] 24 Hypex amps 24 trolleys to mount the speakers on 24 multiple sockets Power Consumption = 3500 Watts

APPENDIX B [Initial Briefing from iNDiViDUALS S/S 14] The MediaLAB received the following text from the Branding students of the iNDiViDUALS to offer a subtext to this season’s story: STARTING POINT This is different We stay true to what we are Free yet connected Restrictions define freedom We create autonomy CONCEPT TEXT We don’t want rules We don’t need rules We are responsible Each individual has its own process towards freedom We don’t choose the usual way Struggling is part of our intuition

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We are autonomous We are free With restrictions Without rules It is at this moment That all options are open But there is too much to fulfill Our lives are tensed, explosive and dynamic We trust on intuition We decide on the spot Our search for freedom makes us awake and alert We are free Yet connected CORE VALUES Autonomous Struggle Defining freedom Different Free, yet connected ESSENCE OF THE STORY (B) We hebben eindeloos veel vrijheid, maar zo voelt het niet. Juist omdat alles kan en mag voelen we ook de druk om alles te doen en te moeten. Hierdoor krijgen we een ‘struggle’. Hierdoor worden we restless, awake, benauwd. Je bent verantwoordlijk voor je eigen vrijheid. We hebben een eigen beoordelingsvermogen, dit stellen we boven de beoordeling van de gemeenschap/meerderheid. [We have endless freedom, but it doesn’t feel that way. Rightly so - because as everything can and may, we feel the pressure of must and do from everything. Through this we get a ‘struggle’. Through this we become restless, awake, oppressed. You’re responsible for your own freedom. In our work we have our individual critical judgments, which we regard as more important than those of the community/majority.] Je wilt geen regels, niet uit anarchisme, maar je bent zelf bezig om je eigen regels te bepalen. Het is het herdefinieren van vrijheid. Het is ONZE weg. Het hoeft niet via de makkelijke weg; je kiest je eigen weg. We gaan de confrontatie niet aan net als bij DUALS, maar we negeren het ook niet. We kiezen een midden weg. We zoeken de confrontatie niet op maar we rennen er ook niet voor weg. [You don’t want rules, not out of anarchy, but you’d rather decide on your own rules. It’s the redefinition of freedom. It’s OUR way. It doesn’t have to go the easy way; you /31


choose your own way. We aren’t seeking the kind of confrontation that DUALS was, but we’re not denying it either. We choose for a middle way. We’re not searching for confrontation but we’d not run away from it either.] De kleding is vrij basic en zonder gezicht. Vrij om zelf invulling aan te geven en in dit opzicht past het dus bij de vrijheid van het concept. De stukken zijn niet opleggend of gebonden aan trends. De identiteit van de drager geeft identiteit aan het kledingstuk. [The clothing is freely basic and without image. Free for freedom’s sake. The pieces aren’t founded on or bound to trends. The identity of the wearer defines the identity of the piece itself.]

APPENDIX C

Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek The main locations of the Westergasfabriek where the AFW catwalk will take place are the Gashouder (17), the Westerliefde (47) and the Transformatorhuis (18). The show of iNDiViDUALS will take place in the Transformatorhuis, more specifications can be found in Appendix [ ] Maximum Capacity: 750 persons Total area: 700 m2

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Measurements Total: 46m x 16m Available: 16m x 34m Height: 9.7m Highest Entrance: 4.2m x 4m Facilities Floor: Polished Concrete Water: 3x plus 2x drains Power: 5x 125 Amp, 1x 63 Amp and 12x 220 volt outlet divided over three groups Light: Basic Worklight Heating Climate Control Toilets 5x women, 3x men, 1 urinal Showers: 4x Dressing Room Kitchenette Technical Room

Empty Westergasfabiek

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View of Empty Transformatorhuis

Transformatorhuis ...

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APPENDIX D [concept sketch by Sound designer Tijs Ham]

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