Evil / Live 3

An interactive audiovisual installation by
Bill Vorn
Montréal (Québec) Canada
© 2004



EVIL/LIVE 3 is an expanded version of a previous work created in 1997. EVIL/LIVE is an interactive sound and light installation based on a classical example of self-organization and Artificial Life. It is inspired by "The Game of Life", a cellular automaton created by John Conway in the late 60's.

EVIL/LIVE’s automaton is modeled as a 2D grid of cells (represented by light bulbs) where each cell has one of two possible states: alive or dead (on or off). The rules are based on proximity as each cell has eight neighbors: left, right, above, below, and on four corners. For each generation, a cell sets its state anew according to the following set of rules:
1- A dead cell becomes alive if it has exactly 3 live neighbors.
2- A live cell stays alive only if it has either 2 or 3 live neighbors.

EVIL/LIVE 3 aims to create a paradoxal context confronting the single-plane world of a cellular automaton to the 3-dimensional immersive environment surrounding the viewer. By using fast stroboscopic changes in light and quadraphonic sound effects, it creates an illusion of physical volume.

The original version of EVIL/LIVE has been presented at the Art Rock 98 festival (Saint-Brieuc, France) from May 29 to 31, 1998, at the Sonar 98 festival by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) from June 15 to 28, 1998, and at the Musiques en Scène 99 festival at the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (Lyon, France) from February 12 to April 11, 1999. The second version (EVIL/LIVE 2) has been presented during the European Media Art Festival (EMAF) 2002 in Osnabrïck, Germany, from April 24 to May 20, 2002.

The goal of the artist's work is to present machines not as specialized and virtuoso automata but rather as expressive animated artworks. He aims to explore the reformulation of sound and light applications by simulating organic and metabolic functions and by creating dynamic virtual architectures.

A matrix of 256 halogen lights (16 x 16) is hanging from the ceiling on an aluminum structure. Audio speakers are also fixed on the structure, just behind the lights. Another speaker is located behind the viewers, up on the wall. The aluminum structure is about 4m x 4m and is installed in front of the viewers (see fig. 1).
The lights are changing constantly by themselves according to the rules of The Game of Life which are controlled by a computer. Patterns are generated automatically by the program (Max MIDI software). For each light also corresponds a particular sound (created by a sound sampling function in the computer) in such a way that light patterns also generate rythm patterns and variations.

Viewers can trigger new sound and light patterns just by pressing the "chaos button" or moving a joystick on the interaction pod located at the center of the room. This interface is deliberately modeled over the most common videogame input devices, and it is placed in the middle of the room on purpose. But this interface is a trap: it does have an effect on the audiovisual events but it doesn’t allow the user to get complete control over any parameter. Also, a computer-controlled video camera picks-up images of the viewers in the space and transposes these images onto the grid cells. The cellular automaton uses these images to start in new evolutive directions.

The 5-voice soundtrack is generated in real-time by a digital audio extension of the Max software (MSP). Sound samples are triggered and processed according to the evolutive patterns of lights on the grids. 4 speakers are located behind the structure and a fifth one is fixed on the opposite wall in order to counterpoint the frontality of the work and to create an illusion of depth.




• Wood Street Galleries
(Pittsburgh, USA)
From April 29 to June 19, 2011

• Ciber@rt 2004 festival
(Bilbao, Spain)
From Apr. 23 to 30, 2004




High Resolution Pictures


Evil/Live 3 in the EART studio
EvilLive3.01.tif.zip, 5.6 MB, TIFF format, 300 dpi, 1682 x 1401


Evil/Live 3 in the EART studio
EvilLive3.02.tif.zip, 5.9 MB, TIFF format, 300 dpi, 2048 x 1536


Evil/Live 3 in the EART studio
EvilLive3.03.tif.zip, 7.1 MB, TIFF format, 300 dpi, 2048 x 1536

QuickTime Video


Evil/Live 3 at Cyber@rt-Bilbao and in the EART studio
EvilLive3.mov, 23 MB, QuickTime format, 320 x 240, 2:39 min.

YouTube Video


Evil/Live 3 at Cyber@rt-Bilbao and in the EART studio

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