Lost Referential


An interactive audiovisual installation by
Bill Vorn & LP Demers
Montréal (Québec) Canada
© 1998





LOST REFERENTIAL proposes to project Artificial Life principles to an interactive kinetic light architecture. A set of eight automated luminaries have their focal point computed by a flocking (herd like) behavior algorithm. These lights are not passive actors manipulated by direct interaction with the viewers. They are true "living" characters, on a constant move, evolving and reacting to the audience. The walls become a large sensory membrane, as the installation utilizes a vast number of sensory cells (64) distributed throughout the space periphery.

LOST REFERENTIAL challenges the crowd and the personal experience. One single person controls the flow and evolution of the system by means of his/her heartbeat. The crowd does, in turn, react and adapt to one's beat and influence the swarming by its sole body presence. A total of eight independent sound sources also accentuate the lifeliness of the lighting and the heartbeat propagation.

A light cone shines on the heartbeat (medical ECG device) interface. One person puts the sensor clip on his/her finger. The piece starts. One beat after another, all the moving lights "pulse" their intensity and move towards their next location. They all obey to this improvised conductor. These states are derived from the crowd movement around the space.

The motion detection systems computes crowd displacement and establishes areas of interest. The area where there is the most disturbance becomes the center of revolution of the swarm. The swarm either avoids this area, revolves around it and then breaks into smaller swarms that revolves on themselves. The program decides to skip or demultiply heart beats in order to create tension and unstability. The program also reacts to the racing of the beat, generating even more disturbance in the light and sound.

The system memorizes crowd patterns thru time and utilizes it as navigating material, synthesizing a virtual path from this turmoil of data. Divided by group of four sensors, an array of 16 lights systematically incarnates an histogram of activity depicted by regions of the wall brightness. This gives a constant visual feedback to the crowd.






• Lightforms'98, The Great Hall of the New York Hall Of Science
(New York, USA)
From April 16 to May 31, 1998






• Lightforms 98
Art & Science Collaborations Inc
(New York, USA)
April 16, 1998
- Leprecon Award for Interactivity



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