Project Place Urbanity

Customer iCinema Center Sydney

Format Interactive installation with cylindric 360°-projection and surround sound

Task
Project leader audio
Specification recording and reproduction audio systems
Architecture and implementation audio software
System integration
Audio production

Status
Realized 2002
Place Urbanity is part of the collection at ACMI, the Australian Center for the Moving Image Melbourne

Display
EXIT Festival Paris 2002
VIA Festival Maubeuge 2002
Instituto Itau Cultural Sao Paulo 2002
ACMI Melbourne 2003
Future Cinema, ZKM Karlsruhe 2003
Cinémas du futur, Lille – Capitale Europeenne de la Culture 2004

Info
www.icinema.au

Concept
The interactive video installation is based on the development of a 360-degree digital video recording system using 16 DV video cameras arranged in a ring and 16 DV recorders. Custom software allows these 16 simultaneous video recordings to be 'stitched' together in the post-production to form one 'panoramic movie' which is stored and accessed from a hard disc array.

In the installation the operator rotates their viewing window within the 360-degree cinematic space which plays back at 25/30 fps. Parallel with this panoramic video recording technology, audio technology will be developed for panoramix audio recording, which combines surround ambient as well as discretely located sound sources. Custom software will dynamically mix and focus these 16/32 sound tracks in conjunction with the path of the operator's view in the virtual environment. This new virtual landscape will be populated by cylinders of moving audio-visual data — a constellation of cinematic events that the viewer can visit and examine in whatever order they choose. In other words a modular interactive cinema where two kinds of spaces are conjoined — the cinematically represented spaces, and the space of the virtual environment in which these cinematic spaces are geographically located.

Such a spatial conjunction also has major implications for the development of interactive narrative structures. On the one hand there is the set of autonomous narratives embodied in each of the panoramic video recordings. On the other hand there is the hyper-narrative of interactive relations and experiences that is effected by the viewer's free journey within the virtual environment. Because this journey is in effect a process of viewer control of both the 'camera' and the 'edit' of the pre-recorded cinematic data, each performance will become a unique event. Place Urbanity will explore the possibilities of this interactive cinematic landscape specifically in terms of urbanity, looking for significant scenes and events in the Australian urban fabric that become a quilt of telling relationships when conjoined in PLACE's navigable environment.

Credits
Jeffrey Shaw (Concept, Direction)
Dolfi Matthias (Graphics Software)