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Experimental Projections

Visual and sound installation resulted from exploration with projections.

Over the summer I decided to bring forward my experimentation with projections. Following various researches on this media and where it came from, I came across this old technique used in the 70s liquid light shows.

My initial idea was to use this process to convert sounds into visual images, and to do so by hand, as if my person was a processor between sound and image.

First approach

Since this techinique was something completely new to me I began to research into cheap material to experiment with and I started looking for the necessary equipment needed for a liquid light show.

All I truly needed was a overhead projector, plates, liquids and a wall to project onto. Since I was at my very first beginning I knew nothing about what kind of model or plates to use nor where to find specific dies, so I started experimenting with things that were accessible to me.

After I built my set I started experimenting with all sorts of liquids and plates to see how they would interact with each other and the light. I would use water, olive oil, sunflower oil, vinegar, liquors, fabric paint and glass paint on top of plastic or glass plates, pan lids and clock covers.

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The project

After familiarising with the technique, I started working on the project itself. The idea was to create a sound and visual installation that could be experienced by the viewer on a large scale. I wanted to make a sound piece that could reflect my relationship with a place where I go to feel at peace, which is a field in Farnham, UK, that would include the sounds recorded on site plus other relaxing ones. I wanted the sounds to guide my movements and those of the water in order to create this immersive installation made of projections and sound, in which the public could lie down, take a breath from the rush of the daily life and just enjoy the experience.

The Sound

For what concearned the sound piece i dug into the principle of relaxing music and studied the scientific features that make a song relazing. A great example from which I took inspiration was “Weightless” by Marconi Union, which is considered one of the most relaxing songs ever made.
The points I wanted to keep were:

  • The length of the song: around 8 minutes, which is the necessary time for the hearth beat to match with the beats of the song
  • The tempo: starting from 60 beats per min to then slow down to 50
  • The presence of the frequency 432 Hz
  • The presence of low sounds and hums, which are believed to help entering a trance-like state

Since I had never made a whole song before i asked the help of an emergent producer, Ezko, who helped me with the technicalities and did a great job putting all my requests together in a sound piece.

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The video

After we finished the sound piece, I started playing it out loud while trying out different movements and patterns that could have gone with the flow of the music.
Thinking about the final installation and its location it came up that it would have not been possible to perform a live show, so I decided to film the experimental process and make a video that would have gone with the sound out of it.
Since the projections were really showing just at night, the overall practice and recording took longer than expected, also because working at night was getting really tiring, but after a few weeks i managed to get the video done.

The installation

The installation took place in Meda, Italy, in a big empty room situated next to my studio.
I set up the projector and two speakers in the afternoon, cleaned the wall and put rugs on the floor so that people could sit on them.
I believe the installation was a success; due to the late time the room was dark enough to allow the different colours to show and the fact that the projection was on an entire wall made a big impact on people.

At the end of the day I received a lot of great and positive feedback that made all my efforts for this project worth it.

Final run-through