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A new research protocol after the first WIP

Dernière mise à jour : 7 janv. 2022

After putting in place the installation for the first WIP show, I faced limitations in the way I had conducted the work. Even if overall I don’t think, after engaging with the subject, that it has the potential to be developed to an advanced stage, I would like to go to the end of a logic and reproduce the installation in the light of the first experience.

I will do it almost from scratch and dedicate not the second WIP show but the 3rd Artefact to a more finalised version.

I still have technical issues that remain, they are essentially about establishing a functioning surround output directly from Unity to the space of G05, and managing the image-caption with NeuralTalk2.

What I would like to expose in this post is the protocol I tend to follow in light of the experiments of the first field recordings.

The central concerns are:

The quality of the sound, which will be resolved by switching to another equipment, and using different settings, more adapted to the speakers of G05.

The original idea of having a discrete camera, using a GoPro to film that would record the situation in movement as in the reference of artist Kyle MacDonald in the streets of Amsterdam for the video NeuralWalks, did not prove relevant for this installation. The reason is that the changes are not striking enough when the camera is placed for a few minutes on a spot, it also does not reproduce the experience of Perec sitting in one spot and describing what he sees, as he is constantly changing his point of view, across the plaza, by choosing to focus on certain points, and moving around. This was one of the limits he found to his human experience too, the one related to the fact that he is supposedly describing the ordinary without narration, but chooses to point his eyes in a direction. To replace the video I will be working with still images.

I have hesitation on the way I will target them if it will be by aiming at spots he has focused on and that can be identified today (eg, “children are playing under the church pillars”, this could be one target). Or if I will lead the observations from the points of sound.

One of the central issues I had during the WIP was that the book was not present in the piece. I would have to explain it was inspired by it, but even then, it is difficult to relate to the original text. I was also doubtful about the fact that I wrote myself the descriptions to be navigated, and even more by their disposition, as even if they weren’t maps, they still represented spatial areas.

This also caused a navigation problem with the custom gamepad. Except for this, the gamepad worked well and instinctively for the users who tested it, except for the fact that when in an area, they would tend to push the button and expect a reaction.

The new plan of action will tackle all these questions.

I have extracted from the text all the sentences with indications of where Perec is standing to observe the square, as well as indications on his gaze. They can be found in the following collage.

Instead of partitioning the square in spatial sequences, I will record on these same spots. You don’t navigate the space, but the positions in space of the narrator of the book. Which is solving the question of the map as well as the one of writing sentences that could appear random, and bringing fragments of the book to the visitors.

I have also isolated the indications of point of focus and will have to decide if they are the ones that will lead the pictures to be fed to the AI.

I will be taking samples at those spots, for 15-30 seconds (the original one was longer and irrelevant). I will keep the partition by days and hours. When entering the hour, you will navigate the different spots of the square to isolate the sounds, and the AI’s description will appear on the side walls.

You will be able to create your soundscape by selecting several sounds at the same time, they will spatialise as you go. This makes you also an actor of the soundscapes and tends towards the initial intuition of selecting the options with the push button.

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