space-time association


Zero-Th Studio : Projects

Design | Dynamics | Architecture | Interaction | Geometry | Arts

Projects : Overview

The following are several recent projects partially representative of the research and development activities in the studio.

More information can be obtained from the website of my studio, Zero-Th (Pula, Croatia).

More complete listings of projects of Karmen Franinovic or of Yon Visell can be browsed by following the supplied links.

Recycled Soundscapes: Sonic Diversion of the Public Flow

Interactive public sound installation

Role: conception, development

Recycled Soundscape is designed as a system through which to explore and engage with auditory aspects of experience in the city, and to provide the possibility of relief, through sound and relational design, from the prevailing and often stressful urban flow.

The result is an interactive system for the public orchestration of an urban sound ecology. It consists of a set of kinetic, human-scale interfaces which seek to create diversions and concentrations of attention within the sonic context of a location, by facilitating reflective activity in the public sphere, in the course of which an acoustic landscape may be augmented, modified, and performed. It offers the possibility to listen to and to record noises - human, natural, machine - which are otherwise difficult to take notice of, and which nonetheless contribute to the characteristic of a place over time, composing its evolving memory in sound.

It has been publicly exhibited at the Place Igor Stravinsky, during Resonances 2004, Ircam / Centre Pompidou, Paris and at ACM Designing Interactive Systems in Boston.

See further documentation
on this CD


Skyhooks, balloon as interface, 2006

The sensation of bodies looming overhead, bigger and more active than strings and rubber-and-air balloons alone, an unseen landscape, vortex of ... what, exactly? Empty and full, smooth and striated, floating - resonators of unknown material. Grab on with Skyhooks, take a drag on the texture of the upside-down. Skyscape revealed, the handle clutched in your fist rubs against the invisible, and the rhythms of your feet are translated into movement through the air, orchestrated into the physics of hidden levitating forms, surfaces and structures. The balloon is your instrument. It is excited and guided by the secret bodies it lights upon.

Balloon as interface excites invisible forms overhead (and other balloons), heard (through the physically-modelled sounds of of balloon-form interactions), felt (from haptic feedback supplied by the balloon's handle), seen (the ballet of balloons illuminated dynamically from the inside at night)

Interactive sound installation, Kortrijk, Belgium as part of the festival Happy New Ears, 2006.

See more Skyhooks documentation
on this CD..

lyta: remote touch interface

Pair of telehaptic surfaces, with FoAM

Lyta is a unique artistic installation commissioned by the city of Wolfsburg, Germany for the new science center Phaeno, designed by Zaha Hadid architects, and newly opened on 25 November 2005 in the center of Wolfsburg. It is a system for interactive, body-scale space-time architecture: two kinetically-charged surfaces, separated in space, are linked telematically so that deformations induced by touching each one are transmitted to the other interactively.

The result is be a networked, modular, and interactive behavioral sculpture which haptically connects people at distant locations. It is based on a novel biomimetic haptic displacement transmission network developed by FoAM and Merlin Systems, a robotics firm based in Plymouth, UK.

More images
on this CD


Collaborative interactive installation, with boutiquevizique, 2003-present

Kontakt is an interactive collaborative installation directed toward the use of human touch as an interface for activating media. Visitors use their bodies to form chains between active poles in the space in order to animate space with new movement, sound, and visual sequences. These interactions invite people to collectively move through and to explore the spaces in which the installation is sited (a tall stairwell, a newly discovered house, an urban temporary space, a church) and the touch experiences it encourages. The extended interaction is social: a singular visitor is unable to make Kontakt. The human skin and body, mobile and unpredictable, become sensors and the actuators of this active space.

My role in this project: conception, design, programming, electronics, construction and coordination.

Exhibited at V2 Institute for Instable Media for DEAF 2003, Rotterdam, NL, Garage-G festival, Straslund, Germany, Audioframes3 festival in Kortrijk, Belgium. Forthcoming: Charged Space (Montreal, May, 2006) with Frieda Abtan.

See the Kontakt feature at the website of sponsor MakingThings
See more Kontakt documentation
on this CD..

Architecture of Subtraction

Urban design research, Zero-Th and Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, 2004-Present

Architecture of Subtraction is concerned with the ways in which technology can offer relief from the hectic urban flow, by engaging people with new playful interactions within and concerning surrounding urban contexts, rather then by creating a separation from them. The idea is to lend people an alternative and active audio-visual experience of locations in the city. Several interactive spaces have been designed, including the Recycled Soundscapes and Televator. They demonstrate the ways in which technologically enhanced interaction between humans and environment can impact our perception of place and social interaction in the city.

A more general aim of this research is to explore how and why interactive space might become an essential part of the urban fabric.

Related: Lecture at INCITE Approaching the City conference , University of Surrey, London, January 2004; Exhibition at IDII Annual Event 2004 : When lightning strikes, Ivrea, June 2004.

Architecture of Subtraction project site

Meta Acoustics: Ontologies of impossible signals

Research initiative on the latent form of imaginary sound

Role: conception, theory, development

Knowledge of the world is conveyed to us by diverse signals impacting our senses. Our auditory system is adapted to linear waves travelling in air, while we are capable of hearing a much wider class of disturbances, which may be conveyed by any physical or unphysical laws, produced by any spaces or objects we might imagine, provided they are translated into vibrations at the ear.

Such sensations carry information about the spaces, bodies, and dynamics (possible and impossible ecologies of sound) that have left their imprint upon the signals passing through them, and their properties are mapped in the mind in ways that are not yet understood.

This idea has facilitated the sonic presentation of features of the world that bend perceptual expectation. At its extreme, we are dealing with technologies for presenting the radically insensable.

Related: Y. Visell, "Disturbance, Audition, and the Betrayal of Geometry".
Invited presentation at Subtle Technologies, University of Toronto, May, 2004.

HMMM: Pattern Theory approach to Generative Media

Role: conception, theory, development

The project presents an adaptation of machine learning models for the creative and interactive design of media, including sound. The result may be variously understood as

  • A tool for statistical performance
  • A system for eliciting the self organization of structures in time and parameter space
  • A model for the spontaneous organization of real-time series
  • A hidden variables stochastic graphical model for the succession and time of onset of sensory events or changes in sensory parameters
  • A repurposing of the hidden Markov model toward capturing and synthesizing patterns with perceptually natural qualities
See the project overview
on this CD

Also: Y. Visell, "Spontaneous organisation, pattern models, and music,"
Organised Sound 9(2), Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004.

featured project

Palaghiaccio Olympico Torino. Olympic Stadium, with ArchA, Arata Isozaki, and Arup

Newly opened for the the XX Olympic Winter Games, Palaghiaccio is a collaboration on a competition-winning design with architects ArchA (IT), Arata Isozaki (JP) and Arup (UK) for the city of Torino. Karmen worked on the design of this project during her tenure at ArchA Architects.

The building, with its distinctive steel facade, is one of the key new structures constructed especially for the 2006 winter games. It hosted events throughout the Olympic games, including the Olympic hockey matches, each attended by more than 12000 spectators.


AutoGrill Monument

Sublime monument and real time casualty display, with Ivar Lyngve, Luther Thie, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, 2003

In the near future, when the Autostrada and the AutoGrill are co-owned and co-managed, there will be a seamless integration of traffic data and roadside rest stop. Not unlike the accident fetishists who haunt highway scenes, drivers are both fascinated and dismayed by highway accidents. AutoGrill Monument offers a sublime ambient display of real-time highway fatalities integrated into the popular Italian roadside restaurant.

The designers have pushed the concept to the fore with an integrated alert system which causes a jet of blue liquid to be shot 20 meters high, saturating a water-filled column that pierces the building. AutoGrill Monument is a sublime, if improbable, display of highway fatality. It inspires awe and terror through its beauty and by the representation and direct reference to an immediate eclipse of life.

My role in this project: conception, design, 3d digital modelling and video editing.

Autogrill Monument, now showing as part of Monument Recall: Improbable Monuments,
an online exhibition of SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA, Oct. 26 - Nov. 24 2004.


Extreme scenarios: The car as theater - political systems inside the community car, with Belmer Negrillo, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, 2003

Politicomobil is an exploration of systems of power inside the car's constrained environment. Using political systems as a metaphor for the community and its relations in a constrained space, Politicomobil questions decision-making and issues of property within a collective car community, as well as the concept of the community car itself. We transformed the space of the car into a theater for the playing out of a political system. Two extreme, historically-specific examples were applied to the car space, and represented in videos: the fascist period in Italy, and the current political system in USA.

Invisible relations inside the community can be either hidden or expressed through the design of the car. Here, we exhibit them on the surface in order to better understand their use as a design tool.

My role in this project: conception, design, scenography, direction and editing.

Video: Fascism
on this CD..
Video: Bush
on this CD..

More information at the Collective car Applied Dreams website at IDII.

txoom: responsive environment and ecology

Interactive playspace, with FoAM, 2002-3

Role: conception, development

txoom moves away from the static representations of art and culture and invites its visitors to actively take part in the environment's growth and transformation, thereby shaping their synaesthetic experiences. New meaning is created in the interstices of babble, sensory confusion and comprehension, creating a plurality of voices. txoom as word, concept, sonic and visual imprint, tactile and physical sensation, and responsive environment unfolds as you go along, accumulating meaning, yet never fixating it.

The result is an interactive and performative playspace permitting gestural control over media, and exploiting wearable sensing networks, active materials, and spaces composed of real-time responsive light, graphics, and sound.

Installations at Biennale Giovannese di Torino (Italy), the Hippodrome Circus building (Great Yarmouth, England). Event hosting and DVD publishing by KIBLA ( Maribor, Slovenia). Partnership with Time's Up (Linz, Austria), Interactive Institute (Visby, Sweden).

More documentation on the included DVD.
See also the FoAM txoom website

Amnioptic Surface

urban boundary, with Bruno Juricic, Venezia, MutePlateau_Lab, 2000-2002

What if no road leads to home? What occurs as our conceptual view fixes words such as "hospitality, proximity, and stranger"? For a moment we perceive these things: otherness, strangeness. However, our habitus of thought and memory soon assimilate the concepts into their familiar landscapes, with the question: "Where do you come from?" This is the negation of hospitality, and refuses to permit the establishment of the correspondences: Xeno-Xenia / Stranger-Alliance.

My role in this project was conception, design, writing and digital modelling.

Amnio(p)tic surface project site


Urban reuse project, Berlin, 2002

The line of the Earth - the zero level - is the starting point around which the Invercity gravitates. It remains, in its integrity, an open public horizon. The city is revolved about this line, and constructed upside-down.

The resulting public urban surface is a complex system of soft-attractors, crossed by bike and foot-paths. It is fragmented so as to recreate familiar human spaces, grounded in the necessity to meet the other. Railway connections to other ex-industrial areas, some already transformed into research centers, forms the basis of a knowledge-sharing system using the physical network which transports people or equipment.

The railway container box is itself converted into habitable space: The Room. It can be moved by train, or rented for periods. The system is thus flexible, in both local and international scale.

Invercity Poster 1
on this CD..

Invercity Poster 2
on this CD..

quantum reverberation

Imaginary acoustic environments, 2000-

Role: conception, theory, development

Noncommutative geometry is a compelling framework unifying geometry, algebra, and quantization. Whereas the objects of classical differential geometry may be visualized by means of an embedding in a (flat) Euclidean space of an appropriate dimension, no such visualization exists, in general, for noncommutative, or "quantum" spaces.

The pursuit of alternate representations leads to an unusual problem in the simulated acoustics of the fantastical - that of embedding sounds in virtual, quantum spaces. The techniques employed may be understood as quantum modifications of standard signal processing operations.

Research, software, and sound examples presented at the symposium Sound in Space, CREATE, UCSB, 2000. Suggested listening: the reverberation of footsteps in a (synthetic) quantum room:

Steps 1 (mp3, 500kB)
Steps 2 (mp3, 500kB)
(Starts dry, reverb level rises, the "quantizedness" increases, and process reverses itself.)

The Angel's Angle

Video, Technische Universität Berlin, 1999

The video was a result of research on the architecture in Germany of the 1930's, especially the ideas of Paul Klee and Mies van der Rohe.

Angoli Angelici, 'macchine astratte' pronte ad orientarci nella convessità della città la cui logica spaziale è una continua rifrazione di ogni slancio di penetrazione, di ogni richiesta di maternità: un meccanismo impercettibile che traccia sul nostro corpo, incidendone la superficie, La Sentenza. Ang(e)l è ancora chiuso nella gabbia semantica dei tre assi cartesiani, che lui stesso ha creato ed evoluto, è un relitto concettuale-strutturale vagante all'interno di un'architettura fredda e inospitale. Ang(e)l non vuole più essere protetto, ma ospitato dall'Architettura. E il tutto per poter accedere al luogo dove Ang(e)l non si rifà nel suo doppio Angolo, lì dove le sue ali sviscerano la consistenza della memoria della città, dove l'Inscrizione non sarà più traccia, dove il Respiro si fa' spazio sacro dell'Attesa, lì dove la concavità materna chiamata Cielo offre l'ospitalità offrendogli la Tessitura della nuova città.

Presented in Image Festival 2000, The future and the city.

Angel's Angle video
on this CD..