space-time association


Yon Visell : Selected Projects

Dynamics | Sound | Geometry | Interaction | Arts

Projects overview

The following are several recent projects in generative media, interactive arts, interaction design, music software, and theory.

More information can be obtained from the websites of my studio, Zero-Th (Pula, Croatia), and my artistic collective, FoAM (Brussels, Belgium).

As a number of the projects have been collaborations, I noted my role in initiating, leading, or developing the listed projects, as applicable.

Note: certain links reference external sites.

HMMM: Pattern Theory approach to Generative Media

Role: conception, theory, development

The project presents an adaptation of machine cognitive 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
Project overview
on this CD

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

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

Meta Acoustics: Ontologies of trans-sensory signals

Research initiative sulla rappresentazione delle forme attraverso il suono.

Role: conception, theory, development

Knowledge of the world is conveyed to us by diverse signals impacting our senses. While our auditory system is adapted to linear waves travelling in air, our ears are capable of recording the results of a wider class of disturbances, which may be conveyed by any physical or unphysical laws, in any spaces we can imagine, provided they can be translated into perceivable vibrations. Conversely, such sensations carry information about the spaces, bodies, and dynamics (i.e. the possible ecologies of sound) that have left their imprint upon the signals passing through them.

This idea has facilitated the sonic presentation of features of the familiar world, of worlds or collections of worlds beyond our perception, or beyond possibility. Their real and virtual physical domains range in scale from the microscopic to the cosmic. In each extreme, we are dealing with technologies for presenting the radically insensable.

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

Recycled Soundscapes: Sonic Diversion of the Public Flow

Interactive public sound installation, with Karmen Franinovic

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 possibliity 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 within the sonic context of a location.

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.

More documentation
on this CD

live: sequencing instrument

Music performance software, with Ableton, 2001-3

Role: lead signal processing developer; design

Recipient of numerous, international industry awards. From the Live website: "Ableton Live is the music-production solution that allows you to spontaneously compose, record, remix, improvise and edit your musical ideas. Live brings your acoustic, electronic and virtual instruments, as well as your digital audio recordings, together in a single interface with unparalleled ease of use."

Yon led colleagues at Ableton in the software development of core musical signal processing algorithms underlying the Live granular time- and pitch-elastic audio playback engine, also writing most of the effects which were introduced in Live 2 and Live 3, including the acclaimed reverb, compressors, and various other components.

Software reviewed and lauded by myriad computer music publications (Computer Music Journal, Electronic Musician, Computer Music, Mix, Keyboard, Keys, and many others). Demo versions of Live for Windows XP and Mac OS X have been included with this documentation, or can be downloaded from the Live website.

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). Collaboration with Time's Up (Linz, Austria).

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

Syncoptic: Unstable Reality

responsive environment, with Karmen Franinovic and Evelina Kusaite, FoAM Brussels, 2003

Role: conception, hardware, and software development

An augmented space made of sound and space gaps, loci of light and darkness, invites players to interact with the each other through light dynamics and spatial sound, and to discover a space articulated by a multiplicity of constellations, in an innocent game. The floor on which the players walk, a surface stretched across a thick body of water, lends a critical instability to the boundaries of the physical space which, together with the low visibility, slows down every movement. This apparent space of nothing incorporates the player into its expanding and solidifying reality. A luminous transitional tube is extended from the gallery into the surrounding urban space, effecting a region of transformation of the private into the public.

Exhibited as part of the Illumine series at FoAM, Brussels, Belgium.

Additional documentation
on this CD

TGarden: augmented social playspace

interactive play space, with FoAM and Sponge. Exhibited at Ars Electronica, 2001.

Role: conception, development

TGarden is an interdisciplinary project exploring methods of artistic expression and social interaction in mixed reality. It is a responsive playspace, in which the visitor is invited to move in an improvisational, experimental, and playful manner, evoking a meaning-rich and evolving environment of moving image, sound, and light.

Exhibited at Ars Electronica 2001, Linz, Austria, V2, Rotterdam, Netherlands, and elsewhere.

A TGarden video teaser (20 MB).
More documentation at the FoAM project site.

eerm: state dynamics for responsive media

Evolutionary dynamics for responsive design

Role: conception, theory, development

The software provides a general-purpose choreography system for responsive design, based on a continuous dynamics within a topologically general state space. This approach allows designers of responsive media to specify complex media dynamics in a way that is idomatically concise and expressive, encoding the delicate set of relations between the interactions of the users of such systems and the character of the range of responses that are elicited.

Download evolutionary environmental response model ("eerm") software here. Requirements: Mac OS X, Cycling'74 Max 4 or higher.

In preparation: "A Dynamics Based Media Choreography System"
with Sha Xin Wei, Blair MacIntyre, GVU Center, Georgia Tech Univ.

quantum reverberation

Imaginary acoustic environments

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.)