Balayer – A Map of Sweeping (v. 2018)

 

Installation with three video sequences and Ambisonic sound (see below). In the installation two ‘image screens’ are placed 6m apart on either side of an open space. Between them is a ‘text screen’ on which the words of Gisèle Durand and later Jacques Lin appear intermittently. (The work is discussed from p.119 in the dissertation. Further installation images can be seen here: https://www.voicing-on-the-borders-of-language.com/appendix).

 

You can engage with the work in three ways, via the links below. Each opens to aspects which cannot be brought together in one format. None can evoke the material, spatial, affective dimensions of the installation and this is not my intention. Single-screen presents all three video sequences together in one window, with binaural sound (a reduced, translated version of the Ambisonic sound). A key point in presenting this work online is that you are able to engage in its very particular sonic space. This is made possible by embedding the video and audio in a 360 environment and listening on headphones (the visual aesthetics are intended as a reference for the relationships between sonic and visual images in the work, rather than part of its artistic language). This Ambisonic system is near-identical to that used in the physical installation so that the spatial relationships between sounds hold true. (On headphones the effects on some sounds are more noticeable than in physical space, where they are relativised by the room acoustics). 

 

The first version of this installation was made in 2014, it was one of the first art works to use Ambisonics. This form of surround sound is made through a different technical approach to other formats, to produce a much more precise spatializing and positioning of sounds, independent of speaker sources (as explained on p. 123 and here: ambisonic.net). In 2018 I re-edited and remixed the sound, removing nearly all verbal voices. This is the version presented here (discussed on p. 125). 

 

How we respond to images and sounds in physical space with intuitive movements of eyes, head and body, does not translate easily into digital environments. But if you are able to view the 360 environment for VR format with a VR headset, it comes a little more fluidly than via hand-scrolling around 360 environment for screen.  

 

Listen on headphones (check Left and Right headphones correspond to L/R ears). 

View in Chrome or Firefox. 

VR: on your headset use the YoutubeVR app (free download for all platforms). With the app open, search for ‘Balayer 360’ and click on the search result to play the work.
 

Navigate on smartphone or tablet: move the device sideways to pan around the space. On desktop computer (Mac/PC): pan/scroll by clicking on the trackpad and swiping with the other finger/s; zoom in or out by pinching thumb/forefinger together or apart. 

 

Viewing formats

1. Single-screen: The three video sequences are set in one screen with binaural sound. The text appears beneath the two ‘image screens’ in the position of subtitles (unlike the separate screen given it in the installation). https://www.voicing-on-the-borders-of-language.com/balayer

2. 360 environment for screen: the three sequences are set in a spatialized environment with Ambisonic sound. Only one screen is fully viewable at a time, so you are encouraged to pan between screens. The 360 environment is set up as a simple cube (for ease of orientation) with the two image screens on facing ‘walls’. The text screen is duplicated on the two other facing walls so that it is always close at hand, within a swipe of the trackpad: 

3. 360 environment for VR (using a Virtual Reality headset): viewing in VR with Ambisonic sound allows a more fluid interrelation of body movement and the movement of sound around you, as you turn from one screen to another (see instructions above).

Credits 

With Christoph Berton, Malika Boulainseur, Gisèle Durand, Gilou Toche and Jacques Lin 

and the voice of Dominique Hurth 

Camera (16:9 ratio), sound, editing Imogen Stidworthy 

Clips from the archive of Jacques Lin, 2000-2008 (4:3 ratio) 

Ambisonic mastering Stefan Kassazoglou, Kinicho.com

Video mastering Martin Wallace 

Originally commissioned for Sao Paolo Bienal 2014