SENSUOUS GEOGRAPHIES (2003)
An immersive interactive installation
by Alistair MacDonald and Sarah Rubidge
(Costumes, Maggie Moffat: Installation Environment, Sébastien Besse)
New Territories Festival The Arches, Glasgow February 2003
Sensuous Geographies is an immersive mixed media installation which fluctuates between experiential installation and performance event. It comprises an electronically sensitized space which responds to participants’ actions as they explore it. Each participant 'collects' a sound when they enter the active space (which is defined by multi-textured floor surface). Around the space semi-translucent banners reveal shadowy avatars which reflect the behaviour of the participants as they move through the installation. Consequently, as soon as they enter the installation space participant and onlookers are immersed in a field of sound & colour.
As they explore the active space, strands and layers of sound material follow the participants around the installation. These are modulated in real-time according to a variety of factors, from the participants' trajectories through the space, to the velocity of their motion and their proximity with others. Through these means Sensuous Geographies generates a multiplicity of distinctive, yet ever-changing sound worlds (and therefore moods) as the participants explore the installation environment.
The installation is primarily designed to be explored and experienced from within. Nevertheless, even as this is happening, the movement of the group of participants in the active space becomes, for onlookers, an informal improvised choreography, an emergent performance event.
"Sensuous Geographies is a fascinating concoction of sound, light, colour and costume....watching, you feel like an uninitiated participant in an intricate mythological role- playing game. But the piece is so inventive and original that you surrender easily to its infinite possibilities." (The Guardian)
"What emerges is a personal/group signature tune that constantly shifts and cannot be repeated. On one level it is happy play, on another it taps into notions of wordless communication and issues of identity." (The Herald)