Ocean Bloom, light and sound deep immersion


The perceptual dimension of technological artworks has greatly improved in the last decade. For example, if the revamped virtual reality has the advantage of complete visual immersion and an escapist dimension, in a physical space it is certainly more difficult to engage the audience on a similar level of alienation. This is because when our eyes are no longer the main interface to the world, all other senses and the body as a whole, which takes in and decodes information on different levels, become the interface that is a target for engagement as complexity increases. However, in such spaces, specific communication environments can be created that reconceptualise the engagement of the senses and deliver an emotionally and perceptually balanced set of signals. Ocean Bloom by by Sandipan Nath,Sebastiaan Smink and Boris Acket is an audiovisual work that uses ‘sound holograms’ as ‘objects in space’. The artists were inspired by the concept of being caught in a ‘sonic storm’. They use 4DSOUND software to spatially explore the sounds while audience bodies move around and within the installation space. The software constructs sound that you can not only listen to, but that can also literally move around and through you. The constructed sonic environment is conceived as an underwater world and expresses an intangible materiality. The space, filled with thin, equidistant vertical speakers and programmable light projectors, becomes, in the artists’ intentions, a terrain of communication where the orchestrated sound and light events are meant to challenge and affect the separation between the human and the non-human in a space of possible understanding. Reminiscent of Montreal’s historic audio-visual scene, light and sound are used with ‘surgical’ precision, which is particularly effective in this ‘circular acoustic vortex’ meant to represent ‘the depths of oceans’. The perception of time and space coordinates varies through the intensity and duration of exposure to light and sound, allowing for different listening practices.


Sandipan Nath, Sebastiaan Smink & Boris Acket – Ocean Bloom