Transported Signal v1.0
12/10/2009 Art, Design 3D
The city of Deventer is close to the completion of it’s fiberglass network and claims to be the first city in Europe to do so. In order to get (inter)national attention, a manifestation named ‘Het geheim van licht’ (The Secret of Light) is being organized on Vogeleiland, a small park in Deventer.
For this event, me and several other artists were asked to come up with ideas for interactive art installations, able to stand outside, in public space for about a month. However, the city of Deventer decided not to spend enough money to be able to grab their desired national attention. A crucial mistake, I thought then and know now.
In order to tackle the lack of sufficient funding, the organization of ‘Het geheim van licht’ tried to forge alliances between artists with proposals and companies with facilities, hoping that would bring down developing and production costs. A sound theory, but due to the tight schedule (two months time from start to finish) it didn’t work out that great. At least, not for my plan.
I had an interesting idea for an interactive installation that deals with the conversion and transportation of signals (just like a fiberglass network). In short, a webcam image gets converted into a few seconds of sound in realtime. This sound is then amplified, transported through air, received by a microphone and converted back to an image on a screen. This kind of signal transport (sound waves through open air) unavoidably gets corrupted by ambient sounds. The audience can play with the input through the webcam, to influence (or even compose!) the emitted sounds. Or they can deliberately add sounds to control the final image on the screen.
I discussed my idea with a selection of companies and they all liked it, so I worked out a detailed description, a sketch design and a budget for this proposal. Software development is already very close to being usable for this installation.
Unfortunately, it became clear that the approached companies were somehow unable to put their money where their mouth was… and there wasn’t enough time left for me to find and negotiate alternative partners. My proposal was then also denied by the organization of ‘Het geheim van licht’, because they felt it was too expensive. From their tight budget point of view they may be right.
Due to positive thinking on my part (some would call that naivety), I have now invested a lot of time in a project that’s not going to happen. I’m not getting paid for my work either. But, it was a valuable lesson.
I still very much want to see this installation in action though. And I bet you want that to, because it sounds like a lot of fun playing with this… right? Anybody out there willing to commission or sponsor?