localStyle (Marlena Novak & Jay Alan Yim) in collaboration with Malcolm MacIver

Scale

localStyle and Malcolm MacIver

source: highlike

Work: ‘scale’ is an interspecies art project: an audience-interactive installation that involves nocturnal electric fish from the Amazon River Basin. Twelve different species of these fish comprise a choir whose sonified electrical fields provide the source tones for an immersive audiovisual environment. The fish are housed in individual tanks configured in a custom-built sculptural arc of aluminum frames placed around a central podium. The electrical field from each fish is translated into sound, and is thus heard — unprocessed or with digital effects added, with immediate control over volume via a touchscreen panel — through a 12-channel surround sound system, and with LED arrays under each tank for visual feedback. All software is custom-designed. Audience members interact as deejays with the system. Amongst the goals of the project is our desire to foster wider public awareness of these remarkable creatures, their importance to the field of neurological research, and the fragility of their native ecosystem.

The project leaders comprise visual/conceptual artist Marlena Novak, composer/sound designer Jay Alan Yim, and neural engineer Malcolm MacIver. MacIver’s research focuses on sensory processing and locomotion in electric fish and translating this research into bio-inspired technologies for sensing and underwater propulsion through advanced fish robots. Novak and Yim, collaborating as ‘localStyle’, make intermedia works that explore perceptual themes, addressing both physical and psychological thresholds in the context of behavior, society/politics, and aesthetics.

The premiere of ‘scale’ took place at the 2010 STRP Festival (Eindhoven, NL); ‘scale’ was subsequently presented at the National Art Museum of China (Beijing) in the 2011 TransLife Media Art Triennial. The project was supported by grants from the following: National Science Foundation, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts, Northwestern University’s Research Grant Council, the Murphy Society, Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Bienen School of Music, Department of Art Theory and Practice.
Photographer: Jay Alan Yim
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source: turbulenceorg

Scale is a bio-art collaboration with neurobiologist/ engineer Malcolm MacIver, visual/ conceptual artist Marlena Novak, and composer/ sound designer Jay Alan Yim. It is being presented at STRP Festival, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

This audience-interactive installation involves electric fish from the Amazon River Basin. Twelve different species of these fish comprise a ‘choir’ whose sonified electrical fields provide the source tones for an immersive audiovisual environment. The interface for Scale incorporates custom-designed software, a hacked Wiimote ‘conductor’s baton’ that participants can use to ‘cue’ individual fish so their unadulterated tones (as well as digitally processed versions) can be heard through the audio system, a touchscreen panel to allow for changes in volume, and arrays of LEDs under each tank to provide visual feedback to visitors. Our Amazonian choir members are housed in individual tanks arranged in an arc, comfortably maintained with a sophisticated filtration and water conditioning system, and outfitted with a 12-channel speaker array.

Malcolm MacIver studies electric fish and aims to apply what he learns to the development of underwater robots. To engage the community in an experience of this beautiful fish from the Amazon jungle (which has contributed greatly to our understanding of the brain over the past forty years), MacIver, Novak and Yim have combined their diverse talents to develop an immersive sight and sound experience.
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source: fieldmic

Scale is a bio-art collaboration with neurobiologist/engineer Malcolm MacIver,
visual/conceptual artist Marlena Novak, and composer/sound designer Jay Alan Yim.

This audience-interactive installation involves electric fish from the Amazon River Basin. Twelve different species of these fish comprise a ‘choir’ whose sonified electrical fields provide the source tones for an immersive audiovisual environment.

The interface for scale incorporates: custom-designed software, a hacked Wiimote ‘conductor’s baton’ that participants can use to ‘cue’ individual fish so their unadulterated tones (as well as digitally processed versions) can be heard through the audio system, a touchscreen panel to allow for changes in volume, and arrays of LEDs under each tank to provide visual feedback to visitors. Our Amazonian choir members are housed in individual tanks arranged in an arc, comfortably maintained with a sophisticated filtration and water conditioning system, and outfitted with a 12-channel speaker array.

ps. A ring tone will be made available from the composition