em: kevin аτ blackistone.com

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Personal Spatial Relations

What distances do we keep between ourselves and others? How do we vary our movements in response to these? What dimensional requirements do we maintain in our personal environment?

We have all been made ever more aware, through saftey protocols, the personal distances that we keep. In addition to numerous recommendations and some interventions1 to maintaining distance in public spaces, the 2m distance has also become the width of personal floor space I’ve found myself to have available in my living/working area during lockdown.

[2m] - [2021, Ars Electronica Festival]

This work sonifies and visualize these radial distances by a merger of concepts from music boxes2 and radar/sonar systems through style reminiscent of both radar display and CRT vector games. It expands upon many computer vision works interacting with form detection by using a depth-based camera to consider all physical dimensions. Diffusion techniques acoustically expand the participants’ localized presence into the greater audience space.

Participants interacting with the work shall find a circle projected upon the floor with rotating lines reminiscent of clock hands. Each of these detects, through the depth camera, the distance of any object to the circle center. The detection of an object, tracing of its shape, and height of detection all influence the resulting sound in a variety of ways dependent upon which hand is intersecting. Personal positions are accoustically expanded in space by the quadrophonic arrangement. In addition, for markers around the circle operate as activators of different arms, turning on when a form is detected within their area. In this way, more participants results in a broader visual and accoustic landscape.


1 Numerous examples proliferated of individuals walking through city streets with hoops or similar distance devices: “ The Social Distancing Hoop, The Social Distancing Self Quarantine

2 Polyphon Musikwerk “Polyphon Music Box.” Leipzig; 1897.
Additional Resources:

FBI Records: The Vault. Protests in Baltimore, Maryland 2015, Aerial Surveillance Footage. https://vault.fbi.gov/protests-in-baltimore-maryland-2015/unedited-versions-of-video-surveillance-footage

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