The Hidden World of Noise and Voice


Gerfried Stocker (AT)
Golan Levin (US)
Dietmar Offenhuber (AT)
Horst Hörtner (AT)
Christopher Lindinger (AT)
Robert Praxmarer (AT)
Robert Abt (AT)
Peter Freudling
Wolfgang Ziegler (AT)
Zachary Lieberman (US)
Michael Breidenbrücker (AT)
Stefan Mittlböck-Jungwirth
Scott Ritter (AT) (US)

Have you ever seen your voice? And how it looks when you really get loud for once? In this space, everything audible becomes visible, even your voice. Your larynx becomes an instrument with which you can form virtual sculptures. For every sound generated in this space, the computer produces animated 3D graphics that correspond in form, color and movement to the pitch, tonal quality and intensity of the sound. By means of special data glasses, these images are fed into the user’s field of vision and thus become visible at the exact spot at which the sound originates.

A game involving the richness of form of the human voice, and an attempt to transfer emotions into the digital world.

The centerpiece of the exhibition "Hidden Worlds" is the multi-user augmented reality system "The Hidden World of Noise and Voice"—a round-table gathering of six users equipped with so-called see-through data glasses. The glasses allow for an unencumbered view of the real surroundings and the other participants, while also enabling virtual data to be fed into the user’s field of vision. In this way, the real situation can be augmented (optically enhanced, enriched, commented upon and interpreted).

In this multi-user augmented reality system, sounds are converted into graphic information in accordance with both their tonal characteristics as well as their spatial sources. This means that the computer localizes, for example, a person snapping his/her fingers and visualizes by means of diverse algorithms and relational models a graphic analogue—for instance, in the form of a small explosion—on the hand of the person doing so. If someone makes a deep, indolent sound, this gets depicted as a sluggish, fat 3-D graphic—like a fat worm wriggling out of the person’s mouth. Abruptly pronounced sounds likewise evoke objects that correspond to them in form and behavior. Thus, the sounds—or rather their visual correspondences (avatars)—successively fill the previously empty space with a dynamic and lavishly realized world of computer graphics.

This is not merely a matter of establishing a communications space into which one can toss words, so to speak; one is also placed in the position of being able to externalize the forms of sound that normally arise in our (resonating) bodies, and to impart a shape to one’s own voice.

There are also several observation units grouped around "The Hidden World of Noise and Voice" that enable non-participating spectators to watch the augmented proceedings.

Thanks to Malcolm Slaney and Christopher Wren.