• Submergence


    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Squidsoup (Anthony ROWE, Gaz BUSHELL, Chris BENNEWITH, Liam BIRTLES, & Ollie BOWN): Submergence transforms physical space into a Mixed Reality environment where virtual and real worlds coincide. The result is an immersive walkthrough experience that uses light to alter our perceptions of space and presence.

    The experience is akin to walking through an abstract virtual environment, where pixels on a screen are replaced by thousands of points of light floating in space. These points of light create evocations and atmospheres, presence and movement, in physical space.

    Submergence is a new project that continues our explorations into placing digital media in physical space, blurring boundaries between what is real and what is computer generated by creating responsive, immersive and dynamic hybrid installation environments.

    The piece uses 8,064 points of LED light suspended in a physical walkthrough space. The first installation, shown in ROM for Kunst og Arkitektur, Oslo, measured 8m x 4m and 4m high.

    Submergence uses technology and ideas developed as part of an ongoing research project called Ocean of Light—see

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    Squidsoup: The inspiration for the project was to create a larger than life immersive digital media experience, akin to being in the middle of an ocean (hence the name), somehow connected to something big. The feeling of scale was important.

    Practically, the idea has been floating around for at least five or six years. Ant (Rowe) had been thinking about the use of points of light to create 3D visuals in physical space for a while, inspired in part by an exhibition of Jim Campbell’s work that he saw in 2002—Campbell creates very low resolution video installations out of points of light with gaps between them. By combining this idea with the simple LED cubes that were around in 2005, Ant imagined the two approaches creating an immersive media experience that you could walk inside. Another source of inspiration was the penetrable works of Jesús Rafael Soto—a Venezuelan Op Artist who used loads of suspended strings to create the illusion of 3-D forms. Put those three ideas together, and you have the physical and technical approach we used in Submergence.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    Squidsoup: One of the four “movements” within Submergence emulates a flocking or Boids behavior so we watched a lot of YouTube videos of murmuration (starlings flocking en masse), it’s fascinating.

    Additional credits and links:

    Anthony Rowe: Oslo School of Architecture and Design
    Chris Bennewith: Massey University, college of Creative Arts
    Ollie Bown: University of Sydney
    Liam Birtles: The Arts University at Bournemouth

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