A study of identity and space through dimension exchange
(physical and digital / person and place)


Lu at 33.46046343125872, -111.95545117709877 is a digital world, connected sensing sculpture, and accompanying performance that audiences can explore and interact with through their browser as well as at the connected physical installation site.  Built from a documentary exploration of Lu and a specific point in Papago Park she responds to, this virtual/physical world restructures the boundaries of identity between person and place; building a new, virtual organism, wrought from the energies shared between them.
The Sites
At what point do the identities of place and person intersect, dissolve, and fuse?

How can we document a person and place equally together, fusing human identity and
environmental identity into a new organic form?

Can we distill the essential elements (the patterns of reality, common elements) through
continuous exchange between virtual and digital worlds? Like passing back and forth the silt of
a river bed between filtering pans, to reveal the gold nuggets hidden within.
Sensing Sculpture Build
Able to host performance and casual interaction by anyone visiting, the physical site bears two
potentiometers, a photovoltaic sensor, a camera, and microphone, which an individual can interact with; their
presence then beamed into the virtual space. The sculpture features a laser-cut topographical sculpture
of the environment site (similarly placed as a 3D model in the virtual world) seeded with the
aforementioned sensors. A small box supports the sculpture as a miniature pedestal, and houses a Bela
board with a Pure Data patch running interactive sonic elements. A computer is
connected, mixing audio from Bela, processing MIDI information sensors into a Touchdesigner patch that 
manipulates the image of the person at the physical site.  It also splits the audio into two different web streams which are piped into different areas of the virtual world. The sculpture also features a live monitor of the virtual space, so that attendees of the physical site can see virtual guests and interact with them in real time.
Pure Data Patch
TouchDesigner Patch
While entering the physical site, sounds of wind, generated by the PD patch  and inspired by the sound of the
wind at the actual site, slowly moves through the guests headphones. When approaching the sculpture, the
photovoltaic sensor is tripped, morphing the wind into the sounds of Lu’s footsteps as recorded on the path in
Papago Park while we were exploring, looking for our site subject. If the guest chooses to, their voice triggers
Lu’s recorded speech as well, the microphone picking up their words and driving a recorded line from
documentation of Lu at the site. All of the aforementioned interactions are streamed in stereo into the virtual
world, so that no matter where virtual participants are, they can hear these sounds and interactions. In
addition, there is a stream of localized audio which plays and morphs two clips into a “stage area” of the virtual
world, where the physical site bears a 3D abstracted mirror of those at the physical site. One clip played through the localized audio is of Odesza (a band intimate to Lu) and the second clip is audio from the independence of Ukraine in 1991, as taken from the streets of Kiev. Both of these pieces seem to point to integral pieces of Lu’s personal identity, the relationship she has with this area in Papago Park (freedom, spirituality, joy), and the markings of the aesthetic boundary I am redrawing over the lines of their now-shared identity. These clips are played through interaction with marked sliders (potentiometers) at the physical site which also control the Touchdesigner patch, morphing the camera feed of physical-site participants through MIDI signals.

These various interactions, the ability to dialogue between virtual and physical sites/participants, the
malleability and reactivity of sensors on the physical sculpture, are the key ingredients in this piece which
allows it to achieve an organic state. A hybrid dimension is created by sending emotional inputs (a collage of
music, image, recording, dialogue, and gesture) from one dimension to the other in an exchange without limit.
Prototype Demo
Back to Top