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Post-Truth and Beauty

Interactive sound and light installation

Post-Truth and Beauty aims to create a sensory experience analogous to the ungraspable nature of ‘truth’ by presenting partial glimpses into an abstract world of light and sound.

Post-Truth and Beauty is an interactive audiovisual sculpture that invites visitors to contemplate the limitations of any single point of view. I developed this concept during the polarised discourse following the Brexit vote and Trump’s election. We all seem increasingly certain that our own perspective grants us the real truth. Those disagreeing with us get labelled as out of touch, uneducated or victims of disinformation, justifying us in dismissing rather than attempting to understand their point of view.

The work offers a window into an alternative dimension of light and sound. However, only partial glimpses can be caught as you moves your head. No single position provides an advantageous perspective onto this world. It is discovered only by finding and experiencing new points of view. Post-Truth and Beauty aims to create a experience analogous to the ungraspable nature of ‘truth’, but as an bodily experience free from the identity, emotions and reactiveness of our political minds, allowing this concept be felt through our embodied intuition.

Post-Truth and Beauty - interactive audiovisual installation by Tim Murray-Browne and Aphra Shemza. View of the overall audiovisual installation

Twelve glowing rods intersect between walls, floor and ceiling, as if they were exposed elements from a much larger structure. In front, there is a ring of speakers into which a visitor is invited.

Once inside, the visitor is immersed in a soundscape of slowly evolving textural sounds. The installation tracks the location of the visitor’s head. It combines this with the 3D speaker ring to create the illusion that each sound is floating in a fixed position. This creates a seamlessly accessible interaction, drawing on our natural ability to spatially locate sound.

Each sound is paired with a colour palette, which takes over the LEDs in the rods as the sound is approached, flickering in time with the sound’s oscillations. Light and sound combine to create the sense of a reactive, living entity.

Sound is transformed from a temporal medium into a sculpture – uncovered with the active agency of a mobile observer. Together the sounds construct a rich harmony but only partial combinations can be heard at once.

Post-Truth and Beauty - interactive light and sound installation by Tim Murray-Browne in collaboration with Aphra Shemza. Light and 3D sound change in response to the viewer's head position. Exhibited here at We Are Robots festival at Old Truman Brewery, 11-12 Nov 2017
Post-Truth and Beauty - interactive light and sound installation by Tim Murray-Browne in collaboration with Aphra Shemza. Screenshot of the composition user interface. The lines are sound emitters while the blue sphere represents the viewer's head. Image: Tim Murray-Browne

Post-Truth and Beauty uses camera-based head-tracking, Ambisonics 3D audio and bespoke software. It uses an interaction design analogous to Virtual Reality but does not require any equipment to be worn. Virtual sound emitters are arranged across the speaker ring in a tangle of lines analogous to the physical rods of light. Each sound comes alive as the participant’s head approaches.

The above image shows the control interface. The lines represent different sound emitters and the blue circle is the viewer’s head location (here viewed from above). This is to aid composing the lines in space and is not visible to the viewer. The viewer can navigate the space using only their ears, as the 3D sound array will simulate the direction of the sounds based on the relative position of the emitter to the user’s head.

Post-Truth and Beauty - interactive sound and light sculpture by Tim Murray-Browne in collaboration with Aphra Shemza - Installing the work at Old Truman Brewery - Photo- Suzi Corker

Exhibitions

  • 2 – 5 Nov 2017, We Are Robots, Old Truman Brewery, London
  • 4 May – 1 Jun 2017, Morley Gallery, London

Awards

  • Shortlisted for the New European Media Art Award, 2017
  • Shortlisted for the Zealous Emerge Digital Art Award, 2018
  • Press

    Team

    Post-Truth and Beauty was created by Tim Murray-Browne in collaboration with Aphra Shemza.

    Documentation film by Antonino Manola.

    Photography: Antonino Manola, Suzi Corker, Tim Murray-Browne.

    Exhibition at We Are Robots:

    Producer – Terry Tyldesley

    Build and exhibition team – Rosa Harter, Megan Ellen Sands, Francesco Soave, Joy Stacey, Terry Tyldesley, Lizzie Wilson

    Acknowledgements

    Commissioned for The Engine Room at Morley Gallery, Morley College London.

    With thanks to Camilo Salazar, the team at Morley Gallery, Mike Harrison, Jamie Howard, Tadeo Sendon, Delfin Ortiz, Natalia Franklin-Pierce, Jan Lee, Harry Murdoch, John Murray, Maddalena Vatti, Christopher Dickens.

    Post-Truth and Beauty was exhibited at We Are Robots 2017 in partnership with Morley College.