Window OnLine: Somnambulist / Dale Sattler

Posted by ld | Mon Dec 20th 2004 4:28 a.m.

Window OnLine: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
Somnambulist / Dale Sattler

Somnambulist is a shockwave and quicktime, for web moderated version of an installation which explored and recorded a Situationist inspired Derive through a local city (recorded as time stamped architectural drawings, short abbreviated notes and sounds) and as a computer hosted application generated 'drift' through error filled media files. Each file, and associated sound represent a 'quarter' of the city, a psychogeographical zone, through which both the user and application traverse through.

Interactivity is restricted to 'pause, or go'. As is with a physical Derive, the drifters motion and direction are dictated by the pyschic pressures of their surrounds. As a user of Somnambulist, you are presented with a choice, which you must decide upon based on the visual and aural activity emanating from the computer. You can either stay in the 'quarter' you are currently located in, or respond and move into a new quarter.

These choices operate at the both the level of the user and at the level of the machine, which has been coded to sample random selections of the screen and respond to the rgb levels it finds there. This data, coupled with sampled audio data and feedback from the human user suggests a similar 'pause or go' choice to the application. The two choices operate in tandem, with the application deciding to move based on how it 'feels' about the visuals and audio it is outputting and the user making similar decisions based on what the application is generating.

Situationist urban theory sort to 're engineer' the impact of city architecture by subverting its use. By drifting, in response to architectural pressures, a person En Derive dislocates themselves from the overarching capitalist use paradigm of contemporary urban architecture. In effect, they drift as 'error'. Through its utilisation of quicktime files manipulated to contain a rendering error Somnambulist is able to dynamically create visual effects outside of the intended engineering of the quicktime media architecture. In effect traversing through the projects files, in error. This approach is also extended into the audio files, which were recorded on substandard equipment to introduce random pops and static in an effort to capture some of the sonic dynamics of a city scape.

Window OnLine: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
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