Four Senses Multisensory Concerts 2002

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Wednesday May 5, 2010

The multisensory concerts in 1999 and 2002, with a symphony orchestra, were an experiment in reframing  perception of music. The correspondences that I established between sound/silence and colour/light/dark were to create systems and structures as a way of negotiating reflective and subjective connections between sensory experiences.

2002 Concerts

In the second Four Senses Concert series, I further developed the multisensory concept and invited Tony Brooks to collaborate in visual translation of the music.  I made intuitive translations of  the sound by coding phrases of sound and silence into pre-programmed coloured light states, and used the proportions of sound and silence to create an algorithm to select the fragrances; Brooks used his sensors and software in a real-time visual translation of sound, and the gestures of making that sound, into light and colour.  The  concerts were performed with the Aotea Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Dorothy Winstone Theatre in Auckland (NZ) . They included the mixed-ability dance group, Touch Compass, a deaf signing choir, and hands and sight-impaired vocalist, Caitlin Smith. Tactile cushions and balloons were employed as well for the hearing disabled.

My method is detailed below

Four Senses 2002, Raewyn Turner & Tony Brooks. photos :Milan Radojevic

My method of translation  of music to smell : proportional comparisons based on duration of piece of music and latitude periodicity.

Raewyn Turner ©2002.

My process of translation to smell involved finding proportional relationships as I understand them between light and dark, colour, sound pattern, and smell.  I began with making a visual representation of the sound, in an intuitive drawing which placed sound into a relationship with a visual experience of light and dark. Phrases of the sound were coded into light, the pauses into dark, so making correspondences between sound/silence and light/dark. I proposed a relationship between  light/dark  and  proportional balances of daytime and nightime hours which determine the photoperiodicity of plants.  The chosen smell elements were orchestrated in a layering of  specific fragrances of various pitch for each piece of music.

My pre-programmed light states were created with a lighting plan and a PC based stage-lighting program to make a light resource of multiple sequences and cues, so each piece of music had its own improvisation resource and structure. Divided into sound groups, each section was assigned a colour and its complimentary to achieve high degrees of retinal stimulation, brightness, afterimage.

Tony Brooks utilised sensors, cameras and other  technology to capture body part movement and  gestures, translated it into painting with coloured light.

The light collage thus created was a play of interaction between live video feeds and sensors, and coloured light pre-programmed to an interpretation of sound, each affecting the other in a dynamic visual loop.

example: Brahms Hungarian Dance 10

Proportions of sound to silent events in music

Duration in seconds of the entire piece of music              = 110 seconds

Divide above by 2                                                              = 55 seconds

Divide total by the sum of silent events = 5 seconds          = 11

Proportion of silence to sound  = divide by 10                        = 1.1

Refer to the pollination chart showing the list of plants with corresponding pollination times ( time at which plants flower at particular latitudes, at particular night time and daytime hours). Find the proportion of night hours to daylight hours by dividing daytime hours by night time hours.

Match the proportions of night hours to daylight hours (of an flower and its subsequent essential oil’s pollination time and latitude at which this occurs) with the proportions of silence to sound events in piece of music to obtain a range of corresponding proportional comparisons.

Refer to chart of proportions of night hours to daytime hours

chart: no. 3  = 1.1 = 20’N

20’N, India: holy Basil (^), angelica root (o), champaca (o), frankincense (#),

frangipani (o), jasminum (o), musk mallow (#), amamthus (o), patchouli (o#), rose attar (o),  rose indian (o), sandalwood  (o#), tuberose (o#), tuberose (o#)

10’N Somalia: myrr (#)

10’N Thailand

13’N Vietnam: caleput (^)

13’N Cambodia

10’N Philippines: elemi (#)

9’N    Ethiopia: frankincense (#)

10’N  Nigeria

10’N  Costa Rica: cardamon (^o)

11.30’N  Sudan

8’N  Ghana: cocoa extract   (o#)

The selection provided an olfactory pitch range.

Olfactory Pitch ^ (top), o (middle), # (bass)

Example Music Drawing of Brahms Hungarian Dances#1

Tony Brooks

Documentation on

Documentation ‘Inside Out’ on YouTube.

soundbodies copy 1

S03_N4_Brooks_Painter_ICDVRAT2004 copy 2

Youtube videos

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Martin Entertainment


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