Short Description:

Pisces Pool is a digital media based reflection pool where people can gather and interact with a continually evolving sonic and visual environment in which virtual fish are swimming and congregating. As observers move to the edge of the pool—a circular projection surface inside of a 5-foot wide tree stump—their movement causes ripples and waves in the projected image and soundscape, scattering the fish. If observers stand still, the fish will ease in their movement and approach the visitor’s hands. The intention is to cultivate a space that rewards stillness and meditative observation, along with action and play; to create a simple and immersive experience which is enjoyable to visit multiple times during a visitor’s stay at the festival.

Proposal:

Pisces Pool is an interactive installation featuring real-time generative sound and visuals that react to the movement of forest explorers as they stumble across it in the woods. The focal point of the installation is a circular projection surface, raised a few feet from the forest floor, and situated in the center of a 5-foot wide custom-fabricated tree stump.

The projections consist of a fluid simulation containing a school of virtual fish that react to the motion of the people who are near it. As observers approach the pool, the visuals will ripple and distort as the fish swim amok, and the sound intensifies, evoking splashing and waves.  If they remain still and tranquil, the fish approach their hands and bodies as the pool settles.

The interaction is akin to waiting for a small pond to clear after one has skipped a stone. The intention is to create a space that rewards stillness and meditative observation, along with action and play, that can be experienced by a crowd or a single person. We believe this will be an enjoyable landmark at the festival, in both the context of social interaction and individual introspective moments. 

Pisces Pool is inspired by the 12th astrological Zodiac sign. The Pisces archetype is known to be creative, social and caring, behaviors we hope to bring out in forest-goers as they interact with our installation. The visual content draws from the Pisces constellation, which depicts two fish tethered eternally in the sky.

We have included a video (below) that demonstrates the interactive, visual, and sonic elements of the piece. To capture the observer's motion around the stump a vision tracking system (webcams) will be mounted above the projection surface. Changes in the captured video will disrupt the fluid simulation and send the fish scurrying away from the movement. The sound in the demo video is currently a piece composed by collaborator Isaac Levine. We intend to modify the piece into a generative sonic score of a similar tone and aesthetic that also reacts to viewer’s movement, and changes over time.

 

 

A render of two festival goers interacting with the installation in the night time.

Another render of two festival goers interacting with the installation in the night time.        

A render of the Pisces Pool during the day-time.


Video:

password: pisces2017

The video demonstrates the:

  1. Visual and sonic aesthetic
  2. Interactive technology
  3. Nature of interaction

Physical Structure:

 

We have included renders of the how the installation would look (above), a diagram illustrating the involved technology (left), and a rough mock-up of the internal physical structure (right). The exact design of the circular projection surface, and placement of camera and projector will be determined by site based considerations. Our plan is to create a wooden frame with a projection surface stretched over the top. The computer, speakers, and projector will be housed inside, and found wood cased around the outside to create a stump-like exterior.

Jak Vista has included a statement of his process for creating the tree-trunk around the pool : 

"In order to imitate the texture of a tree trunk around the base of the projection, the initial plan is to adhere a "shell" of plaster or concrete onto the wooden frame in which the pool of fish is contained. This could be done in an additive technique similar to paper mache, or cast as a solid and carved into subtractively. The texture of its surface will be derived from actual trees, ideally based off of those surrounding the installation to give the structure a sense of context, as if it belonged in this specific forest. The shell would most likely be created in pieces as opposed to one large casting. It would work best if created on site but could potentially be made beforehand and brought to the location."

 

SolidWorks mock-up of how the internal structure could potentially be assembled out of 3/4" Birch Plywood. The interior will be redesigned to accommodate rear projection and housing for the computer and speakers.


Materials and Needs: 

We'd Supply :

  • Computer (own)    
  • Projector (own*)
  • Cameras for Motion Tracking (own)
  • Sound System (would purchase)
  • Sheets of 3/4" Birch wood (would purchase)
  • Projection Fibers (would purchase)
  • Collected Wood for external frame (found in woods)
  • Materials for external frame assembly (would purchase)

*It is possible we will need to purchase a projector with a shorter throw (pending the final design)

We Need :

  • Space
  • Permission
  • Power

Roles in Team Pisces: 

We have assembled as a team we believe can create a very strong and executable interactive piece with a very high level of aesthetic integrity. We are all professional artist-designers in the South-East Michigan area, with experience completing complex projects on time and within tight budgets. Additionally, Kit Parks was part of an installation build crew for Electric Forest in 2011, in which she helped assemble the Neural Patterns neon string installation. Our plan is to have all the interactive, visual, and sonic aspects developed and functional by the time we arrive on site, using the time at the space to calibrate the interaction and assemble the tree-trunk's structure (pre-fabricated off-site).

Kit Parks - Tree-Stump Fabrication, Aesthetic Glue, Fibers Specialist

Jak Vista - Woodworking, Tree-Stump Fabrication, Wood Specialist

Steven Stavropoulos - Graphic Design, Visual Aesthetic Specialist

Simon Alexander-Adams - Interactive Visuals, Projection Mapping Specialist

Isaac Levine - Interactive Sound, Internal Structure Fabrication, Sound and Interaction Specialist

 

Bios of Team Pisces:

Kit Parks is an artist, seamstress, wordsmith, and amateur dendrologist based in Southeast Michigan. Working primarily in textile design, sculpture, and video, Kit explores the relationships between ecology, gender identity, and transhumanism. She has created video work for musicians such as the Willo Collective and Andrea Mazzariello, and in collaboration with Side Pocket Images. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, universities, houses, libraries, apartments, pop-ups, and parking lots across Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kit also worked as part of a build crew at Electric Forest 2012, assisting the artist Neural Patterns with their neon string installation in the Sherwood Forest. 

Jak Vista was born and raised in the suburban forests of Southeast Michigan. He has always had busy hands. His roots are in Ann Arbor where he received a BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art & Design in 2015, with foci in painting, sculpture, printmaking, poetry, and installation. He is inspired by the forms and textures of natural materials, and can often be seen wandering in the trees digging up old wood from the ground. He calls these objects Subterraneans and takes them wherever he goes. They are the inspiration behind most of his visual work and are often used to make free-standing sculpture and installation as they are found. He is also well versed in more practical woodshop techniques, with experience making furniture and other functional objects/structures. Jak has been involved in multiple artist collectives including Tenet (Ann Arbor), Third Rail (Ann Arbor), and Riopelle (Detroit). He currently shares a studio space in the Russell Industrial Center with four of his fellow local creatives, and regularly exhibits in and around the city of Detroit. 

Steven Stavropoulos is an multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Detroit, MI. Interested in interaction design, experience design, interface design, graphic/motion design, sound design, and music composition/performance, Steven has over 5 years of experience working in professional teams and on his own to produce a vast range of projects showcased in the Detroit Institute of Arts, The North American International Auto Show, Consumer Electronics Show, and the Toyota National Dealers Meetings. Steven received his bachelor’s degree in Media Arts from the University of Michigan and will be receiving a masters degree in Interaction Design from the College for Creative Studies in May. 

Simon Alexander-Adams is a Detroit based multimedia artist, musician and designer, working within the intersection of art and technology. He has directed multimedia performances that enable connections between sonic, visual and kinetic forms, designed new interfaces for musical expression, and produced interactive installation art. Simon has composed music for a number of short films, animations, theatrical and dance performances, and his work has been performed at international festivals, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival and Cinetopia. He also performs frequently on keyboard and electronics with the glitch-electronic free-jazz punk band Saajtak. Simon received a MA in Media arts in 2015 from the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, & Dance.

Isaac Levine is a multi-media artist based in Ann Arbor. He likes to explore sound and engagement through interactive installation, sound design and composition. He has installed works at Washtenaw Community College and The Ann Arbor Art Center. He has also worked on installations for venues such as the Detroit Symphony Hall and the D.I.A. with the Detroit art collective ApeTechnology. He has composed music for ensembles such as the Willo Collective and So Percussion. He has recorded/produced music for Joseph Keckler in addition to writing and recording with bands such as The Tusks Band, Dreambag and The Platonic Boyfriends. He also is involved at WCBN-FM 88.3 and does sound for the Local Music Show.