Digital Futures

These are some of the projects and prototypes I have produced during my MFA studies at OCADU's Digital Futures program.

 Sitting under a highway

Interactive virtual reality audiovisual experience. MFA thesis project.
Visuals: Epic's Unreal Engine 4, Oculus Rift (HMD), photogrammetry & stereoscopic videos
Audio: Cycling '74 Max, ambisonic soundscape recordings (custom designed B-Format microphone), realtime sound processing, 3rd order ambisonic spatialization, binaural encoding
Interactivity: Leap Motion (hand tracking) and Muse EEG Band (electroencephalography)

Meditative immersive and interactive audiovisual art experience that places the user into an environment created with the insights (mindfulness), sounds (soundscape ambisonic recording) and visuals (photogrammetry and 3D video) acquired through the mindful exploration of the geographical location framed by the Don river and the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. What is adressed in this project is the theoretical and creative implications of an artistic practice based on the mindful exploration of the visual and acoustic richness of a specific geographical place, where the intuitive insights and materials collected through this mindful exploration are utilized for the creation of audiovisual art, in particular one that uses the experience of immersion and presence. This is done with the hope that art created with such processes can contribute to a better understanding of the disconnect that exists between post-modern society and our inhabited places.

The virtual reality space that the user inhabits gets activated through the combined measurement of concentration and relaxation done through the EEG reader. A hand tracker allows the user to also physically interact with it. Through mindfulness we engage with the environment.

Abstract: Postmodern society is characterized by an increasing disconnect with our inhabited spaces. The glocalization efforts made by commercial interests and the emphasis on the utilitarian conceptualization of the world affect local culture, contributing to a thinning out of the relationships with our lived places. Making reference to the standing-reserve theory of Heidegger; the geophilosophy of Edward Casey; Zen meditation; soundscape composition and other audiovisual art practices, I suggest that artistic processes informed by the attentive exploration of a geographical location may contribute to create awareness about the nature of this disconnect.

Sitting under a highway is a research-creation project presented as an interactive audiovisual virtual and presential space. By wearing a head-mounted display, a hand tracking device, headphones and an electroencephalography band, the audience experiences photorealistic 3D visuals and spatial audio that are the product of an artistic practice centred on the attentive aesthetic exploration of a physical place

Awarded Best Creative Work and Best Written Document, Digital Futures Graduate Program, OCAD University.

Project website


Download the thesis document


 Apeiron

Interactive object. Video, lighting and sound.
Arduino, IR Distance Sensor, Android Tablet, Java App, LEDs, Vibration Motors

Apeiron is a greek word that means “infinite”. It was used by the ancient Greek philosopher Anaximander to name an eternal and boundless reality from which everything comes. This piece is a reflection on the interactions between technology and our biological nature. The video was made by combining and manipulating videos showing microscopic life forms, the human circulatory system and images from space, mostly from the Mars HiRise database and the early moon expeditions. The images that appear when the user approaches were made by mixing images of the human skull with images of dump sites showing different kinds of waste: metal, wood, plastic and electronics.
Apeiron is an object left behind by an alien species that becomes a window to our subconscious and essence as techno-organic beings.

Project details

Video content:



 Rivers

Interactive object. Video, touch tracking and ambisonic/binaural sound.
Wood, Acrylic, Pico Projector, Mac Mini, Leap Motion, OpenFrameworks, Csound, LiquidFun

Rivers is a media art installation piece that combines video, interactivity, tactile sensing and virtual reality audio. Rivers functions both as a documentary and creative experience that explores the rivers and ravines of Toronto through their soundscapes and video images. This experience is interactively augmented by the physical sensation of touching its water covered surface and producing meditative visual and sonic reactions as a response.

Rivers appears as a wooden box with a water covered acrylic top surface and a pair of headphones. The acrylic surface displays video images taken from rivers and ravines in the Toronto area while 3D audio soundscapes, captured in the same locations, can be simultaneously heard through headphones retrofitted with a head-tracking sensor (Ambisonic and Binaural processing). The touch interactions produce changes on the video images that simulate the effect of affecting small “virtual” white particles floating on the river and simultaneously generating sounds that change according to the movements of the hand and number of fingers placed on the acrylic surface. The soundscapes and the touch-generated sounds are delivered using 3D sound technology to create the aural sensation of physically being at the river location and of having the generated sounds move around the listener. The generated sounds also move in this virtual space following the same direction as the touch gestures.

Project details



 bodyForTheTrees

Interactive video and sound performance system
Arduino, XBee Radios, Wearable Sensors, Video Projection, Processing, Csound

In collaboration with Jessica Kee, Sachiko Murakami, and Adam Owen. Original concept, system design and construction, generative sound design, interactive video processing and visual design by Hector Centeno.
bodyForTheTrees utilizes wearable sensors that convert the movements of a performer into video animations and generative sound. The system consists of a flex sensor on one of the performer's knees, two distance sensors in the palms of the hands and an orientation sensor on the top of the head. The orientation movements are also translated into a variation of colour in the RGB LEDs worn on the back of the hands and the background of the scene in the video projection.

Project details



 Kensho Spoons

Art object. 3D Printed prototype
Rhino, Brazil Renderer

3D design and prototype fabricated in nylon of a pair of spoons as art objects.
In the Zen Buddhist tradition, Kenshō means “seeing into one’s true nature”. It is a short instant of realization or enlightenment. A moment where all the perceptual barriers collapse and a true sense of oneness is achieved. To the practitioner, this glimpse can occur at any moment and while performing everyday life activities. It can happen at the instant a spoonful of food is about to be emptied into one’s mouth. It is the sudden realization that there is no separation. We become what we eat, we become that which is eaten. The self/other dichotomy dissolves.
These two spoons represent our body, manifested in the shape of two of our main organs: heart and stomach. These are represented without any stylization but in their most crude, anatomical appearance. When the spoons are overlapped, the organs align to resemble their position in the human body. The body of the spoon is hollow so any liquids placed on its bowl can be ingested by the handle via a connecting duct.



 Endless Fall

Mobile Virtual Reality Game Prototype
Unity

Endless Fall is a virtual reality game for the Google Cardboard viewer (or similar). The game is intended to be played laying down and facing up. The player falls backwards while trying to "grab" at floating objects (clouds) by looking at them to momentarily stop the fall. The objective of the game is to prolong the fall as long as possible without reaching the ground. Falling cows can push the player down but looking at one of the two flying birds will give her a strong push up (with the danger of falling down faster!).



 The Safe House - Nectar VR Experience

Mobile Virtual Reality Experience
Unity

This VR experience for the Google Cardboard viewer is part of a larger project that included the creation of a fictional world set in the future (created by Tatiana Jennings and Hart Sturgeon-Reed). Different story lines emerged from the world and this VR experience represents an instance in one of them. The user can explore the environment and read messages exchanged between three of the characters. The sound design was made using two of my previous sound art pieces.

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