Colours and Sound

Upon hearing about an exhibition about Generative Design at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, and knowing that I want to take my Master’s thesis in the direction of sound generation, I became interested to see what the exhibition had to offer.

The exhibition was very small and informal, and this allowed us to speak to the people who were behind the project itself. One project that I found interesting was Momo‘s project, which allowed people to use a dropper to put colours on a slide. A camera above the slide picked up the size and position of the colour droplets and the computer interpreted this input as sound. This allowed people to create music by spacing out the coloured drops appropriately. The other interesting project was Andrew‘s project, which allowed the user to record a sound and then interpret the sound wave as different shaped circles.  The circles could then be printed out and one could physically build the sound wave.

I felt that both projects were interesting due to the representation of sound in other mediums, such as colour, as well as physically representing it. Particularly interesting was Momo’s idea of generating sound, since both position, size and colour of the droplet affected the type of sound produced.

After the exhibition, I attended a VJ session at Nikolaj Kunsthallen. In short, this particular session involved laser beams of different colours, sizes and shapes being projected onto the walls of a former church, with droning soundscapes being played in the background. The experience was nothing short of incredible, and most of the crowd lay down on the floor or on the provided cushions to look up at the light show. Nikolaj Kunsthallen also had an ongoing exhibition, and one particular exhibit that struck me was Bill Viola’s The Night Journey, which is a cross between a video game and an art project.

It was exhibited in a dark room with black walls. Participants could sit down on a black bench and face a large screen on the opposite side of the room. The participant could also use an Xbox controller to interact with the game. Movement was only done by going forwards and backwards, and by strafing left or right, and players could also press X to reflect on the current location or situation. It was a very haunting, immersive and thought-provoking experience, and at one point, I was so into the game that I had the fright of my life when Terry suddenly walked in on us to see what we were doing. A trailer for the project can be seen here.

Endless Magic
Endless Magic

More recently, I sat down with 4 other guys to play a game of Magic: The Gathering for the first time in 4-5 years. We first started off by playing small monocolour 30 card quick-start decks, but quickly moved on into playing a format called Endless Magic. The basic idea behind the format was that players could choose to attack any other player, and once a player was out, he restarts the game and has 3 turns of immunity  to get back in game. This allowed everybody to have a winning chance, and powerful players were instantly ganged up on and defeated. In our version of the format, we kept score by counting the number of player kills we achieved, and the first person to 5 was declared the winner.

I received a green Elf deck, where most of the cards were from Onslaught. This allowed me to create a large army very quickly, and the addition of cards like Overrun made that army scarier. Martin was playing a black/white deck that mostly contained Spirit creatures, backed up by lifelink, flying and discard spells. Johannes was playing a black Rogue deck which was very heavy on discard spells, as well as prowl and +1/+1 counters. Max was playing a black/white token creation deck, and Ezze was playing a red Goblin deck. Later on, Søren joined the game with a blue control deck.

The beginning of the game tested the waters by feeling the strengths of particular players and their decks. Nobody was left unchecked, and as one individual player got stronger, the rest of the players ganged up on him. During the midgame however, once we had gotten a feel of which were the strongest decks, some players were deemed more of a threat than others. Johannes, Max and myself were constantly being attacked, even when being defenceless, simply because our decks were considered more powerful. Alliances were formed and broken many times, and Martin likened the gameplay style to the Cold War at one point, where everybody was scared of attacking simply because they would then get attacked back. As several players starting approaching 5 kills, other players made sure that that opportunity would be denied, simply because that particular player was close to winning.

I have two memorable plays from that session. The first memorable play was a particularly destructive Overrun with several Elves and Insect tokens, taking out both Søren and Johannes. This made a lot of enemies very quickly, and my deck was deemed a dangerous threat. The second memorable play was at the very end of the Endless Magic game. I was relentlessly being attacked, and I was on my 4th kill. Although I had a sizeable army of Elves and 1/1 Insect tokens, they would not be able to punch through any players defenses. I decided to use Bloodline Shaman to go through my deck as quickly as possible to find creatures that I could use, so that I could attack the weakest player and get a few points of damage. Up comes an Overrun, which I have to discard, and at that point, I lost all chances of winning the game. Max was later declared the winner, ending a 5 hour game.

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