project / installation _ liquid space 02
title : FFTV
authors: Michiel Helbig and LAb[au]


A sound can be analysed in form of strings of numbers expressing its sonic structures such as tones values or harmonies but also the ones of music, rhythm and melody.

One of the known algorithms to analyse and describe sonic structures in real time is the Fast Fourrier Transform, known as FFT. The 'Fourier fast transform' functions in essence, decomposes or separates a waveform or function into sinusoids of different frequencies. It distinguishes frequency sinusoids and their respective amplitudes and thus is one of the few frequency Scope/Spectrum analyzers that feature a real time accurate decimation in time, and decimation in frequency. FFT functions are widely used in solving problems in science and engineering such as: linear systems analysis, antenna studies, optics, random process modeling, probability theory, quantum physics, and boundary-value problems. "Fast Fourier transform functions" translates sound signals into numbers which can easily be re-assigned to visual parameters, colour and shapes, or spatial parameters such as 3D objects size, position, behaviours, orientation... This translation of sound into numbers allows to visualise music and to display its structures and values dynamically, from tone-colour images to rhythmic space.

The "Testbild" known from analogue image processing technologies, television, is testing visually emitted frequencies in form of colour spectrum and moiré patterns, it is a tone-colour representation testing its frequency ranges.

The FFTv project is based on the idea to build up a spatial tone colour environment out of frequency, thus assigning sound input to object behaviours such as positions, orientation and/or its colours and size. According to this principle a specific sound leads to a specific spatial and visual configuration of the objects constituting the 3D environment.

But rather than using complex external sounds the project uses pure frequency tones, such as the 440 Hertz sine tone of the "Testbild". Furthermore each 3D object inside the space is a sound emitter itself. This principle can lead to a kind of feedback principle where the users proximity inside the 3d space to an object / sound raises the signal values, which, if further assigned to position values of the object, moves the object away thus decreasing the signal / values, hence bringing back the object to the user's position... A permanent instable situation is created in between the user's position and the reacting sounds negotiating their position to find equilibrium. Navigation inside the 3Dspace, leads to a collapsing effect where all objects are in permanent movement.

Here a deconstructing spatial environment is constructed out of the elements of the "Testbild" where tones become staccato rhythms out of the fast moving sound objects and where navigation turns into an ever varying play within sonic patterns... based on the codes of tone-images and its frequencies, a navigable FFTv composition.

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