Mana Saei

Instructor: Chris Anderson


Components of the installation: Solitude Max patch, Microphone, Projector, small white box

Solitude is the situation of being alone. Sometimes people just need to be heard while living in solitude. My mom back in Iran was not able to go out or to have people over for about four months (when Corona showed up in Iran), until she could come to Vancouver to be with my sister and I. She lived alone back home and those four months were like a big torture to her. Being alone for that amount of time, not having people over, was unbelievable for someone like my mother, who is very outgoing. Once she told me that she needed only a pair of ears that could hear her while talking at home. She only needed to feel like someone was there and could hear her.

This taught me that sometimes people just need to be heard! (like when they are in quarantine or when they have to live alone for whatever reason). They do not need someone to listen to them, but someone who would be able to only hear them and react. Therefore I came up with the idea of this project. Solitude is a Max patch that will hear you while talking, and react to your voice. I needed to project map the output of this patch on a physical shape, to have the tactile three dimensional quality. Therefore it would evoke the quality of presence in a room. The output of this patch includes Donut (a torus shape object) that will respond to the sounds by rotating and relocating. There is an abstract texture generated from a video that is used for the Donut’s texture as well.

This Max patch uses an ‘ezadc’ object to get the info from a microphone. It then generates new x, y and z for the rotation and the position of Donut. Also when there is no sound, the background is a light blue color but as soon as it hears a sound, the color turns to light pink. I needed to change the output number from the ‘meter~’ object for each of my components. For rotation they had to be multiplied by +100 and for position they had to be multiplied by -100 (to fit into my world). The audience is able to change the shape and draw mode of Donut to a different form that resonates with them. I used the ‘phys’ object in this patch, so people can play with Donut (e.g. pick it up, through it around, …) to feel the tactility and intimacy. 

I needed a projector for this project. So I asked a friend, who works at a projector company, to lend me one of their small test projectors. I used ‘cornerpin’ for project mapping. The mapping was done on three faces of a white small box. Donut was projected on the biggest face. A texture (the same one that is used for Donut) was projected on two other smaller faces of the box. Since the texture is generated from a video with movements, it evoked liveness and presence in my installation.

The project turned out well and really resonated with me when I was interacting with it. I hope I can expand this project in the future. I did not have an ideal space to install. Also since my projector was not mounted on the wall or did not have a good stand, I had to put books below it to give it the angle I was looking for, to be able to project on all three faces of the box (books were not the best options since they were slippery for the projector, and the angle changed gradually over time). Overall I feel happy with the outcome and definitely interested in expanding on it in the future. 



There are two recorded videos from this project:

  1. Video from the installation, recorded by a camera (with audio)

2. Video from the patch, recorded by Max (without audio)