Aether

Overview

 In 2015 Max Cooper, Regan Appleton and Satyajit Das collaborated to create a 3D audio-visual instillation in which music manifests itself through space and light.

The installation plays on our intrinsic and emotional connections to the forms, colours and sounds all around us. 

Real-world visual characteristics of volume, movement and geometry are mapped to musical form in order to create a rich, coherent, sensory experience which you can almost touch.

Aether pushes the threshold between digital and the physical, manipulating the space in front of you, to abstractly create complex forms and interwoven textures which amplify the emotional impact of the music.   

 Aether is named after the failed scientific concept which attempted to show the existence of an underlying fabric of all physical existence - a sort of blank canvas on which reality occurred. The idea stuck and we felt it lent itself well to the experience of the audio visual installation we created, which presents something like a visual map of unreal abstracted natural form. 

 

Process

The objective of our collaboration was to see whether we could capture the energy and narrative of music spatially. How could we create enough of a visual impact for a crowd of thousands whilst making the instillation as tour-able as a musical instrument?

Regan and Satyajit developed a design process at a 1:1 scale, matching materials, form and density with digital content. Over the space of six months the project constantly distilled itself down to the fundamental components: light and noise, until the physical aspects became almost invisible.

During the later stages David Garner was brought in. With a background in engineering in installations, played a important role in resolving the project as well as creating the content animation responding to max’s music.

Max developed the music in parallel with the visual progression, writing new pieces to make the most of the potential of the experience, and developing a surround sound experience which is used in sync with the visuals for both installation, or live performance forms.

The biggest challenge became how to take a 3m x 3m x 3m cube containing 6km of elastic fiber and be able to install and uninstall within a couple of hours. In its packaged form the instillation needed to be compact enough to be transported with the rest of the musicians kit via aircraft, requiring the lightest possible construction

The final piece was fabricated over the space of 3 weeks with a large team.