M3 / T-Garden

Xin Wei Sha

The T-Garden is the third room in a proposed performance/social investigation by sponge called M3. T-Garden is a responsive environment where visitors can put on sound and dance with images in a tangible way to construct musical and visual worlds "on the fly." The play space dissolves the lines between performer and spectator by creating a social, computational and media architecture which allows the visitor-players to shape patterns in the dynamical environment.

As visitors enter the performance space, they find an array of sumptuous clothing from which they can choose to don. The clothing has specific exaggerated physical qualities of, for example, weight, size and material. This clothing is embedded with wearable sensing, computing and signal processing devices as well as small audio speakers. Individually, the visitors enter into several individual vestibules - rehearsal studios where they can play with streams of sounds and compositional effects being broadcast by wireless audio throughout the room. There the visitors can explore the aural and physical properties of their garment-instrument, and gradually learn how to modulate and change the sounds they are receiving.

After practicing, the players then enter a circular room, thick with sound and image. The curved walls and floor are covered with transforming, polymorphous video and computer-generated textures: archeologies of bodies, acquatic organic forms, elemental and microscopic liquid and solid state changes. These phantasmagoric textures appear to breathe and dance according to the sound patterns in the room. In this garden, as the visitors pass near each other, their clothes will appear to howl and squeal - patterns of sound and image "bleeding" from one body to another. As the visitors move about, their locations and groupings will strengthen and lighten the density of the visual environment while varying the melodic and rhythmic aspects of the sound space. Memory, population density and bodily proximity affect the dynamics of the room, causing growth, decay, infection and contamination in the visual environment. Embedded performersn also inhabit the room and will affect the basic sound structures of the environment, providing the cantus firmus in a dense and changing polyphony of rhythms and melodies generated by the visitors gestures and motions.

The room's media is stirred not by explicit speech and command, but by the half-noticed gestures and the flows of fabric and resonating air that halo the people's conscious activity.