An invisible machine that can be heard but not seen and touched but not felt
Imagined Systems is an interactive sound installation creating a virtual space filled with imaginary machines and objects. As visitors passed under spotlights in particular ways, for example in a counter clockwise motion for a large turbine wheel, the virtual devices would respond with appropriate sound. Drawing on everyday sounds collected over the years—a potato hissing in the microwave, unintelligible radio babble from a cab in Queens, an alarm at the airport, oil dripping in the pan of a cooling engine—the sounds are remixed into a scene that cannot be placed, perhaps vaguely reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s industrial past.
The work was created for 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The visitor is presented with a darkened, empty room illuminated by three spots of light on the floor. Hidden 3D cameras fed video to computers running custom computer vision, physics, and sound synthesis programs driving a four-channel speaker system.