The Body Adorned

In July 2014 we were commissioned by WIRED Magazine to create a new interactive media art installation as part of  Bentley Motors Night Call event in the historic Wind Tunnels at Farnborough Airport. This prestigious event celebrated British design and engineering excellence with the launch of Bentley’s new Continental GT V8 S. This was the building where Bentley had tested its original V8 powered car design back in 1957 and the building had been abandoned for many years and only recently opened up for events. We instantly fell in love with the building and its history, however it was a very quick turnaround for such a large scale project and our ideas had to be achievable in a short time frame.

Our response to this challenge was to explore the relationship between sound, space and energy while referencing the building’s long history of aeronautical design and engineering.The resulting piece was a sound reactive video installation built with custom software in Openframeworks that uses a realtime fluid dynamics engine to distort and manipulate a set of vector fields. We designed and developed this custom software to allow us to visually map this huge space and to create a playful interactive piece that would engage the audience at the event while they walking through the tunnel.

We used a set of six 20k Full HD Christie projectors with very wide angle lenses to cover the walls and ceiling of the tunnel in three separate bands along the lengh of the space. Each of these arches of light contained a pair of Naim Audio speakers and a pair of vocal microphones at their bases. As the software generated different virtual energy forces that slowly moved down the space, the audience were encouraged to interact with these visuals by releasing their own sonic forces into the room. The resulting audio visual emissions and graphic turbulence created in these vector fields drove a multi channel piece of sound design in Ableton Liveusing OSC and Midi messages. The resulting sound scape sampled, effected and distorted the audience’s utterances and triggered additional lighting effects at each end of the space.


The Body Adorned

Client: Horniman Museum 
Production company: The Light Surgeons

‘The Body Adorned’ at the Horniman Museum considers how the movement of people, objects and ideas influenced London dress in the past and explores body adornment in today’s world city of London. The brief for the installation was to create a piece that made the visitor reflect on how we navigate London; how we choose what we wear and how we respond to other people.

We filmed a series of portraits across 4 contrasting areas of London: The City, Chelsea, Brick Lane and Peckham, asking each person why they dress as they do. We then invited everyone featured to watch all the other portraits online and give their impressions of what they saw. From the resulting recordings, we created a surround sound installation that brings to life the internal dialogue we all share as we navigate the streets of London.

The installation represents an anthropology of dress in London that sits at the heart of the exhibition.

Creative Direction: Christopher Thomas Allen | James Price
Producer: Alice Ceresole
Camera: Christopher Thomas Allen | Simon Bertheux | Tim Cowie | James Price
Editor: James Price
Motion Graphics: Simon Bertheux | Tim Cowie | Ivan Gomez-Espana
Sound design: Tim Cowie
Production Assistant: Jaha Browne
Camera Assistants: Jaha Browne | Thomas Buttery | Francesca Casilli | Jai Rafferty | Babis Tsoutsas | Cameron Wauchope | Bea Wilson