Monday, April 4, 2011

Sofian Audry, "Accrochages" 2008

New Media Artist Sofian Audry creates mechanical sound devises and objects that he places in both urban and rural locations for people and animals to interact with. Accorchages was a city project conducted in 2008, which according to the artist was meant “…to give new qualities to the city environment by creating different interactive situations.” It involved a series of electrically wired encasings that were attached to poles, railings and stairwells in places such as parking lots and sidewalks. The sounds emitted were most unusual, ranging from the tweeting sounds of birds to the simulated sound of a smoke detector.

As seen on this video, many interacted with these new sounds and unusual objects in various ways. Some came near the sourse to discover where it was coming from, while others seemed to move away from the noise. Audry works on his projects either solo or with a team of others. He has earned a master’s degree in Computer Science and has created a range of web projects and installations. More recently, Audry has received a master’s degree in Communication, with an emphasis on Interactive Media. In addition, he is now a member of Perte de Signal, a French entity that define themselves as “…a non-profit organization that contributes to the dissemination of emerging digital artists and culture on the national and international scenes.”

Audry’s most recent project created in 2010 is called Vessels. He describes these small floating rafts as “…an outdoor robotic installation consisting of groups of nocturnal autonomous water vehicles.” Audry further explains, “Their collective, emergent behaviour signifies unseen characteristics of their immediate environment.” In essence, these little instruments are controlled by the atmosphere, absorbing information from the light, sound, and temperature which influences their actions. For instance, when it is warm, they accelerate, and when they reach a loud sound they shift direction and move away from the source. During the day, they collect energy from the sun and gently move across a pond or lake in zig-zag patterns, and even interacting with one another.

It is fun to watch the rather unpredictable movement and behavior of these tiny boats. But there is much more to just watching them move about. In his web site, Audry discussed the function behind these objects, noting “This emergent behaviour will signify unseen characteristics of the environment and thus potentially provide the audience with new insights into their surroundings. Furthermore, stored data may be later used to analyze local environmental conditions.” As we advance technologically day by day, it is important to place our utmost care in the environment and see to it that we, the public cherish and protect it. It is through projects such as Audry’s Vessels and Accorchages that we become more aware of our surroundings and our innate need to care for nature and one another.

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