A Blue Bridge is a soundwalk based audio-visual piece for 16 channels. The piece presents readings of a particular urban space in the city of Belfast through an interactive performance that recreates a soundwalk, juxtaposing and superimposing layers of sound, light and memories. It proposes a semi-open concert situation, conducted by a performer that leads the audience through a reconstructed soundwalk composed of fragments of several recordings of the same route, crossing a footbridge over the river Lagan (Belfast-UK).
A custom Max MSP patch manages 1 video file and 16 audio channels divided in two layers: 8 fixed (“real” sounds layer) and 8 manipulated and processed in real time (“imagination” layer). The fixed layer contains several stereo recordings of the walks done in different times of the day, edited to create a number of sub-layers. This approach allowed me to assemble a number of complex sonic environments that resemble the original ones, but expanding them from stereo to an 8-channel surround scenario.
During the performance, these 8 channels are played back synchronously with the video. In terms of content, this first layer presents manly background, ambient sounds, without too many distinct sonic events being heard.
The second audio layer (“imagination”) contains heavily edited recordings, presenting mostly foreground sounds that can be manipulated and brought to the foreground by moving around a wirelesses control sphere (sending OSC messages to Max MSP).
In the following performance excerpts, recorded in the Sonic Lab at Queen’s University, the 16 channels were mapped onto 32 channels with speakers in 3 levels: bellow, above and at the audience level.
Full video from Sonorities Festival 2015 (Queen’s University Belfast, UK):