15 February 2013

Topophonia: 4 Realizations in Sound

I recommend visiting Topophonia: 4 Realizations in Sound, on display at Yoshikaze@HUMlab through the end of February. Curated by Oberon Onmura, the installation features work by Maya Paris, Alpha Auer, Eupalinos Ugajin and the curator, who says, "The concept [was] simple: use sounds only to guide an avatar around a build. I asked [the other three artists] to avoid providing visual cues for avatars to use in reaching whatever kind of goals the artists envisioned. You will find four completely different pieces, four totally different visions of what that initial concept suggested. To me, the fact that our four versions are so different is tremendously exciting. It is further proof that the artist's mind is unlimited in its ability to make sense of the world, and to convey that sense to others."

The four installations are indeed quite different from one another, and adhere to Oberon's request to varying degrees, but sound is clearly a key component in each. Oberon's work, Nine Rooms (photo immediately above), presents a puzzle: enter a room with two doors, one of which sends you to the next room and one of which sends you back to the beginning. Each room is a separate sonic environment.

By contrast, I found myself clicking on everything at Eupalinos Ugajin's Jazz on Bones (photo immediately below), so that my visual interactions rather than auditory ones were leading me forward. Still, it's a delight, and if you choose to take the lemon umbrella up it does eventually (and unceremoniously) return you down. There's a freebie here if you search far enough.

Maya Paris's Bank Job (top photo) is typically crazy, and if you search around long enough you'll end up with a free avatar and some other goodies (find the bank!). As with Eupalinos's creation, I found this less dependent on auditory cues, but I always love the playfulness of Maya's creations. And at Alpha Auer's beautiful Listen... (bottom image) you should do just that, as the sounds will guide you to the location of a free alpha.tribe avatar.

All in all, four excellent small installations by outstanding artists. HUMlab is a project of Umeå University in Sweden, and YO=shi-kA+Ze is an art studio run by Goodwind Seiling with HUMlab's support.


  1. Thank you :-)
    We contacted Marx Catteneo to make a machinima over there and here is the result: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38i2qZ7S1wc