bcchang.com / Art / Synthecology


Synthecology is an immersive virtual environment, displayed on a stereoscopic projection screen with magnetic hand and eye trackers for gestural interaction. Viewers wear 3D glasses, while one user interacts using the Wand. The virtual soundscape is generated by a 4-speaker surround sound system.

Participants enter the environment of Synthecology through a field of thick grass by the water's edge to find a deserted beach with only the sound of the surf and wind. Faint objects come drifting over the water towards the land, translucent seedpods carrying sounds.

Reaching towards a floating seed, it emits a vibrating sound that increases in excitement as the user's hand gets closer and touches it. Pressing a button on the wand 'grabs' the seed.

Releasing the wand button drops the seed to the ground, where it plants itself in the ground and begins growing. As the plant grows, it begins emitting its sound - musical notes, conversations, stories, abstract sonic textures, sound effects, field recordings, all manner of sounds.

As more seeds are planted, the participants in Synthecology begin constructing an evolving soundscape. When touched, each object emits its sound again, such that they can be played almost like a musical instrument. Participants can pick up the plants and move them to create new sonic arrangements of the space.