Consciousness in The Landscape - Artemis Weng, Bethan Hancock

Bethan Hancock and Artemis Zih-Jie Weng are a research group based in London who are interested in the connection between human consciousness and evolving environments - particularly those that are liminal, and metaphorically evolving. This current project Consciousness in The Landscape explores the concepts of human sub-consciousness and curiosity when placed in environments reflecting the Anthropocene.

Presented by: Artemis Weng & Bethan Hancock
Biography Artemis Weng
Biography Bethan Hancock

This speculative project explores interactions between the human consciousness and its’ reaction to different environments, recording movements taken by the individual via sound vibrations. The format is an interactive game produced using VR system game software; where the player is exploring a route through a forest landscape which gradually evolves into a city landscape using Anthropocene imagery. A key detail of this project is the sound experience with player versus audience; the player experiences natural sounds which are slowly manipulated/augmented by computer generated sensory input – sounds such as the trickling water sounds of a riverbed, whistling wind through tree branches, and creatures scuttling across a leafy forest floor. Inspired by films such Annihilation (2018) where nature evolves as the explorers traverse the landscape. In contrast, the audience outside of the headset hears a sound data performance derived from the players controller movements.

As they traverse the forest ,the player uses a controller to interact with the environment, when they react to the landscape using the controller, the controller will produce sounds dependent on the players specific movements: an example being if they’re pushing forward with the left joystick there will be a specific humming/vibration sound, however if something in their path causes them to move their joystick, a secondary sound is produced. These results will change as the natural landscape gets affected by Anthropocene aesthetics; the result will be a recorded sound data documentation and performance reflecting actions of human curiosity and sub-conscious decisions.

In the Anthropocene landscape the sounds become more synthetic and unnatural, Ambisonics play a crucial role in this experience, encouraging the player to go off-path where possible. It explores the ways in which human curiosity interacts with different environments as they evolve, producing experimental sound that reflects climate. The contrasting environments make for a fascinating comparison in results, as each playthrough is unique. The sound data is portrayed showing the vibrations associated with these sounds to convey a multi-sensory experience.

The project will be presented with a demo of the game simulation played by an individual whilst the audience experiences the sound data documentation performance which will be conveyed on a second screen.

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