EVOKE V.02 – OrbitFest
by Nikzad Arabshahi

Synagogue Groningen, The Netherlands 2019

EVOKE V.02 is an Audio/Visual creative coding side project between Nikzad Arabshahi and Maggie Khorrami. The project inspired by “Mind Uploading theory” WBE is the hypothetical futuristic process of scanning the mental state (including long-term memory and “self”) of a particular brain substrate and copying it to a processor or another computational device. The processor could then run a simulation model of the brain’s information processing, such that it would respond in essentially the same way as the original brain.

The basic idea behind the audio and visuals of this project is to reconstruct a storyline in real-time through computer rendering in a generative algorithmic composition. In this tale, the audience experiences the modeled system of an artificial vision in real-time. An insight into a self-awareness exploration of an imaginary cybernetic organism that starts a self-hack journey through its macro uploaded memories to micro binaries data to perceive its embodied identity.

To tell such an abstract story, we need to design meaningful communication between sound and visual, so that these two play with each other and translate our imagination into an embodied experience. For this mean, the relation of sonic and visual stimulus is no longer a simple one, but a new language is created for decoding, decrypting, deciphering, revealing and then again concealing, reinterpreting, imagining, evoking a fleeting moment of what might present itself as the real or as the true.

Therefore, to design the algorithms of EVOKE core system, various sensors like Leapmotion, EEG, Myo, and Wacom have been installed in Nikzad’s studio capturing his hand’s physical movements and different ways he uses both physical painting brushes as well as virtual brushes in digital painting for three consecutive weeks while his drawing the storyline. Analysis of these bundles of data led to coding Touchdesigner modules imitating his behaviors as a Visual artist/painter.

The soundscape is not made beforehand; sounds need to be created; mathematical algorithms of the visual artist’s mind are brought to life by mathematical algorithms of the sound artist. Movements of the visual artist’s hand, his color pallet, his playfulness while making the storyline become input parameters for a modular sound synthesizer to generate the sonic materials, and finally words, ideas, and visions altered and composed to an AV set.