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Tuesday, 11 December 2012


This is an 'experiment-in-progress' that primarily explores the notions of 'wave' (sound and visual) and 'improvisation' through an open-ended setting that employs several key principles found in many forms of Eastern cosmology. The setting can also be read as a result of 'creative intervention' in which an existing space (with its well-defined meanings) is creatively intervened to add new layers of experience. It enriches 'meanings' attached to a particular space, whilst avoiding it from becoming stagnant or 'dead'. It employs principles such as open-ended, non-linear, connectivity, inclusiveness, interactivity and participative. Through such setting and principles, meanings, moments, experiences and quantum states are actively generated and fluctuated together by the synergy between the waves of the participating audience members and the installation space.  

The project also intends to re-iterate the fact that all of us are small ripples or waves within a much much larger and complex ecology of ripples or waves. Whatever waves we generate and receive (or dance and improvise with), will determine the kinds of interference patterns (convergence between two or more waves) that will appear (that we call, experiences). The resulting outcome depends on the audience members. The audience members are the 'performers', 'meanings generators' and 'content providers'.

The set-up or installation is dubbed as a 'Kebun' or 'Garden' in which audience members may get themselves involved or engaged in the act of 'gardening' (improvising) sound and visual images (waves).  

In this case, the existing exhibition space of 'Traditional Forms of Performing Arts in Asia' at the Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTF), Universiti Sains malaysia (USM) is intervened with a set-up that converges traditional and modern musical instruments with live video feed and manipulated projection, projection of sound-image waves generated in real-time by the live performers, and sound-triggered laser light and patterns. Rocka Radipa (from Jogjakarta), Faizal M Zin and Ainina Hasnul were invited to initiate the musical improvisations (gardening) by using both acoustic and electronic guitars, ukelele and myriads of traditional percussion instruments (gendang, bonang, gamelan set, etc). They are complimented by Syafiq Samat, who designed and performed a sound-image waves capture system, projected on the existing 'Wayang Kulit' screen or kelir. Shamsul Ikhmal Mansori provided a life video feed, while Afzanizam and Izrul manipulated the life feed video projection with water and mirror reflections. They control or improvise the interchange between two projections, rear and front. These 'performers' are actually playing their roles mainly as 'catalysts' to lure and invite the audience members to participate and joint the whole gardening or improvisation act.  The existing museum set up adds to the whole ambiance of the 'garden'. 

Wave Improv is an extension of both 'Kebun Bunyi'(garden of sound) and 'Kebun Rupa' (garden of visuals) concepts that employ key principles found in many forms of Eastern cosmology, including the Malay-Islamic cosmology. It is initiated as a means to explore new findings, and test several propositions in regards to reproaching video and new media art from an Eastern epistemological perspective.  

It is a part of my methods to develop a framework for my own research endeavor in the near future.

My heart goes to Rocka Radipa, Faizal Zin, Syafiq Samat, and MGTF USM staffs Husni Hanafi, Shamsul Ikhmal, Afzanizam, Izrul and of course, to my sweet baby, Ainina. Also to those who came to check out, Nina's buddies, Tetriana, Hasanul, Ahnaf, Kamarul, plus few 2nd. year New Media students USM. Thank you.

Shamsul (in front/foreground), capturing the performance while feeding the video to a projector behind the screen, with projected images manipulated with water by Zam and Izrul behind the screen or kelir. The live video feed is layered with sound-image waves generated by the performers, and captured in real-time by Syafiq Samat.
Rocka (in the foreground) providing the rhythm, while Faizal (with guitar in orange shirt) and I churn out songs. Syafiq in the background is showing Tetriana how to capture the whole 'moment' and feed it to a sound-image waves generator.
Rocka, churning out his jazzy numbers.
Ainina and I providing the rhythm while Rocka and Faizal grooving.
Syafiq (far right) is seen here capturing the moments, while the generated waves patterns (capturing both sound and images in abstract term) are projected on the screen.
The screen converges three types of images, manipulated live video feed, sound-image waves and shadows of the performers. It is an extension of the concept of 'Maya' as epitomized by the Wayang Kulit or shadow puppet play.
Souled out.
Photo credit (c) 2012 Mohd Firdaus Khairuddin
Photo credit. (c) 2012 Kamarul Ariffin

The following link is an excerpt from Wave Improv, by Syafiq Samat, a 'Hingarmera's Spiralminute' based on the performance. Syafiq captured the performance (visual and sound) and coverted them into his spiral waveforms, using a system he developed for his Masters degree studio project at USM. In the case of Wave Improv, his system was used and tested as a potential instrument for an engaging and inclusive approach towards communal visual and sound making installation and event (dubbed Kebun Bunyi & Kebun Rupa). Syafiq's series of spiral wave patterns can be taken independently as art pieces in their own right, or a documentation of real-time output from audience engagement with Wave Improv. Syafiq's spiralminute will be futured in future ventures of Wave Improv, InsyaAllah.,Readers may also check out Syafiq's spiralminute Masters project.Thank you Syafiq, for being a part of this experiment.

The following link is a photographic interpretations of Wave Improv by Kamarul Arifin, a talented first year New Media student from the School of the Arts USM. Check out also his other other series "Gambar Jahanam". Wave Improv is also meant to churn out multi-dimensional output, other than being an inclusive kebun or garden for communal visual and sound making installation and moment. Thank you Kamarul for being a part of this experiment.

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