Particle Dreams in Spherical Harmonics

Sandin’s Particle Dreams - L. Long, EVL

Developers: Daniel J. Sandin

URL: http://www.evl.uic.edu/dan/VRcontent.html

Content and application programming: Dan Sandin
Content and systems programming: Robert Kooima
Music and sound effects: Laurie Spiegel
Driver: Tom DeFanti

The virtual-reality installation “Particle Dreams in Spherical Harmonics” is the latest of a series of VR art installations created by Dan Sandin and collaborators to involve the viewer-participant in the creation of an immersive, visual and sonic experience. It is based on the physical simulation of over one million particles with momentum and elastic reflection in an environment with gravity. In the final scene there is a very realistic rendering of water with reflections, and lighting based on spherical harmonics. The sound components are triggered and modified by the user and particle interaction. This work was premiered in January 2011 at the gallery@calit2 University of California San Diego, designed for exhibition in the Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego division of Calit2’s StarCAVE and the CAVE2™ developed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago.

According to Amos Jessup, standing in the StarCAVE “was like standing in a rainstorm made of rainbow fragments, with the power to guide the storm by hand. It was unsettling, out-of-body, very trippy stuff, a powerful artistic experience. The sounds, in small fragments like the rainbows, seemed to be natural concomitants of the gestures, even though you could tell it was not through a mechanical linkage, a theremin or one of its descendants. But whatever the linkage was it managed to be sensitive, or else it was just inherent in the genius of the sounds that they seemed that way.”

Email: dan@uic.edu

Date: January 1, 2011 - Ongoing

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