Immersive audiovisual environments are often associated with elaborate and cutting edge technologies. From Imax theaters to works such as Filmachine by Keiichiro Shibuya and Takashi Ikegami, impressive amounts of equipment are deployed to deliver high levels of sensory involvement.

But staging less gear can be more effective: Plane Scape is a collaborative project by Wolfgang Bittner, Lyndsey Housden, Yoko Seyama and Jeroen Uyttendaele, which presents an original combination of media. In the Zaal5 at Den Haag’s Filmhuis, visitors are invited to enter a forest of thousands of elastic rubber bands stretched from the floor to the ceiling throughout the whole room. A generative animation of white lines is projected on this exploded screen, extruding the light patterns in depth and creating an abstract landscape of moving planes and pixel clouds that resemble the celestial imagery of planetariums or early vector based virtual reality. This could be imagined as a set for a film that is continuously in the making, where the camera work is done by each viewer as he finds his way in the maze of lines, adjusting his perspective, zooming in or out of the elaborate geometries.

The auditory layer of the piece is equally as effective in creating a sensation of depth and envelopment. From six speakers the room is flooded with droning sinewaves that raise or lower their frequency as the projected planes rise and fall, creating a feeling of a loss of gravity. Plane Scape could be placed in the genealogy of the total artwork, but while a Wagnerian ethos can easily overwhelm the audience, this piece shifts its emphasis towards the poetics of minimalism and simplicity. It reiterates the idea that by articulating just a few basic perceptual elements some of the most engaging experiences can be created.

Matteo Marangoni | neural.it