An installation by MSHR presented at Calm & Punk Gallery in Tokyo, 2019.
This piece is the eighth iteration of MSHR's Nested Scapes series.


Frame Wave is a composition that unfolds through the exploration of the observer. The piece is made up of a computer music system inside a virtual reality environment, inside a physical installation, forming a nesting loop. The system is woven between virtual and physical dimensions, both of which are in feedback with the presence of the VR user. Visitors to the installation may wear a VR headset to traverse a virtual environment that is overlaid onto the physical one. As the visitor explores the zone, their movements collide with embedded triggers that activate mutations to the virtual space as well as the live generative music and light system in the physical room. Through this interaction, the VR user takes on the role of the performer of a generative sound and light composition as they navigate the sculptural environment, while the other visitors in the installation become an audience.

Tapestries on the walls and floor are formalized flow charts that serve as graphic scores for the interactive music system and as a blueprint for the virtual sculpture installation. The shapes in these diagrams each represent functional elements in the system such as the VR user, randomization triggers, sound producing units, modulators, and the speakers. The lines connecting these symbolic nodes represent causal relationships and signal flow in the generative system. In the virtual space, MSHR's sculptural forms rise up out of the 2D floor graphics, projecting the diagrams into three dimensional space for the VR user.

There are red, green, blue and white LED bulbs arranged on the ceiling that turn on and off in relation to the volume, frequency and channel of incoming sound- the resulting RGBW flickering animates the RGBW graphics on the floor and wall prints, allowing the events in the virtual space to cause ripples in the physical one.

Musically, this piece is based in the context of cybernetic electronic music, using indeterminacy and feedback as compositional elements to construct a synthetic network of causal relationships that mimics the complexity of a natural system.

MSHR's distinct sculptural entities are constructed with a combination of intuitive and procedural techniques. The artists leverage simple geometries in a balance between mental presence and computer algorithms to produce forms that suggest a digital hyper-biology. MSHR's approach to sound and sculpture are intricately entangled. In this piece, the two domains modulate each other both technically and aesthetically, producing mutually inspired forms.





Diagram 1: Voice Feedback
Diagram 2: Modulators
Diagram 3: Voice-Speaker
Diagram 4: System Overview