Traversal is a series of four generative audio/visual works, part of the Sonic Alchemy exhibition at Unit London.
For this piece I built a system that turns random stock photos into landscapes and soundscapes. I wanted to see how differences in imagery could translate into differences in music. My goal was to reach a point where it seemed like the algorithm had a mind of its own, and could fully explore the sonic palette provided to it. I enjoy finding multiple ways to interpret the same data, and in this piece the image data drives all visual and sonic variations. Some of these transformations are direct while others are quite circuitous. This process of using one medium to create another results in emergent patterns that might otherwise be impossible to reach.
The visuals operate by painting strokes of colors based on the original image. Starting at their original position, they move, expand, and contract based on the properties of color (for example brighter colors move faster) as well as the user's mouse position.
To generate sound, some of these brush paths are selected as sonic controllers, each mapped to a certain sound or instrument based on their starting color. As they traverse the image in two dimensions, they move over pixels from the original image. The pixel data is transformed in real time into notes, effects, and timbral adjustments.
In addition, the image's dominant colors are interpreted as looped sequences of notes, whose presence in the mix is determined by another set of traversing brush paths.
The code runs in the browser, and includes to custom synthesizer code that I made with RNBO, the Max/MSP tool for building for multiple platforms.