Meandering River

Meandering River

Audiovisual Art Installation

 © onformative

© onformative

 © onformative

© onformative

Over time, landscapes are gradually shaped by natural forces. Indiscernible to the naked eye, we only perceive one moment at a time. The fluctuations and rhythmic movement of rivers are a glimpse into the past, as traces provide evidence of the constant transformations that surround us.

Meandering River is an installation comprised of real-time generated visuals and music. This digital artwork makes changing landscapes perceivable by creating a unique awareness of time. Spanning over multiple screens, the piece reinterprets the shifting behaviors of rivers by visualizing and sonifying their impact on the surface of the earth. The audiovisual installation creates a bird’s eye view of a landscape. This orientation conceptualizes a new human perspective on space and time, in an attempt to decipher the unpredictable patterns. By experiencing it from an influential perspective, the real-time visuals demonstrate what is happening on a larger scale. Based on a bespoke algorithm, the rippling and oscillating movement inherent in the generated imagery, provides a vantage point that transforms an understanding of progress, to examine the shifting movements and rhythm of natural forces. As the evolving patterns of Meandering River emerge, the viewer is left with a humbling sense of the unpredictability of change, and the beauty of nature.

The Generative Score

The musical score was developed in collaboration with kling klang klong with the intention to enhance the emotional, complex and unpredictable nature of the visual aesthetic. Through a research of various computational strategies, the musical composition was created using a machine learning model and custom-built procedural system. To collect training datasets, piano players were invited to improvise musical phrases based on the diverse visual sceneries of the animation. The range of sonic interpretations they produced served as a large-scale polyphonic inventory for the Artificial Intelligence to learn from. To reflect the performative nature of the work, values outputted directly from the river simulation such as the length, curvature, and events of connections of the river were analyzed and interpreted in real-time to influence musical parameters like tempo, note strength, intensity, pitch range.

As a result of an iterative process, the machine achieved the composition of an original musical score whose harmonic quality reached the standard expected from a human composer and a rich cinematic connection between the visuals and the music.


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