Versum is a realtime virtual 3D world that invites both the audience and the composer to look at the music and listen to the visuals. In 2008 I created a primitive version of Versum out of a need to tear down walls between the digital composer and the audience. I wanted to literally show people what my compositions looked like. I did this by showing them as 3D visual structures through which either the performer or the audience themselves could literally make a musical trip (and therefore become performers themselves). In the process I found myself making music in a way that has never been done before but still seemed to make complete intuïtive sense. Versum has been in constant development ever since, and applied in both live performance and interactive installation contexts.
The virtual world of Versum is seen and heard from the viewpoint of a moving virtual camera with virtual microphones attached. This camera, controlled in realtime by means of a joystick (or any other kind of controller) moves through space, similar to how first person shooter games work. Within this space, I place objects that can be both seen and heard, and like in reality, the closer the camera is to them, the louder you hear them. So when the camera moves past several visual objects, you simultaneously hear several sounds fading in and out. Consequently, the way the camera travels past them actually causes melodies and compositional structures to be seen and heard.
The visual position of each object coincides with the panning of its sound: objects to the right of the camera will also be heard on the right, and those behind the camera will be heard from behind in case a surround speaker setup is used. This principle also applies to the Z-axis, meaning that sounds can be heard coming from above and below if the speaker setup supports it.
All of this is controlled in realtime during live performances: both the path of the camera and the objects which it meets during its travels can be changed according to the whishes of the composer. 'Eleven' and 'Go' are two examples of compositions made in Versum.
Read more about Versum in this pdf.
December 30th 2009