Occasion in the Snowstorm
Updated: Jun 14
What can you see in the boundless white? Can you be sure of what you hear in the whirring noise? Occasion In The Snowstorm is an experimental sonic game. It attempts to break down the barriers of analytical, linear information systems with diegetic simulated environments full of uncertainty and chance sound played by the player. And it employs gaming as a method of sound production, with virtual spatial vectors transformed into chance sounds. Walking without fatigue triggers continuous sound that never stops. The noise created by pseudo-randomness of computer simulation and uncertainty of game operation traps the player in the occasion of snowstorm.
Screen recording from"Occasion In The Snowstorm"
The project as an experimental practice stems from my research in contemporary information system, and the associated infrastructure issue as well as technical image production. Contemporary information systems is developing based on information theory in the twentieth century, with Shannon's information theory as the theoretical foundation for a communication system. For transmissions across physical distances, the accuracy of the message is paramount. For a sender and receiver, both want to receive an error-free, untampered signal. Any interference during transmission that affects the accuracy of information will be cleaned as noise. So noise reduction is an essential part for communication especially when artificial intelligence has taken noise reduction to a new technological level. The algorithm of AI denoise is based on a core thought that is division. What should be retained as main content, as detail, and what can be cleaned out as noise when it's regarded as unexpected affects to quality? This is division of media itself, which is dualised into process and result, an image separate to two - image in process and image in result. How the mechanism and standard of division behind are set? The definition of standards reflects the political ideology and social operation, as Jacques Rancière shown, is an older social formula of division. It can be traced back to the joint development of colonialism, capitalism, probability theory and statistics centuries ago, these are the mathematical revolutions buried behind machine learning, big data and algorithms. And modern contemporary communication systems seem to have ingrained this memory in its logical minds, doing it even better with advance of Ai. A meticulous and detailed system, a purpose driven linear structure, soars forward.
The signal is filtered to a perfect curve, with sharp edges as if everything is clearly discernible. What under slick surface is the noise that outside the purpose, dose it also intersperse with those neglected emotion and self that come from perception and transcend expression. Precise transmission and binary denoise are not only making the system less noisy, but also encompass us as part of system. The linear relationship between input and output, sending and receiving, encoding and decoding, is fostering us to a logical, analytical ‘reading' Habit - reading information with overload comprehension extremely. We need determinacy, reliable information, or effective analysis to possibilities of happenings. Any uncertainty and unpreodicty leads to the collapse, anxiety. Is it possible to stay with indeterminacy, to construct a situation where the the analysis is disable, an experience that is sensory and fluid, and return in the lost.
Research structure for gaming method
'Gaming as method of sound performance'
‘Gaming as method of sound performance’ is an experimental approach to playing chance sound via purposeless embodied movement in the game. Unpredictable action of player break through analytical information systems and logical frameworks. The movement at present produces the sound at present. A dynamic relationship between action and generation is formed between sensori - motorschema.
The scenario of game is set in blizzard, with white snow covering everything, connected to milky sky. Poor weather and unknown wilderness environment always make people feel dangerous and try to escape. This is implication from empiricism. The diegetic environment is a precondition of player‘s action. How do you find your way out? In a blizzard with low visibility, the amount of visual information is minimal. The only thing that remains is the continuous whistling in your ears. What can you hear in the noise? Can you be sure of what you hear? Attention is diverted between different bands. Keep walking, in indeterminacy and aimlessness.
"Sound Terrain"in game engine
Time is repeat in the game, time settings keep the game in the loop outside of reality time - a time with no concept of time. You can't know time by the light and environment while skybox envelops everything with a still image, or a constantly cycling weather system.
Body and Image skin
Body, unaware of its fatigue, follows the instructions of controller. It’s like a skin left in coordinate system, continuing the dream of realistic body. Walking on diffuse horizon, penetrated by noise. If the body in the game is embodied skin, distorting the cognitive-action curve under jumping, combined instructions. The world it belong to is a visual second skin, as all the game elements of body, terrain, particles, which is smooth and subtle, close to reality without disguising the purpose of the simulation.
Space is flooded with pseudo-randomness of computer simulation. Staring at the terrain, repetitive mapping makes space unmemorable and infinitely expandable. Features of nature will appear more than once. Because all disorder is controlled by the random function behind the program. If you wait long enough, a speck of dust will pass before your eyes along the same path.
Lost in the snow scene, lost in the perfect image. Snowstorm made viewing difficult, but still tried to see. And even harder to see all things behind it, as a digital image of the landscape. When the perfect image is punctured by grotesque pierced moulds and broken mesh, vision we rely on is no longer trusted, visual here is gradually collapsed, discharged. Like snow with fantastic sharp is essentially fluffy and variable structure, which can be compressed with force, and be transformed into other states of matter.
Can you hear that? The sound at present.
The player's position, direction, altitude and action in the game are triggering chance sound tracks. The behind mechanism is triggers buried in the random noise terrain. The uncertainty of player operation conspires with function-based pseudo-randomness to complete the sound occasion. Based on game mechanics, the authority of sound production back to the audience. Gamepad in player's hand becomes the sound mixer, completing the spectator's own sound in a participatory manner.
In the process, sound tracks are mixed at different points in timeline triggered by unpredictable action, which conditions is the action and movement. Space and time are reorganized in simulator where the traditional time and space is deconstructed. Disorientation in the occasion and random become the path of penetrating the smooth surface and returning to the reshaped Baudrillard’s reality. Follow and be aware of what you hear at present, then create what you hear.
Stay with Lost, you will find a way.