Murmuring Fields

© Fleischmann & Strauss

(collective) Monika Fleischmann | Wolfgang Strauss

Murmuring Fields ,
Co-workers & Funding
Concept and Management: Wolfgang Strauss, Monika Fleischmann
Technical team: Thomas Kulessa, Bernd Kolbeck, Udo Zlender
Design team: Mette R. Thomson, Lina Lubig
Installation team: Roland Ernst, Christoph Liesendahl, Rainer Liesendahl, Werner Magar
Funded by eRENA - electronic arenas for art, culture, entertainment EU-IST Project.
  • Murmuring Fields Sketch, Entering the Screen 1999
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  • Murmuring Fields Transmediale 99 Cut
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  • Murmuring Fields Sceme 1998
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  • Murmuring Fields-Actor-Model-Overlay-Transmediale 99
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  • Murmuring Fields Tuning Transmediale 99
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  • Murmuring Fields Rubber Body Transmediale 99
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  • Murmuring Fields Transmediale 99
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  • Murmuring Fields Transmediale 99
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  • Murmuring Fields Spatial Setup 1997
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  • Murmuring Fields Sketch 1997
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As part of the EU funded eRENA Project (Electronic Arenas for Art, Culture Entertainment), Fleischmann und Strauss and the MARS lab created Murmuring Fields (1997-99), a sequel to Home of the Brain, but as voices on an a Mixed R eality (MR) stage. The walk-in soundstage using camera tracking for performers to generate sound through movement.

Murmuring Fields is an instrument played with the body. The camera of the body-tracking system follows every slightest movement of the performers, triggering sound sequences. The eMuse electronic Multi-User Stage Environment (Strauss 1999: 93) calculates the positional data for the representation of the participants as gestural bodies in virtual space. The performers’ bodies drive the data environment by moving and stretching the images, texts, voices and sound on stage.

Playing with a word and its syllables or sounds, like Politik-tik-tik, is created by moving back and forth. The montage of individual sound files results from the nature of movement. Polyphony is created when several performers, in relation to each other in their movement or independently, claim and explore a part of the space. For example, one performer looks at an emerging virtual handwriting by Virilio. The other listens to sounds and tries to "tune" them through movement to produce the danceable sound image. This embodied interaction with sound and space requires a different mode of physical engagement and aesthetic experience.

The sound researcher Holger Schulz describes the situation on stage: ‘Other body movements we make here. We contort and bend over, meandering along the acoustic expressions. We listen and mix the sentences and half-sentences, words and syllables through our movements’. (Schulze 2005)
The participants' area- an empty room and a digital stage on the Internet are connected via optical tracking. Real and virtual space are superimposed, the movement of the visitors is recorded by a sensor camera. The actors move in a room that is filled with data. Words, syllables and sounds are mixed by body movement. Here it is not the music that determines the dance , but movement that creates the sound. In a dynamic cycle of movement and reflexion, body communication appears in real time.

The imperceptible camera interface ultimately turns the room into an interface that envelops the visitor. Nobody needs an explanation on the Mixed Reality stage. Everyone will find out for themselves what to do. Everything seems normal as always, except that we are moving in a room full of data at the same time. This references the Heisenberg uncertainty relation and demonstrates a quantum physical situation, best characterized by the notion of mixed reality.
  • aesthetics
    • collaborative
    • immersive
    • installation-based
    • interactive
    • multi-user
    • narrative
    • networked
    • performative
    • real-time
    • three-dimensional
  • genres
    • installations
    • performance art
  • subjects
    • Art and Science
      • dynamical systems
    • Arts and Visual Culture
    • Body and Psychology
  • technology
    • displays
      • electronic displays
        • projection screens
    • hardware
      • cameras
    • interfaces
      • automatic identification and data capture (AIDC)
      • camera recordings
      • soundgenerating devices
        • theremins
    • software
      • SGI Onyx
      • Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML)
Technology & Material
Murmuring Fields” is an interactive communication space. Inhouse Software e-MUSE (electronic multi-user stage environment) is the underlying platform for networked
communication, interface, rendering and display organisation. Murnuring Fields iis a 3D VRML based multi-user environment. By implementing VRML as a networked multi-user application we have opened the otherwise closed system of VRML. Splitting browser and interface provides independent levels of control and implementation for rendering and displaying the virtual world,for multiple user support and for support of non-standard input
devices such as camer tracking (body-track) as well as interaction and communication concepts for shared mixed-reality environments.