Ben Houge, Study for Insomnia

Study for Insomnia from Ben Houge on Vimeo.

Study for Insomnia is a real-time, generative audiovisual installation, with one to four channels of video and four channels of audio, created in Jitter in October 2009 in Shanghai. The original pixel resolution was 800 x 600, but it can be adapted for various contexts. The four channels of sound are diffused from four speakers arranged in a square (as in the four corners of a square room). The video is projected on one to four large panels arranged between the speakers. Dimensions are variable, but the projections should be as large as possible, to create a sense of immersion.

This piece was first exhibited on November 26, 2009 at The Nut, Shanghai, and then in a revised version as part of the “Expanding Horizons: Manufacturing New Landscapes” show at Art+Shanghai Gallery, July 1-September 25, 2010. It's an ambient, elegiac study in non-linear structure, meant to evoke the processes of nature: tides, wind, clouds. For more information, check out this blog post.

The piece should ideally be presented in a dark room of its own. The sound is sometimes quite quiet and the video can get quite dark, so care should be taken that other nearby sounds and lights do not interfere. The work creates a continuously evolving environment in which people can linger for as long as they want, so ideally there should be seats or cushions. I've also performed the piece in a live setting, and a rendered excerpt may be screened as a short video.

To see some stills from the video, check out this Flickr set. I've created two limited edition, sculptural lightboxes (60cm x 45cm x 16cm) that combine several stills from the video, with the help of Jutta Friedrichs, available for purchase from Art+Shanghai Gallery. Editions of the audiovisual installation are also available.