I.S. Complex (2015)

I.S. Complex (2015) is an immersive and interactive re-imagining of the industrial school at Carriglea Park, Dublin which operated from 1896 to 1954. The aim of the project was to renegotiate and intervene in the discourse of collective memory about the care of children in Irish institutions, and to open up a new space to reflect upon Ireland’s problematic institutional past. This work combined an interactive musical composition with immersive virtual reality technologies – informed by humanities research on new subjectivities, institutional memory, dramaturgy, and scenography.

I.S. Complex (2015) uses a just intonation tuning system to render an immersive and interactive soundscape within a 3D virtual space facilitated by Oculus Rift technology. The composition exploits the sound directionality and spatial depth within the Unity program, establishing multiple points of sound throughout the virtual space, with each point containing a part of the music. This work recontextualises aleatoric methods and the serial technique of composition using electric guitars and electronics. The harmonic and melodic content of the work originates from a twelve-tone scale devised by Ptolemy and this musical material is adapted to a tuning system for multiple instruments. The screenshot of the 3D model of I.S. Complex below shows the position and range of the individual parts of the musical composition. This gives an overview of the industrial school quadrangle within which I arranged the parts of the composition as discrete points of sound. These sound objects represented by the blue orbs, interact with one another and produce an aleatoric music according to the participant’s movements and position within the complex.

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Screenshot of I.S. Complex showing the 3D model and sound objects (blue orbs) within the virtual space

The first version of the work was premiered at the Institute of Art, Design, and Technology (IADT), Dublin on 11 June 2015 (the programme for this event is included below). This collaborative project featured a team including author and lecturer Emilie Pine (UCD), scholars Jenny McDonnell, Maria Parsons, and Kevin Wallace (IADT), artist John Buckley (IADT), and myself. The 3D model is presently being refined and updated (September 2017) with a view to mounting the installation online.

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Program for the I.S. Complex installation at the Institute of Art, Design, and Technology (IADT), Dublin in 2015.

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