'Between Us' is an Augmented Reality, immersive artwork created using innovative technologies and practices. Participants inhabit a sonic/visual ionosphere where sound and narrative are used to stimulate the skin. The voice/soundscape is designed to evoke presence through proximity. Circling and aspects of autonomous sensory meridian response were used in production. Design work focused on ‘thickening’ space between artwork and participant, specifically stimulating the pilomotor reflex. It is the practice-based outcome of Grant’s South West Creative Network Academic Fellowship and on-going research into sound's ability to stimulate and simulate touch in immersive environments. Methodologies included; iterative design practice, innovative synthesis of technologies/programming and collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of artists, designers and programmers.
The iterative design process shared progressively developed outputs with peers/fellows/academics. This included theoretical research where Grant employed the concept of Goodman’s ‘unsound’ (infrasound/ultrasound) where sound can be experienced as touch through the body via cross-modal neural pathways. Conceptual aspects align the phenomena of the ionosphere with desire, the participant being within its cyclical nature. ‘Thickening’ the experience of the work via the AR headset ‘talking’ to other technologies allowing for a more fully immersed experience.
‘Between Us’ was recognised through an invitation to be part of Magic Leap’s Developer Programme. It is part of a body of research exploring desire, touch and sound. This includes a former practice-based outputs ‘This Excited Surface’, a participatory sonic installation using sound and touch; a conference paper in 2018 titled ‘The Skin of the World’, and a journal article titled ‘Between Us: Desire, touch and seduction as immaterial agents in augmented sonic artworks’. It contributes new knowledge to the broader field of Immersive Art, building on the work of artists such as Ryoji Ikeda and his data swarms, artworks that physically impact upon the body through vibration.