City began as a project in 2009. I had come up with an idea for interactive cinema on a grand scale. Cinema as we know it seemed so twentieth century and I thought it would be fun to ramp it up a little. The idea was to immerse the spectator in a deliberately intriguing, interactive, projected world of a city at night. Through the good work of Patrick Dickey I managed to show a test at Norfolk and Norwich Festival in 2013.
I made a sixteen minute film that was three times as wide as a cinema screen, made up of a composite of scenes, all shot at night that I had filmed in multiple locations. I joined these shots together to make my own imaginary city. We had a 16 meter long screen, three meters high, strung up in the old Anglia TV studios, (where they used to make Sale Of The Century). The screen was projected onto by three powerful HD projectors synced to a media server, making a vast image three cinema screens long. I wanted to utilize two interactive ingredients into this. Firstly I had heard about Woody Norris‘s invention of what he called Hypersonic Speakers, directional sound. Step into the beam and you hear it, step out and it’s gone. These I would use for dialogue. Depending on where you stood in front of the screen would determine what dialogue you heard coming from various scenes in the projected city.
The other components were small cheap microwave echo sounders attached to the front of the screen that would give us a value for the proximity of people in the room. If they came close to the screen the image would blur around them locally. These were just first steps and in the event we were unable to hire enough hypersonic speakers to make the idea work, finding only three for hire in the country. We also discovered that the microwave echo sounders interrupted the microwave speakers so all in all a pretty good workshop. The image was spectacular though and it is a shame that not more people saw it. I would still like to realize this project to its full potential so please get in touch if you are interested. It could be made into something quite amazing.