‘Journey to the Metaverse’ a 3D visual music experience by Generative Artist Gord Harris
February 1 - March 17, 2024
A fusion of interactive art, music and technology!
3D visual music experience in the gallery: February 1 – March 17, 2024
Admission is free!
Journey to the Metaverse: A 3D visual music experience by Generative Artist Gord Harris
‘Journey to the Metaverse’ is a 3D visual music experience. The aim of this project is to introduce new audiences to the metaverse of synesthesia by generating 3D computer art from music. Synesthesia means one sensation triggering another automatically, such as a sound making you think of colour, or certain words making you think of a taste.
Gord Harris’s ambition with this practice is not just to present visuals or song, but to bridge the gap between perception and technology, aesthetics and lived reality. The word “metaverse’ comes from science fiction, referring to the predicted next evolution of the internet: a shared single, immersive, 3D virtual space where humans experience life in ways they could not in the physical world. Access to synesthetic experiences is usually limited by biology; access to the metaverse, however, has traditionally been limited by economics. This experience will enable the user to engage in a shared VR experience of synesthesia—visual music—in the metaverse using 3D stereovision glasses.
The result isn’t just a simple art show but a transformative journey, akin to stepping into a collective alternate reality. ‘Journey to the Metaverse’ will delight audiences of all ages with the synesthetic magic of 3D Visual Music.
This crowd-pleasing effect will be more pronounced in immersive 3D stereo, thanks to this exhibition’s groundbreaking fusion of interactive art, music, and technology. It celebrates the elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) in a way that is engaging and leading edge.
Behind-the-Scenes: Preparing for the exhibition!
For several months, Gord Harris has been merging music with art, and logging hundreds of hours on his computers to generate content and 3D elements for this show. Part of planning is also understanding the user experience and ensuring the projectors and images will fit and make sense within the gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts. Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots and concept drawings to give you an idea of the extensive planning involved in putting on a presentation of this magnitude.
Gord built a powerful PC computer to code programs in Derivative Touch Designer, a versatile visual programming language analogous to a modular synthesizer. He programmed 125 visual music pieces and previewed these creations using a VR headset.
His breakthrough was figuring out how to showcase 3D visual music to multiple viewers simultaneously through stereo video projection, clever software, and coding innovations. He can now project his visual music pieces to a whole audience of people wearing comfortable 3D glasses connected via Bluetooth. The resulting group experience of the metaverse is collaborative, social, and engaging.
To view some of Gord’s work, visit his YouTube channel.
What is STEAM and why is it important?
STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art and math) is an approach that includes the incorporation of ART! Since art is about discovering and creating ingenious ways of problem-solving, integrating principles and presenting ideas in creative ways – adding the element of art into science, technology, engineering and math-based thinking expands our brains and the way we can think and process what we can build, create, imagine and learn! It challenges BOTH sides of our brains – the analytical and the creative – to develop the best thinkers of tomorrow!
The STEAM approach reminds us what Leonardo da Vinci felt: they are interwoven and equally important elements.
About Generative Artist Gord Harris
Gord is a Creative Technologist, Display Engineer, Interactive Producer, Visual Music Specialist, Photographer and overall Tech and Music Junkie. The first part of his career took place at IMAX (24 years!) and Christie Digital (13 years), and now in “retirement” he continues his education in the digital arts.
From the age of adolescence, Gord was captivated by the idea of turning the intangible beauty of music into something vivid and palpable. Certain people are capable of perceiving sounds as colours or forms through a cognitive phenomenon called “synesthesia,” in which one sensory pathway triggers other sensory reactions. Gord had long envied the ability of synesthetes to “visualize” music, as if transforming the essence of a song into a canvas of imagination. He dreamed of “simulating synesthesia” for those of us who don’t have it.
After years of experimentation, learning and innovation, both through his professional work as a display engineer and his artistic work in programming electronic music and generative computer art, he has now honed his skills to the point that we can all be synesthetes: through listening and watching real-time visual music translated into a shared 3D metaverse.
Funding Support for the Project
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Get an even DEEPER IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE! For one night only, there will be a concert with LIVE MUSIC performed to the large scale visual projections on the gallery wall! Join composer Jeff Collinson and artist Gord Harris in the gallery for a night of immersive technology, live music and some behind-the-scenes “making-of” stories that are sure to impress! Saturday February 24th at 7PM – Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.