‘SIMULATED ENVIRONMENTS’ - AN ULTIMATE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

In his interactive art installation Simulated Environments, Marcos Micozzi explores the relationship between gesture and sound through Virtual Reality. Therefore, he relies heavily on the intuitive production workflow of dearVR SPATIAL CONNECT to generate a self-contained work of art from the designing process itself. 

​The project focuses on a few key questions: What role does visuality play in the experience of music? Could Virtual Reality reestablish the relationship between gesture and sound that had been cut by laptop performances, as it removes the computer?

With Simulated Environments, Marcos combines his unique sound design with Virtual Reality to create a full immersion of sound that is an aesthetic merger of the analog with the digital domain, antiquated with the recumbent. Creating a journey between the seen and unseen, a human improvisation with machines in performance. For this article, he spoke to us about his ideas and the challenges of implementing them within the tension between the analog world and the advanced digital environment of interactive audio.

STARTING THE PROJECT - THE INITIAL IDEA

The project started early on in my studies when I turned a Neve* Custom 75 into a synthesizer I could perform with. Originally, the idea was to create an Ableton* pack for this synth. Then, I had to think of a Core Project for the next module in my degree program and decided to take this same concept a little bit further. I did not know exactly how it was going to evolve, but I knew I wanted it to be an extension of it, always with a strong focus on the role of technology in music. 

The idea of the project evolved to explore the relationship between gesture and sound that was once lost with computer performances. For the first time in history, it seems that technology is able to bridge this gap using Virtual Reality, more specifically, Dear Reality's SPATIAL CONNECT

In the project, two almost opposite technologies are brought together, the physical analog Neve console which I perform with, and the ethereal almost incomprehensible world of Virtual Reality. I love the idea of combining these technologies that represent opposite worlds and propose a scenario where they work together and enrich each other. I believe neither Neve nor Dear Reality crafted their work with this specific scenario in mind, and that is what drove the project forward the most, asking the question “what if…? What if I could turn the Neve Console into a synth and move sounds with my hands?” 

SPATIAL AUDIO - CREATING NEW REALITIES OF SOUND

Music has always been about technology for me, I am really inspired by Brian Eno’s concept of using the recording studio as an instrument. I asked myself, what would young Brian Eno do if he was my age right now in this world, what would he be able to see that no one else could see? So I meditated about this concept for a while and remembered that at the start of my studies I enrolled in a Games Masterclass - still to this day I have no idea why. But now it suddenly made sense, as in that Masterclass given by Nick Harrison, he showed us how to create a virtual island. He explained how we could use Dear Reality's software dearVR UNITY to manipulate sound in space, and allow our character to move around the island, listening to different sounds depending on where he was.

Back then, this masterclass blew my mind. I had so many ideas afterward, but I didn’t have the knowledge to make them happen. This project, Simulated Environments, is just one of those ideas being taken to its limits.

I believe the audio industry is the one that has struggled the most to integrate VR technology into its workflow. Therefore, it is really important for me to overcome this gap and try and integrate this technology into my workflow and explore its potential not only in post-production but in live environments too. 

THE IMPLEMENTATION WITH DEARVR PRO, UNITY & SPATIAL CONNECT

When looking into what software was actually available to use surround sound with, I found plugins that could have worked but didn't convince me in the ways they operated. Using the mouse to move sound in a 3D space is not very accurate. When I found out about dearVR SPATIAL CONNECT I was relieved that there was software that allowed me to move sound with my own hands, allowing me a level of expression I couldn’t find in any other plugin. 

I believe it is a really important moment for music and technology to have software that allows us to bring back that relationship between gesture and sound, this is just the start of this journey and it has already created a huge impact on my work, I really believe there is no limit to where we can go from here. 

THE FUTURE OF AUDIO

Experimenting with Spatial Audio has shown me the possibilities of implementing it in any aspect of my work, apart from creating art installations I am a recording and mixing engineer, and a film composer. Spatial Audio has a lot to offer to any of those areas of work, and I believe Spatial Connect is the tool that will connect the ideas in my head with the finished product.

Marcos Micozzi
Marcos Micozzi is an Argentinian Byron Bay based Virtual Reality audio engineer. Best known for turning a Neve Custom 75 recording console into a synthesiser and using VR to move sounds in space, Marcos has been blurring the lines between time and space using sound as his medium. Marcos has also been working as a music producer, mixing and recording engineer and film composer. Composing soundtracks for movies like The Chieftain Of The Pudding Race (Venice Short film Awards official selection & Austin Comedy Film Festival, Official selection summer 2022) and It's better Outside by Leo Becker (Screened at Out & Loud PIQFF) and collaborating in the production realm with industry leaders including Oscar Dawson, Bobby Allu, Boats, Lee Fisher, Billy Otto and Geoff Wright, amongst others.
Neve is a registered trademark of AMS Neve Limited, registered in Australia and other countries and regions. Ableton is a registered trademark of Ableton AG., registered in Germany and other countries and regions.

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