Komorebi // installation/performance in collaboration with Matteo Marangoni, 2020-ongoing

Komorebi is a swarm of artificial creatures that make music in response to the sun, the clouds and the shadows of trees moving in the wind. Komorebi is a Japanese word meaning “sunlight shining through trees”. We are invited to experience the shadow play produced by the tree canopy on the forest floor as music. The work suggests that “life” is not an exceptional property of organic life forms, but also a property of complex systems reaching beyond biological life as we understand it.

The project responds to the question: how can we create spatial electronic music which blends with the natural environment and which helps us to become attuned with the changes that are constantly occurring in nature?

Emergent systems have been widely explored within digital artworks that are created in virtual environments and which are experienced through screen and/or speaker interfaces. Komorebi is a swarm that uses computation to exist fluidly within complex spatial settings. Each physical agent runs the program independently on a different processor. Information between agents is shared exclusively through physical signals which are filtered by the intervening space between them. From the perspective of audience experience, by embodying the system in a physical swarm, the artwork has a presence within the same space occupied by the human body, achieving a degree of perceptual “spatial definition” that is unprecedented in other electronic media, where space is purely simulated.

Komorebi can be presented in parks, gardens and forests. The swarm of 100 electronic creatures is spread out over a large area. Each creature responds to what it senses in its immediate surroundings: changes in lighting conditions, sounds of other creatures, environmental sounds. The swarm navigates within a set of sonic and musical parameters, generating spatial music that is constantly changing in step with the weather. Visitors can walk and explore how the music changes in space, or sit and listen to how it evolves over time.

More information and media here.

Credits //

Komorebi is a project by Matteo Marangoni and Dieter Vandoren.

Komorebi is developed with the assistance of Daan Johan (PCB design), Riccardo Marogna (DSP programming), Caspar Krijgsman (OTA programming), Mihalis Shammas and Nicolò Merendino (body design), Rafaele Andrade (3D printing prototypes), Luuk Meints and Ionela Pop (horn casting), Willem Werkplaats (CNC milling), Francesco Di Maggio, Tingyi Jiang, Maria Oosterveen, Adomas Palekas and Siavash Jafari (assembly).

Komorebi is commissioned by Into the Great Wide Open and produced in partnership with Crossing Parallels and Highlight Festival (TU Delft) and with the financial support of the Creative Industries Fund NL and Stichting Stokroos.