Sense Assignment

Sight

We know that birds of prey like eagles and hawks have great vision. What sorts of art possibilities would be opened up if we had vision like an eagle?

In order to think about what sort of art that I could make that a person with eagle-vision would appreciate, I wanted to visualize it in real terms. I read from Wikipedia that an eagle reportedly could see a rabbit from 3km away. I went to Google Earth to make a pinpoint on the familiar Mount Doug, and then I created a circle around that point with a radius of 3.0km.

Imagine being able to see a small object like a rabbit in that space!  I wanted to imagine what it would be like while standing from the top of Mount Doug.

I decided to draw a red line in the program that approximated the length of the rabbit. When you zoom out of the view it gets really difficult to see, even from a kilometre away. It was very impressive to think that the red line would be able to be seen in detail from 3 kilometres away.

So, having this in mind, I wanted to create some sort of distributed artwork that would be visible if you were standing on the peak of Mount Douglas. The components would be spread out across the 3km radius.

Below is the final tour that I made in Google Earth. Consider my thoughts above while viewing this.

Note: I will update this post with an improved clip. I have had a difficult time rendering the 3 min clip without Google Earth crashing on my machine, so I did a quick screen capture, which resulted in some jerky movements in the clip.

Smell

Humans have stereoscopic hearing. The brain compares the different input from each ear, and from that, is able to determine the direction from where the sound came. Humans also have stereoscopic vision (which allows humans to determine depth).

Moles, unlike humans, have stereoscopic noses. What is smelled in each nostril is compared with the other in the brain, causing the mole to know where the direction of the smell comes from.

If I had the senses of a mole, I would appreciate a piece of art that appealed to my sense of smell. This “smellscape” would have different a few scents laid out in paths in an empty, unlit room. The ordering of the scents would be indistinguishable to the human, but the one with the sense of the mole would be able to appreciate this.

Since we do not have stereoscopic smell, I would represent this smell using coloured scent trails in Augmented Reality (AR). I would want to create an app that, if you were to look on your screen of your phone, you would see a series of different scent sculptures or scent paths in each sculpture room in the Visual Arts studio. This would aid in making the “smellscape” concept tangible for humans.

I did some research and decided to implement this using Apple’s ARKit.

In short, I attempted to implement this, but got stuck (since I have never worked in this before), and was not successful in finishing this by the end of this class. However, I will  describe (as simply as possible) what the process that I envisioned to make this project work:

ARKit is a software developer package made by Apple. They have a lot of built in functionality that greatly assists me as a developer. They use the camera in the iPhone, and through what is captured in the camera, they are able to detect surface planes.

Once a plane is detected, you’re able to place a 3D model into that space.

Kinda like this cup.

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 1.15.17 AM.png

In this picture, ARKit recognized the laptop surface as a plane, and placed the objects on top of it.

So, all I wanted to do in this process was configure a test app so that it would load a pre-made 3D model of particles to display into each sculpture room in the Visual Arts building. I was going to use the particle streams that are displayed in this video to represent scent:

The steps I was following to do the entire process:

  1. Download the 3D models from Unity Asset Store
  2. Follow a tutorial for setting up the project in Unity (a program used to develop video games and 3D visualizations)
  3. Follow a tutorial for setting up this Unity project in another code editor that makes it so the test project can run on my iPhone
  4. Insert the 3D models of the particles into the project
  5. Configure project so the 3D models appear specifically in the GPS coordinates that I specify (i.e: that the coloured “scents” appear in the mini sculpture room)

So, basically, instead of having a cup and flowers be added to the camera, I wanted to use those particles, and instead of placing them on a laptop keyboard I wanted to place them in the room. However, I got stuck on step three. I spent many hours trying to get the sample project to work in the code editor, but it did not work out this time. The project itself is still exciting to me because it is still very possible to complete, I just underestimated how long it would take to set up and troubleshoot.

Touch

Still on the topic of the mole: Moles can’t really see or hear that much, so besides smelling, they rely heavily on their sense of touch to experience their world.

The star-nosed mole is a little different than other moles, because it has this special little organ on the front of its snout.

It’s less than half of an inch in diameter, and it has 22 rays that come out on all sides from the nostrils. It is incredibly sensitive: Imagine having six times the amount of sensitivity on your hand, and then having all that sensitivity concentrated on your fingertip.  This organ moves very quickly – it is able to touch about 12 objects in a second. This organ is effectively called the “tactile eye”.

What if we used our hands for our sense of sight?

Hearing

Humans’ hearing range is from about 64hZ to 23,000 hZ.

Our friend the tuna does not have as developed hearing as humans. Evidently, the tuna’s hearing range is from about 50Hz – 1100Hz.

Imagine how our appreciation of music would be impacted if we only had this range?

I’ve taken two songs and reduced the ranges to match the tuna’s range.

Super Mario Bros. Theme song:

Original:

Reduced:

Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen):

Original: 

Reduced: 

To be frank, I thought that there would be a starker difference between the original and the reduced clips. Certainly, the originals sound much richer, but the change is somewhat subtle. There is a chance that the procedure that I did was inaccurate, but I tried my best to delete the appropriate frequencies from the audio files.

Taste (Collaboration with Greg)

Where does the octopus get its sense of taste? Their suckers. Their suckers are also constantly touching the ocean floor that they roam around. What would it be like if we always were passively tasting that which we touched, whether it be with our feet or our hands?

We made tongues for hands and feet to explore this topic.