PARAVENT
Steve Heimbecker
2006

PARAVENT (2006) is a window screen of the wind. PARAVENT is a flat wooden installation structure consisting of 16 square video screen panels of which half of these panels are imbedded with audio drivers to create an 8 channel sound diffusion system within the projection screen itself.
The image and sound generated for PARAVENT is conceptually based upon the idea of the movement and accumulation of detritus in the wind, upon a surface. Analogous to the creation of snowbanks and sandunes, PARAVENT is a representation of wave patterns of the wind, and of what Heimbecker calls "wind space architecture".
PARAVENT plays the data created and recorded by the Wind Array Cascade Machine (2003). WACM is a 64 channel wind data sensor system created by Heimbecker, which captures the movement and wave patterns of the wind, as observed within a field of tall grass or grain on a windy day. WACM data recordings have been made in situ, from rooftops in Montréal (2004/05) and Québec City (2003). PARAVENT is the third project created by Heimbecker using the data generated by the WACM, following POD (2003) and SIGNE (currently in production).
The data of the Wind Array Cascade Machine is organized in the form of a grid, 8 units by 8 units, resulting in 64 separate “square” coordinates of 8 bit -10 samples per second serial data. This data is used by the PARAVENT system to create real time video and audio generation. For the video image, the data of each WACM sensor in the grid is visually morphed at the edges of the sensor square beside it to create unity and flow within the image. The audio generation and diffusion is sub grouped into 16 groups of 4 WACM data streams, corresponding to the 16 panels of the installation structure. Half of these 16 subgroup panels are selected to produce sound through the vibration of the video panel itself, sonified by hidden, surface mounted, audio drivers on the rear of the panels. The result is a unified image and sound structure, where the same data used to generate the visualization is also the data used for the sonification. In PARAVENT the video image has a "voice", presented at the same time and point of intersection as the visual, and as such, produces a new media representation of "coloured hearing", an experiential manifestation of synaesthesia, while also vividly displaying the movement and wave patterns of the wind.

The lead software programmer for PARAVENT is Mark Washeim of Berlin, Germany. The electronic and software systems for the WACM (2003) wind data recordings were designed in collaboration with Avatar, Québec, QC, Canada.

Steve Heimbecker’s work in recent years has been supported by arts grants from the Canada Council for the Arts / Canadian Heritage (IPOLC), the Conseil des arts et des lettres Québec, the Daniel Langlois Foundation, and Foreign Affairs Canada - International Cultural Relations.

Steve Heimbecker (Canada). Spanning 2 decades, Canadian Steve Heimbecker (Montréal) has presented his fine art, audio art, installations, and multi channel sound performances, at such events as Media Blitz II, Calgary / Feedback and Forth, Zurich / Tuning of the World, Calgary - Banff / Sound Symposium 7, St. John’s / Intermedia Arts Festival, Edmonton / Send + Receive, Winnipeg / Silophone, Montréal / Mois Multi, Québec City / Subtle Technologies, Toronto, and such Canadian galleries as C.C.M.C. Music Gallery / Glenbow Museum / Illingworth Kerr Gallery / Emmedia / Avatar / Vidéographe / Western Front / InterAccess / and OBORO. In recent years in Europe, he exhibited at Kiasma Museum of Contempory Art, Helsinki, (ISEA 2004), and ORF Kunstradio, Vienna, for Die Lange Nacht der Radiokunst 04, and Songs of Place: Vienna. At Prix Ars Electronica 2005, Linz, Heimbecker’s installation POD (Wind Array Cascade Machine), won an Honorary Mention in Interactive Media. Heimbecker has published articles, audio cassettes, audio CDs, and DVDs, including a new bookwork and DVD 5.1 boxset entitled “Songs of Place” (2005).

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