Optofonica #1


The Optofonica Project – platform for synesthetic media and sound spatialization – started in 2006 in Amsterdam. They have presented their immersive works on Sonar and Sonic Acts, presenting surround cinema and the Optofonica Capsule which must have been quite an impressive experience!

Optofonica Capsule

When exposed to (seemingly unrelated) sounds and images, the human brain tends to search for relations. That’s the main theme of the works on this DVD. In fact, the sounds and visions presented on this DVD did not seem very unrelated to my brains on first viewing – but that might of course prove the theory is right.

This Optofonica DVD presents 23 tracks, 2 1/2 hours, of strikingly intense sound and video art.
While they are very diverse in nature, the selection is carefully balanced and will appeal to anyone unafraid of experiments in sound and vision.

The sound is most impressive when heard in 5.1 Full Surround, but a stereo version is included too.
The surround sound in itself may be a good reason to hunt this DVD, because there are not many experimental electronic surround sound projects to be found. Especially when it comes to this kind of adventurous projects!

Whenever A.R.T. is around, I prepare myself for a lot of words explaining the conceptual context of the works. The beautifully embossed cover contains a 52 page booklet mainly presenting stills from the works included, yet only with a single page of introductory text.
Optofonica remains true to its own concept: it lets your mind decide about the relation

“Some works directly examine the slipping contours of kinetic phenomena. Others have invented an impossible phantom spatiality. All the pieces entail a search for hidden, transitory spaces that crosswire the perceptual spectrum.”

Obviously, this DVD is not targeted to the average listener. But to all those interested in sound/video art, this is an astonishing experience. When viewing this DVD I prepared myself for a lot of conceptual noise, but was surprised to find almost every track worth listening and viewing repeatedly.
There is a fair amount of noise involved, but it is well-balanced between the more aesthetic soundng tracks. (In fact, the same goes for the video parts).

There are some familiar names presented: Richard Chartier, Kim Cascone, Scanner, Frank Brettschneider, Mira Calix – and a lot of others which may be less familiar but with projects equally (or even more) impressive.

Since picture says more than words I guess it’s best to direct you to the project’s official trailer for a good impression. (You have to imagine the surround sound yourself, of course)

Please note that this impressive DVD project is limited to 1000 copies.
Be sure to check it out, and if you get the chance to stick your head into the Optofonica Capsule, don’t hesitate to do so!

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