Night Swim

Check out my ︎Project Blog page on this website for some behind the scenes content on the making of Night Swim.

Night Swim is a sight-specific installation work by Mia Thom in collaboration with Lucy Strauss and Clare Patrick. The installation was premiered at the Art of Brutal Curation gallery (Cape Town, August - September 2021) and was selected for installation at the Everard Read gallery group show (Cape Town, December 2021). 

Plunging participants into a monochromatic, blue environment, this experimental installation comprises of three large scale sculptures which function as speakers to lie on. Composed and coded by Lucy Strauss, these forms emit a soundscape of strings, room tone and voice, transformed by geophyscial data from the South Atlantic ocean.

The sonic materials of the soundscape comprise audio captured from broken violin, viola, cello and contrabass strings; composed fragments for voice and viola based on the acoustic modes of the installation space; and viola improvisations. The collected acoustic materials are placed in an environment constructed from geophysical data from the South Atlantic ocean. Machine learning algorithms in Wekinator trigger the collected audio materials and perform transformations in the time and frequency domain, in accordance with ocean’s fluctuations and developments in time.

Night Swim also utilizes Latent Timbre Synthesis (LTS), a new audio synthesis method using Deep Learning. We used LTS to interpolate between the timbres of the raw sonic materials, and set the interpolation curve according to fluctuations in the ocean data. This curve determines how much each sound has an effect on the resulting synthesized sound. A person experiencing Night Swim will hear the raw sonic materials, as well as synthesized audio that lies somewhere between these materials. For example, one could hear a sound that exists somewhere between two different human voices; a human voice and a viola; or a viola and a broken bass string.