Electropia I (2015) – site-specific generative sound and light installation for Aalto University, Espoo FI

Finished installation view. Photo: Heta Kaisto

Electropia I is a site-specific, generative sound and light installation that transforms a bridged corridor at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering in Espoo, Finland, into a subtle, immersive and indeterminate audio-visual experience. The invitation for the piece has been to “recharge” the existing architecture with new aesthetic qualities that would make the austere space of the corridor more inviting for the next few years before its complete renovation.

The installation consists of eight audio transducers installed inside the walls between the windows, and of eight strobe lights replacing the original fluorescent tubes. The sound reproduced into the space is a slowly evolving electroacoustic/electronic ambient composition, and the sonic components of the piece are self-organizing infinitely, never repeating the same combination of elements exactly while the overall characteristic of the piece remains consistent. The light consists of several small strobe lights reacting sporadically to the soundscape, their altered light reflected discreetly around the architecture of the corridor. We have preserved the original, minimal aesthetic and construction of the corridor, changing only the condition of the sound and light by using the wall panels as invisible speakers and the original light boxes as strobes.

The title comes from the words ‘electromagnetic’, ‘tropical’ and ‘utopia’. The soundscape and the musical composition are derived from treated recordings of electromagnetic waves and of a neotropical rainforest, while ‘utopia’ refers to a possible place, condition or ideal. The inspiration for the musical and sonic content has been the culture of the building: the research and studies being conducted there, and the future worlds they might imply.

Concept and design: Ilpo Jauhiainen, Matias Tuohino, Niklas Sallinen and Roupen Bastadjian, 2015

Music, sound design and generative systems: Ilpo Jauhiainen

Video: Roupen Bastadjian

Finished installation view. Photo: Heta Kaisto

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