Putney “K” for Game-audio (2014) by Ricardo Climent and Mark Pilkington
Putney “K” is an interactive media work featuring a virtual VCS3 synthesizer created with a graphics-physics-game engine and originally composed and designed by Professor of Interactive Music Ricardo Climent. In 2015, the piece’s concept was further explored in the form of two collaborations, which expanded its existing degree of expression and interactivity. The first incorporated Mark Pilkington’s creative input via the live performance of an original EMS VCS3 analogue synthesizer (interacting with the virtual one played by Climent), and the second was a sound installation entitled ARVR Putney by Manusamo&Bzika, which combined augmented and virtual reality. This concert version introduces a range of uncontrolled sonic fantasies (aural paidia, as in R. Caillois’s typology). The main character (called Putney) is a potentiometer and sonic scanner retired from a classic 1969 VCS3 synthesizer. To return home at Putney Bridge in London, the performer must collect components (vernier pots, VU meters, knobs, pins), electronics (PICS, capacitors, resistors) and circuit schematics and needs to solve a number of aural challenges (ludus) and earn enough compositional esteem.
The game engine’s play-through provides a dynamic graphic score for Pilkington, while opening communication channels to allow a number of performers to take part in an extended musical network. The performer of the real VCS3 takes on the role of a game player and interjects dramaturgy through the expression and manipulation of the instrument, to form a dynamic musical interplay. The synthesizer’s unique semi-modular design and wild/chaotic character portrays a disruptive link within the flow of the piece, while its tactile embodiment extends the virtual beyond the frame of the screen. The act of play and containment becomes the boundaries that provoke intertwined emotional responses informed by chance, indeterminacy and algorithmic decision-making processes. Two systems of difference between the poles of the virtual and the real provide a homomorphic experience in which the viewer becomes engaged and immersed. The point of intersection of the two sensory fields is a thrilling an inspiring experience as it coexists between congruence and incongruence. The giant vcs3-gamepad controller for Putney was commissioned to and designed by Iain McCurdy.
‘Putney Ponozky 2’: is an integrated music network linking game engines, custom-designed apps and analogue synthesis.
Exploring Real, Virtual and Augmented Worlds Through “Putney”, an Extended Reality is an article published in e-Contact! an online journal for electroacoustic practices.
Images of ‘Putney Ponozky 2’ installation at Sines and Squares 2016 conference celebrating Analogue and Modular Synthesis 18th-20th November, Manchester UK.