Syrnix: A Sonic Garden is an installation utilizing a network of computers in a real-time cluster-based rendering system. Rear projection screens surround the viewer, each displaying a 3D stereo image of the virtual environment. The participant wears a head-tracking device that calculates the orientation and position of the viewer’s perspective point for a realistic immersive experience. Using a flute, or making any sound, the system senses volume and pitch to control the growth of a variety of plant-like forms in an ever-changing environment.

Syrnix: A Sonic Garden allows the user to act as a “composer of nature.” A computer analyzes the sounds produced by the user and generates a 3D virtual garden of surreal plants in response. Just as in nature, each plant will grow in its own way and no two plants will be exactly alike. The piece mirrors human traits in the way that we try to control nature and make it fit our desires, but when we are neglectful of its needs it deteriorates. The fact that even a slight change in the sound can have a drastic and unpredictable effect on the environment is also similar to the real world, in which we frequently fail to realize how our smallest actions affect nature in significant ways. The piece gives the user a unique opportunity to participate in the decay and regeneration cycles of the virtual environment.

Watch a video of Syrinx in action. (11mb)