PERFORMING SOUND & SENTIMENT
Asvajit Boyle & Jehan Aloysius
This edition of ARTRA Magazine is curated to celebrate the different interdisciplinary realms artists have ventured into, resulting in the creation of novel art forms. For audio-visual artist and designer Asvajit Boyle, and theatre director and actor Jehan Aloysius, sound and music are the premise through which they interact with other artistic disciplines. Asvajit and Jehan are aesthetically attuned in that their experiments with sound and music are inventive, depicting the excellence of interdisciplinary art in producing a sensorial and stimulating experience to the audience.
Exploring the boundaries between sound design and abstract digital art, Asvajit Boyle is a half Sri Lankan - half British audiovisual artist and designer who lives and works in Colombo. As part of the first wave of electronic musicians to emerge from post-war Sri Lanka, his passionate mixing style and playful blend of the deeper elements of house and techno have imparted a sense of curiosity towards the exploration of the craft of sound design and its relationship with other contemporary art forms.
What we found particularly interesting about Asvajit’s work is his ability to explore the possibilities of combining the sensibilities and technologies of contemporary sound design with more traditional artistic disciplines. He explores the interdisciplinary nature of sound and light where the synchronicity of the sensory experience allows the audience to engage and experience a work of art. For Asvajit, who was featured in ARTRA Magazine E31 Aug/Sep 2017, Colomboscope 2015 was the culmination of a process of exploring and experimenting with the threshold of human perception through a wide range of emotions. Colomboscope 2015 ‘Shadow Scenes’, took place in the dilapidated rooms of the abandoned Rio Hotel, and Asvajit together with technologist Lalindra Amarasekera, featured on ARTRA Magazine E42 March 2019 whose expertise lies in cutting edge projection mapping and generative visuals, transformed the space into an interactive audio/visual experience. With the use of motion tracking technology, the room would expose one person at a time to different audio/ visual stimuli depending upon their position in the room. Through a combination of sound design and the principles of psychoacoustics, Asvajit attempted to reflect his mixed emotions towards the neglected space of Rio Hotel, which represented to him on the one hand a sense of deprivation as a result of a hotelier’s broken dream and on the other his excitement to work with such a unique and significant space. This concept of conflicting emotions was a prominent feature of the work with sounds ranging from cohesive and musical sequences to uncomfortable recordings of industrial machinery and distressed animals. With all the walls of the room projection mapped with equally contrasting visuals, the piece provided an immersive and unique experience for each viewer.
The interdisciplinary element of Asvajit’s works of art varied from the connections between music, light, and movement. At (De)Generative Processes II, Colomboscope 2017, he worked with Lalindra again where they used a complex array of interconnected hardware and software, to transform the vast domed roof of the Sri Lanka Planetarium into a digital canvas for an immersive live performance of light, sound and movement. A combination of synthesized sound, heavily processed field recordings and a variety of other sound sources triggered and sequenced live, alongside visuals generated and rendered in real time. The audiovisuals were mathematically generated using algorithms that emulate the physical properties of space and time and, when fed with live audio data, deliver a synchronized sensory experience, exploring the interdisciplinary convergence of both mediums as well as highlighting the links between them.
Exploring the interdisciplinary element of sound and visual art, ‘Resonance Study IV’ (2018) commissioned by the Lahore Biennale Foundation, Asvajit experimented through his creative expression to simulate sensations that are physiologically impossible to experience by human beings. “All sounds, including those that lie outside the audible frequency range of human hearing, can be represented in the form of an image” explains Asvajit. The interdisciplinary coordination of audiovisual compositions allows the audience to experience sound in different contexts and interpretations. These audiovisual compositions, generated from mathematical algorithms also force the audience to change their perceptions, accentuating significant thoughts and beliefs.
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ARTRA is Sri Lanka’s Art Magazine exploring curated content on Sri Lanka’s visual art, performance art, applied art and written art. Launched in 2012, ARTRA Magazine is a compact monthly art read providing a comprehensive understanding on Sri Lankan artists, art events, monthly art calendars and the Sri Lankan design landscape. In sum, all you need to know about art in Sri Lanka.