Limbic Media

Limbic Media

Tag: Aurora

How Interactive Placemaking Initiatives Can Boost Return On Investment (ROI)

AGORA | Path Of Light Singing Tree

Placemaking is an approach to economic development in public spaces that incorporates elements of urban design, planning, and management. The strategy combines cultural, physical, and social identities of a place with a community’s public amenities or a building’s shared areas to create spaces that inspire, educate, and contribute to overall well-being.

The idea behind successful placemaking is to create places that are “truly mixed-use space, multi-disciplinary, authentic and aesthetically beautiful,” according to an industry expert that took part in Urban Living Festival 2020’s webinar series. The approach is, in part, being driven by the millennial demographic as they become the dominant buying group and are more focused on pursuing a lifestyle full of experiences. 

Who is Placemaking For?

Aurora Tunnel At The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

A wide variety of organizations are able to make use of placemaking as a development strategy. Cities, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have the ability to incorporate placemaking into their community planning at a large scale to boost traffic in certain areas, generate revenue, or spread awareness about a local feature or initiative. Smaller organizations like property developers, retailers, and others can also implement placemaking in their space to create better environments or increase revenue. 

No matter the size of an organization, placemaking is a great way to increase returns on investment while also creating wonderful spaces for local communities. The trick is in taking the time to incorporate elements of the local aesthetic, history, and/or culture and investing in thoughtful design that showcases these unique features. With this approach, people are naturally drawn to certain areas within a city where they can have meaningful experiences and create remarkable memories. This also results in cities that are able to create long-lasting “brands” around neighborhoods or buildings, further adding to their appeal to residents and tourists alike.

The Experience Economy and Art in Placemaking

Heineken Tower at Festival

Aurora-Powered LED Towers For Heineken

Cities, BIAs, BIDs, downtown associations, and property developers that use placemaking as a pillar of community development are able to enhance the communities they build. By entering the experience economy through interactive public art installations, these organizations don’t only provide amazing experiences for community members, they also provide an economic opportunity.

Art is a great way to inspire people and facilitate engaging interactions, but establishing the value of just how much it contributes when it comes to placemaking has been difficult. However, Ryerson University and MASSIVart, a global art consultancy and production agency, are looking to find out what that return on investment (ROI) truly looks like in a new study.

Our years in business have proven to us, and our clients, that art placemaking is beneficial to increase traffic, transform spaces and enhance events by creating memorable experiences. Cultural programming and the inclusion of art in architecture, real estate, and design, and many other alternative areas can transform the sense of community & belonging and contribute to the collective well-being. Art conveys the character of a place, its value, its culture, its identity and narrative.” -MASSIVart (New University Study Will Finally Show The ROI Of Art)

Aesthetic Relaxing Architecture

Blanco Trade Show Booth At IDS 2020

Art installations, especially interactive ones, can help promote awareness and community engagement. They are also highly shareable across social media platforms, increasing a campaign’s exposure. Increased foot traffic often boosts sales, as does creating an experience that encourages passersby to spend more time exploring an area, helping support local businesses nearby. Safety concerns can also be addressed through placemaking, drawing people to particular parts of a city or downtown core.

Increasing ROI Through Interactive Experiences

Aurora | The Giving Tree

Through thoughtful, creative, and interesting design, interactive experiences are able to produce great benefits for communities, businesses, and, ultimately, people. These efforts contribute to a greater ROI for municipalities or business associations, as well as for property developers and other private investors or organizations.

Things like a giving tree set up around the holidays can generate revenue for local charities. Walkthrough experiences like AGORA: Path of Light are also able to generate revenue for a community from ticket sales, while also creating interactive cultural connections.

I can say reviews have been very positive. It was exciting to see the joy across a wide spectrum of demographics, particularly teens and 20-somethings; they’re often harder to impress. Agora is the perfect Covid experience and likely why it was so popular at a time when there was little competition. There was also a ton of advertising and promotion behind the event. Ticket sales were more than double our expectations and contributed positively to ancillary sales at commercial businesses in the Village.” – Patti Kendall, Director of Marketing & Events, Blue Mountain Village Association

How Placemaking Benefits Communities While Boosting ROI

Art Wall made for Belford Properties

Belford Properties Interactive Hoarding

The versatility of interactive art installations can greatly contribute to placemaking in a community or space. Whether it’s an indoor lighting display, an outdoor sound and light walkthrough experience or something in between, the economic benefit of designing and installing interactive experiences is obvious. Besides contributing to the local economy, especially as part of pandemic recovery initiatives, these engaging experiences also contribute to the overall health, happiness, and well-being of a community. 

Placemaking approaches can help boost ROI for cities, business associations, property developers, retailers, and community organizations. It can also ensure that the people who live and work in a community have even more reasons to engage, connect, support, and appreciate the public and private spaces they exist in.

Excited about the potential for placemaking initiatives like these to increase your ROI? Get in touch with us to start planning an engaging interactive experience for your community.

Adventures in Perception: Aurora

Limbic Media’s Project Technical Lead, Jason Sanche, recently wrote about Aurora in a paper for a university course on Neuroaesthetics. Jason is finishing his Computer Science degree at the University of Victoria and couldn’t have timed this article better with our recent posts about multisensory technologies and their effect on brain development and behavior. The following was adapted from a series of papers exploring perceptual experiences inspired by the artists’ discoveries and insights with specific artworks, and in this case, Aurora.

 

Aurora QA Station

 

Aurora: An Exploration in Perception

This article is an exploration of my perceptual and aesthetic experience of Aurora, a software platform developed by Limbic Media to map intricate sound qualities to light. Aurora listens and recognizes subtleties of sound and displays sound as patterns and shapes within two- and three-dimensional matrices of LED light. Aurora elegantly visualizes music with the subtlety of a musician’s ear.

Sounds have incredible texture, depth and emotional resonance, but these facets of sound often go unnoticed. Input from other senses, thoughts, and emotions, especially with the proliferation of screens, continually eclipses our simple awareness of sound. Subtleties get sublimated into the background of our experience. However, the act of listening attentively realigns the mind with time in a  constant, steady, somatic-acoustic present awareness. By showing sound as light, Aurora leverages the domination of visual stimuli and brings attention to sound.

Aurora’s hardware technology is, as Marshall McLuhan would say, an extension of our senses. In the same way, Aurora’s software is an extension of our minds and its neural and perceptual networks. Aurora performs similarly to synaesthesia—a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. We naturally create images when hearing sounds, which might be an inherited survival trait to anticipate danger from threatening sounds. Incredibly, it also applies to appealing sounds like beautiful music. With our eyes closed and our attention narrowed in on music and the field of mental images, a synaesthetic effect involuntarily transforms sound into mental imagery. Aurora extends this phenomenon into shared space.

The following is a subjective exploration of this idea as a written stream of consciousness about the experience of Aurora reacting to a piece of music:

 

As the music streams from its digital storage on a cloud of distributed data into the physical network of this room, through my computer, through the mixer and into Aurora which, in real time, processes the signal through digital filters, determined by code, transformed into patterns and colors imitating the harmonies, rhythms and beats, transmuted into bursts of photons varied by a full visible spectrum of color and coordinated patterns with the complexity of the wave patterns in the ocean and captured by my eyes, translated in the optical nerve back into electrical impulses, and again, in real time, perceived as what I believe is sentient to the experience and understood as meaningful. As I write and watch the dancing lights, making the music more beautiful, I perceive and write and know this harmony of embodied sensory experience augmented by technology-as-art.

 

The study of neuroaesthetics looks at how the mind perceives and attaches meaning to art, beauty, and ugliness, how we fixate on and identify value, and how art produces emotional reactions. A system like Aurora provides a rich and fascinating angle to explore interactivity in neuroaesthetics, and specifically how the perceptual feedback of sound visualization plays into the brain’s implicit synaesthesia.

When sound-to-image happens externally, how does that affect our internal imagination of sounds and music? How important is sound-to-image synaesthesia to our ability to thrive culturally and socially? Can technology like Aurora produce a shared synaesthesia similar to shared public experiences during a film, concert or theatre performance? In participatory public theatre like Sleep No More, the play creates an immersive experience by breaking down divisions between actors and the audience. Can Aurora similarly produce immersive shared participatory musical synaesthetic experiences? The potential is there.

 

Innovation Tree, Victoria, BC

 

Art’s Role in Imagined Embodiment

Imagined embodiment has been a common theme throughout my explorations in perception. The mind constantly reinterprets its sense of self and embodiment in the world through imagination and dreaming, and the habitual sense of self is usually reinforced if we are unconscious of this process. However, with the right attention and tenacity, we can have full control over our self identity and full freedom from its limiting influence on our inhibitions. Anyone can imagine themselves as anything or anyone, and with enough practice, anyone can act beyond their usual identity. Most people enjoy an occasional respite from the trappings of their identity through events like halloween, masquerade parties, games, and to some extent, books and films that transport us into characters we can safely identify with.

One important role of art is to challenge and disrupt habitual identity through the perceptual experience of imagined embodiment, and made possible by mirror neurons. Conscious engagement in this process through art can introduce viewers to new horizons in self-knowledge.

 

PGNB Prismo 2017

 

Interactive Digital Art and Synaesthesia as a Method of Embodiment

The most relevant method of imagined embodiment to Aurora involves the exploration of synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a unique doorway from the visual to the aural. If we pay attention to sound and its effects on the imagination, it has the potential to create a transformative experience and disrupt habitual sensory perception. Experiencing synaesthesia consciously by meditating on music or sound and absorbing mental imagery restores attentive listening and its meditative benefits. Interactive digital art like Aurora uses technology to leverage synaesthesia and bring audiences back to the present through attentive listening.

Aurora’s lights react to sound the way our mind would visually imagine the source of any sound. The nature of sound and the act of listening have a unique quality that visual perception does not—sound disappears nearly as soon as it is heard; it is more ephemeral and decays quickly through friction unlike most visual objects, which tend to persist until they are destroyed, or decay over longer periods. Because sound does not persist very long, attention to sound created a synchronization to the ineffable flow of time: the steady, consistent arising and dissolving of the soundscape. By perceiving sound as light we tune into the act of listening which is an important way of staying balanced and present in a sensorially fractured world. This allows the mind to be present in time, which is its natural state.

 

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Limbic Media profiled in BC Innovation Council video

Limbic Media was recently recently profiled in a BC Innovation Council video where we get to talk about our company and Aurora™ -the audio-reactive lighting system we are launching later this year. Atagamaton – a motion controlled kinetic instrument we developed with Monkey C Interactive is also featured in the video.

After the video shoot in December we were invited to showcase Aurora™ and the Social Wearables at the sold out inaugural #BCTECH Summit in January. Kudos to the BC Innovation Council – the event was a major success! We’ll definitely be back next year.

Special thanks to Tarah Ferguson (BCIC) for a great interview and to Tahira Endean (BCIC) for helping us showcase our work at the Summit.

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