Theo Burt
Colour Projections
CD-ROM (E80)

[ Trailer ]

Colour Projections is a computer-based audio and video work
creating precise relationships between sound and geometry.
Through a progression of geometric systems, rules are estab-
lished and shapes are created, intersected, combined and
destroyed. Each resulting shape is both drawn and sonified —
a shape’s outline is directly transformed to an audio waveform.

Although the systems use only fixed, stateless geometric
operations, through certain coincidences there is a tendency
to attribute identity to individual shapes and perceive a level
of causality within the systems. We are reminded that these
perceptions are illusive when the geometric behaviour diverges
from our expectations, causing shifts in plurality and
ambiguities of identity.

Theo Burt is a UK-based sound and video artist.

The detailed, diagramatic nature of the video means that this
release can not be encoded to DVD. For maximum quality and
to avoid limiting the video to a fixed resolution, the work is
distributed on a computer-only CD-ROM, compatible with OS X,
Windows, Linux and any other operating system supported by
Adobe Flash Player (version 10 or greater).

Not suitable for playback in standalone CD players. This work
contains low frequencies that may be inaudible on built-in
laptop speakers.

See also
The Automatics Group (E130)

Edition of 300 copies
Out of print

“Playful and futuristic”


Clearly, Burt and Entr’acte have gone to some trouble to
make this release as exquisite as it can possibly be. And with
good reason — Colour Projections is a work of sheer brilliance,
which reaches levels of ornate digital minimalism that a heavy
hitter like Ryoji Ikeda or Carsten Nicolai could be proud of.
  The concept is simple enough — colourful geometric shapes
that rotate, pulse and transform in sympathy with modulating
sine wave tones. The results are absolutely spellbinding. The
extremely vivid rendering gives the whole presentation an
uncannily hyper-real feeling — at once deliberately flat and
hypnotically three-dimensional. Experienced on a big screen,
at high volume, this could be pretty mind-bending.

Samuel Macklin at Bubblegum Cage III

If the field of audio-visual production has two different poles
(the sonified visual and the visualised sound) this work can
be placed exactly in the middle. Colour Projections is software
created by Theo Burt that calculates audio and minimal geo-
metrical video, conceived as single tracks. Although the work
has a technical web structure (it’s viewed in a browser, starting
from an html file, but using Flash) it is distributed as a CD-
ROM by Entr’acte, one of the most eclectic experimental music
labels. The code generates geometrical (empty) shapes slowly
evolving on the screen in high contrast colors, intersecting,
combining and destroying themselves. The code is also
responsible for the audio as the outlines of the shapes are
directly transformed into audio waveforms. This combination
makes the work fluid, hypnotic and minimal.An accordingly
ultra-minimal interface allows the user to jump from one
composition to another and to pause and resume the execution.
The created audio-visual space seems to come out from the
machine’s guts, but in a very polite and abstract form.

What a unique, wonderful release! How to describe? Well, it’s
not a music disc per se though sound is decidedly involved
along with visual elements. It’s playable only on your computer,
not in a CD player. You see a small screen with, initially, a gray
background (later blues and a blood red), upon which simple
but very elegant and attractive geometric shapes appear, these
shapes slowly threading their way through the space, often with
lines intersecting. The movement of these shapes and the inter-
section of their line segments trigger a variety of sine waves
or sharper toothed kinds of electronic sounds, usually in clear
and direct response to what’s occurring on screen. This is the
general rule here: sounds appear or change as lines meet and
the shapes that inflate or contract cause similar raising or
lowering of pitch.

Burt plays with your expectations, the kind of pattern associ-
ations you automatically make, subverting them often enough
to prevent one from thinking you have it all understood.
There are several [very] complex patterns that grace the
screen during this work’s 32 minutes, including a particularly
beautiful set of two rectangles floating and rotating in the
space at different speeds and inclinations, barely kissing each
other once and emitting only the tiniest of sounds. The antici-
pation as they near each other is excruciating.

It’s tough to really give a decent idea of what goes on here in
words and, doubtless, there are many who will be bored silly,
but I find it strange and beautiful and can experience it again
and again.

Brian Olewnick at Just outside