A maze of interconnected, eerily lit spaces filled with bizarre, beautiful or nightmarish art and exhibits, Beyond the Road presented visitors to London’s Saatchi Gallery with a unique visual and aural environment which invited them to explore, experience and enjoy in their own way, and at their own pace. With them every step of the way was the d&b Soundscape.
Presented by Beyond Projects in collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery, Beyond The Road was described by the NME as “an art gallery that’s not an art gallery, a listening experience that’s a feast for all of the senses, and a space that takes you out of the real world for as long as you care to stay inside it . . .”
In the words of Beyond Projects, this was “a multi-sensory world led by sound”. The seamless, enveloping sound field, delivering UNKLE’s The Road: Part I and The Road: Part II / Lost Highway, was at the heart of the entire experience.As visitors roamed freely from space to space, through doorways and corridors, the ethereal musical accompaniment was everywhere and ever-present.
Wayne Powell led the sound design project on behalf of d&b, working closely with the creative team. In their work with Punchdrunk, Colin Nightingale and Stephen Dobbie have long been at the forefront of creating immersive experiences.
From the start of the project, flexibility was key. The plan was to create a blank canvas, in which nothing would inhibit the team’s creativity or workflow. By making key design and product decisions in advance, Powell and his team were able to speed up the installation process, allowing more time for creativity. Once onsite, the flexibility of the technology allowed many artistic decisions to be left open to the creative team. The Dante network, R1 software, control network and DS100 meant that processing and Soundscape technology could be moved easily to any point in the exhibit.
On the face of it, delivering a seamless, immersive sound field through seventeen separate but interconnected spaces, presented a challenging task. However, thanks to Soundscape’s now well-established integration within the familiar d&b workflow, the challenges were minimal. The entire system was drawn in d&b ArrayCalc software, meaning that loudspeaker positions, processing, DS100 sound object control and Dante patch, plus integrated amplifier control via the d&b R1 software, was all complete before the team arrived onsite. With the amplifiers in place and the loudspeakers connected, the R1 file was loaded and the system was running.