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'Svara-Svapna' — A conversation with the artists behind the new immersive art and music exhibition

A previous art display by Chavez and Stanush
Diego Chavez/Daniel Stanush
A previous art display by Chavez and Stanush

A vibrant playground of music and visuals will soon be on display and accessible at Texas Public Radio's headquarters along the San Pedro Creek.

It was created by musicians and artists, Diego Chavez and Daniel Standish, collectively known as AM Architect. The installation is called "Svara-Svapna." On this edition of Weekend Insight, TPR’s Jerry Clayton talks with Diego and Daniel about the exhibit.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Clayton: Let's start with Diego, can you give us an overview of what your art installations are all about?

Chavez: Well, actually, our art installations keep morphing. But currently, we're really excited about how we can merge audio and visual interactivity, since we come from a musical background.

And we've been making ambient melodic, textural music for a really long time, very sound design forward, combining that with a generative visual aesthetic. So, the viewer could see and hear what's happening is this audio-visual sensation that's so much fun. So, we're having a really good time playing in this interactive, immersive space.

Clayton: Daniel, tell me about this particular installation called "Svara-Svapna." 

Stanush: Our installation that we're preparing will allow the audience to experience creating music in a way that is more immersive than what you might find with traditional instruments. By an audience member moving their body through the space, they will be able to trigger different musical patterns that will overlay with other people that are playing in the space to create an improvised piece of music.

That's also represented visually through real time generated projections that will be appearing on a big screen in the room. And so the installation is called "Svara-Svapna." And that speaks to the idea of different musical notes and the dimension of musical pitch, as well as kind of the dream state or like an immersive, imaginative state. And that's really what we want to share with the audience is the ability to generate music in an immersive and kind of ephemeral way that invites some curiosity and a lot of fun with the audience.

Clayton: Diego, do you see this type of art display as the future? And is there artificial intelligence involved in creating these types of installations?

Chavez: Yes, I think this is the future of everything—is interactive. Everything is immersive, and augmented reality is right around the corner. We are currently using AI to help us as we're working on our current projects. We use it to help with scripting. We use Python in this project. And so, we use ChatGPT and other large language models to help us along the way. We also do generative graphics with AI. Currently, we don't have that in this project. But we definitely use that throughout our work.

This is definitely the space we enjoy being on the bleeding edge of technology where art and technology meet. And we hope this is inspiration to get other artists to think in the same way to immerse the audience in a different space than they're used to.

The art installation will be on display inside TPR's Malu and Carlos Alvarez theater at TPR headquarters on June 21st from 10am till 3pm as part of Make Music Day at Texas Public Radio

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Jerry Clayton can be reached at jerry@tpr.org or on Twitter at @jerryclayton.