HAVEN is a collaborative experience design project by queer designers Keighton and Camille. Employing multidisciplinary methods in branding and customized graphics, spatial and interior design, sound design and music visualization, performance and exhibition, HAVEN delves into the concept of safe and accessible spaces for LGBTQIA+ individuals and employs audio-reactive visuals as a creative medium to investigate and represent the complex experiences of queer individuals in such spaces. Evolving from investigative research surrounding the history of queer nightlife and safe spaces, HAVEN explores how to create supportive environments where individuals can express themselves without fear of discrimination, prejudice or harm.
Inspired by the original safe space logo, we have designed and created custom vectors, logo, and poster for HAVEN.
HAVEN is a two-part experience, where the audience can dance on the outdoor dancefloor installation and cool down in the indoor relaxation room while observing the second installation.
The outdoor dancefloor features original audio-reactive visuals on an opaque screen which are manipulated live with a music set and MIDI board to encourage a celebratory environment.
Our research on what denotes a safe space in nightlife for queer folks has remarked on the importance of having a quiet area to retreat, access to seating, and a space that feels like an escape. This has led to the inception of an indoor area featuring original relaxing animation of pulsating clouds mapped on a chiffon mesh.
In order to create a more immersive experience, HAVEN incorporates multiple sensorial elements in addition to sound and visuals. Guests can choose from an array of beverages, notably a custom elderflower and fruit cocktail that align with the floral dress code. The room is aromatized with a secret signature scent designed by the two queer designers, composed of various floral notes to add to the overall ambiance. Participants are required to follow strict house rules to prioritize safe space creation.
Every designer knows that unexpected elements may occur the day of the event. Due to inclement weather, a waterproof and transparent tarp is installed to shield participants from the rain, maintained warmth, protect the hardware from damage, and catalyze immersion through refracted lighting design.
HAVEN’s 40-minute mixtape is composed of various songs that are meaningful to the two designers and their experiences coming into their own queerness. HAVEN’s goal is to be a celebration of self and identity, and so many of the songs are queer anthems or significant to the development of queer artists across the genres of pop, disco and techno. The setlist is mixed and mastered in collaboration with music producer, Hasan Khalid on Ableton and Premiere Pro.
In order to build in songs that are meaningful to HAVEN’s attendees, there is a required question on the RSVP that requests participants to list one song they would like to dance to. Requested songs are then mixed into a non-stop playlist for the hours leading up to the live performance.
HAVEN seeks not only to employ engaging visuals that celebrate the LGBTQIA+ experience, but to expand on this by employing new kinds of audio visualizations that act as exploratory and accessible media.
Using node-based programming in TouchDesigner, we have designed 8 sets of unique visuals that are both audio-reactive on their own and are able to be manipulated live via a MIDI board. A custom audio analysis component is built to identify the lows, mids, highs, kicks, and snares of each song. This component processes the visuals and yields imagery that reacts in various ways according to the music. Each visual utilizes a different kind of animation method, including but not limited to: stable diffusion, particle systems, 3D render networks, feedback loops, UV delay, and more. These various effects are integrated with music videos and imagery significant to queer history.
HAVEN utilizes the following softwares in production: TouchDesigner, Ableton, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Blender, Cinema4D, & MadMapper.
The following hardwares are used in the installations: BENQ W 1070 Digital Projectors, AKAI APC40 MKII Midi Board, an opaque canvas screen, a French chiffon mesh, stereo speakers with a Bose amplifier, and a waterproof tarp.
Special thanks to Hasan Khalid, Clarinda Mac Low, Ever Bussey, and Torin Blankensmith.
For more information, contact Keighton at likeighton[AT]newschool.edu and Camille at camille.lobianco[AT]gmail.com.