Norimichi Hirakawa is a talented new-media artist who has been involved in a great number of projects, such as DriftNet and Global Bearing. Hirakawa's work centers around device and algorithm design as analog input for digital systems, and AV programming and spacial design.
Compath was an installation created for the "Re:search" exhibition at Sendai Mediatheque in Sendai, Japan. For this piece, Hirakawa installed an apparatus of devices on his car, which included a GPS receiver, a DV camera with fisheye lens on the roof and 2 microphones on the sides. He then went driving around Sendai City, documenting every route and movement made on the car. In the installation, these logs are processed by a customized application and reconstructed with complete synchronization.
On the physical space of the installation, there's a ceiling projection with 7 surround-sound speakers in a circular array and 1 speaker on the ceiling. The projection and sound source move around following the direction of the car movement. And current latitude/longitude is announced at fixed intervals at top speaker. On the ceiling, the relative directions of landmarks are displayed in real time. The goal of this artwork is to emphasize the horizontal vector, to map the real world on the virtual grid defined by latitude and longitude coordinates.