Here is a sample of what things look and sound like in their earliest incantation. It’s an initial prototype experimenting with using sustained movement to control sound. Part of an ongoing research into sound, movement, space and interaction in collaboration with Jan Lee.
In September, The Cave of Sounds was invited to Waterloo, Canada to exhibit as a part of the Waterloo Innovation Summit.
Our venue was THEMUSEUM, a children’s museum in downtown Kitchener. Up on the third floor, passing through replica of dinosaurs, amber fossils and lizard brains, our space managed to evoke a cave before we arrived, with odd cracks of sunlight poking through blackout curtains and an awkwardly placed metal girder dominating the room. We gained access at 7am on the day of our big 4.30pm opening. With a solid tech runthrough in our hotel room the previous day and an excellent tech team from the venue, we completed our install in seven hours, down from two days at the last show.
This July I conducted an eight day residency in Brazil with the digital theatre group ZU-UK – part of a new research project with Jan Lee called Waiting for a Grain of Sand to Leap into the Air.
Our work began in the mountains of Vera Cruz outside Rio de Janeiro, living and working in a remote residence detached from phones and internet. July is Winter in Brazil which gives warm sunny days, cold nights and dewy mornings. The landscape is dense and green, sat above a network of porous rock that emerges from the soil in places. And teeming with life – spiders, insects, woodpeckers, tics, cows…
We were on the Drift residency along with six other artists. Our time was divided between collective creative activities and our own research; Capoeira, Yoga, Qi Gong, drawing, writing with others then creating work each day to share in the evening. Individual work was often still focused around a constraint or structure, like working with a specific piece of tech, or developing something that realises another of the artist’s project. Each evening, everyone shares what they have made, followed by a delicately thought out session of giving each other feedback.
A screenshot taken while coding the visuals for This Floating World. Plants grow algorithmically from strokes drawn by the movement of a dancer.
By the way… tickets are now on sale to see the piece, which is being performed in London in the coming weeks. See the Facebook events for the Arebyte performance on 30 January and the performance at The Place on 10 February as a part of Resolution festival. Go get em!
Since August I’ve been working with the dancer and choreographer Jan Lee on a new piece exploring how we form our self-identity through dance, music, visuals and interaction.
The piece is a 15 minute solo dance work with projected visuals and sound controlled by the dancer through movement. As well as codirecting the work, I’ve coded the software to track the dancer and created generative graphics and sound (alongside a beautiful original score composed by Zac Gvi). All the visuals are produced in realtime using Cinder/OpenGL.
It was announced last week that The Cave of Sounds won first prize in the Digital Art category of this year’s Sonic Arts Award!
We’ll be heading to Rome in early September to exhibit the work as a part of the Sonic Arts Award exhibition.
The past few days I’ve been in Belgrade for Resonate Festival. It’s been a fantastic event pulling in a diverse group of individuals working in creative technology. I’m currently at the beginning of a new collaboration with dancer Jan Lee to create a dance work involving interactive sound and visuals, and much of my attention was grabbed by presentations and discussions in this area.
Here are some of the highlights for me.
On the first night Klaus Obermaier, Kyle McDonald and Daito Manabe gave a preview of a new project Transcranial that they are producing together. Klaus Obermaier has produced some stunning works of visually augmented dance performance, including Apparition from 2004 (an inspiration behind Daito Manabe’s recent music video for Nosaj Thing). This was mixed with Kyle’s work disrupting a sense of agency through substituting faces and augmenting movement within a video feed of your face, and Daito’s work distorting actual faces by creating muscle twitches through electrical stimulation to the face.
The work in progress presentation of Transcranial included real-time video processing of dancer Milica Pisic. She was wearing black on her torso allowing her different limbs to be easily segmented on the video. The movements of her body were then extended in the video feed – at first subtly but growing more distorting as the performance progressed. This was an interesting example of the uncanny valley – the point where the distortions cross the boundary of physical plausibility is disturbing as we in the audience are forced to reassess our interpretation of what we’re seeing. It will be interesting to see how this project develops.