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Interactive

19 Feb

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Work in progress: Bells

February 19, 2010 | By |

A further experiment in colourful reactive percussion, this time using these beautiful handbells. The isadora patch uses the eyes actor to track movement in a specific area of the camera in order to trigger each bell. Eventually it will be triggered by kids jumping up an down.

24 Jan

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Work in progress: Glockenspiel

January 24, 2010 | By |


A small playful AV experiment: A video glockenspiel adapted for interaction using Isadora. Notes can be triggered by key numbers 1-8, by midi triggers, or even just moving in-front of a webcam. Notes can be played singlularly or all at once.

24 Nov

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'A nail, its hammer, and the concrete'

November 24, 2009 | By |

Images from Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival where Sarah Nicolls performed 3 experimental compositions by Michel van der Aa (‘Transit’), Atau Tanaka (‘new work for pianist and sensors’), and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (‘Un clou, son marteau, et le béton’). I was lucky to be working with Sarah in presenting Pierre Alexandre Tremblay’s composition, and expressing it visually through the use of reactive lighting.

Sarah had originally asked me to change the atmosphere of the space using multiple screens and projections, but this wasn’t possible due to the numbers in the audience. Being restricted to a more traditional audience layout, eventually my thinking turned to how lights would help to make the experience more immersive. I settled on the image of huge icicles, or stalactites that would add an architectural dimension to the lighting, both channelling colour into physical space and then softly radiating light outwards to change the general atmosphere. The 6 giant tracing paper icicles (tracing paper rolls are very cheap and therefore idea for theatre) were hung from 6 LED Par cans, arranged on the periphery of the performance space so the audience would feel encapsulated, but not distracted.

Sarah’s performance used a mixture of sound cues and MaxMSP midi signals which were fed to me from her laptop, and then I brought them into my Isadora patch, which then sent them out to a LanBox and so on to the lights. It allowed for extremely sharp changes in lighting states to occur in an instant as triggered by the MaxMSP patch, meaning that Sarah’s performance was truly linked to the lighting, triggering changes in the atmosphere. This felt fitting as a lot of Sarah’s work is an investigation into the way technology becomes an extension of the pianist in the context performance. The other two pieces performed that afternoon, a film soundtrack, and a sensor-led piece based on electrical signals in the pianists muscles, further developed the theme

12 Jul

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A Different Tune – show

July 12, 2009 | By |

Excerpts from the childrens dance theatre piece ‘A Different Tune’. I designed digital backdrops for the sceneography but also to highlight some of the aspects of the storytelling through interaction with the dancers. Isadora was used to cue prepared animations also provide live camera effects as well as motion tracking for the dancers.

18 Jun

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Playtime with Isadora

June 18, 2009 | By | No Comments

This week I made a presentation at a conference about the use of Technology in Childrens Dance Theatre, held at FACT in Liverpool. I talked about my role as a digital designer for a childrens dance show called ‘A Different Tune‘, which is currently touring the North West, as well as giving people an insight into Isadora, a very nifty peice of software for digital design.

Isadora playtime - 50 in one

I based the presentation on three oppositions:

1. input / output
2. Values / value
3. media / idea

The first aim was to communicate how Isadora can be used to take any number of inputs (sound, movement, colour, position, midi….) and apply that to an output (size, volume, position, speed, etc ). For this I had people cheering to make the screen brighter, waving their arms to make a movie go faster and turning two volunteers into a human mixing desk by having raise and lower coloured paper infront of a camera.

Isadora Playtime - wave isadora play - chroma

This then raised the question of ‘Whats the point?’. And of course there isn’t any, unless you have an idea to communicate.

isadora playtime

 

Finally I asked three people to design an imaginary creature (like in my ‘Creatures in Motion‘  workshop). They then developed a biology and history for those creatures. And finally they created the sound of that creature. As they growled, chirped and mewed, the images of the creatures grew, but this time we had all invested a lot in their stories and ideas and so were  more deeply engaged by this relatively simple input / output.

Isadora playtime - creatures

I never generally like using technology for its own sake and find myself often having to argue for the absense of it in shows. An audience needs to engage with ideas, not technology.

A Small Cinema - idea

06 Jun

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The Huge Entity – video document

June 6, 2009 | By | One Comment

Having spent much time already wondering whether something exists if it isn’t documented, I must admit I didn’ t take the chance of my work not existing and so I had it filmed.  Here is the video of The Huge Entity installation being used by amused passers-by. What video can do is communicate effectively (more effectively than my writing anyway) how a piece actually works. Thanks to Neringa for making the film.

24 Apr

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If a tree falls in the woods…

April 24, 2009 | By | No Comments

“If a tree falls in the woods, and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. Yes, of course it does, now don’t be so silly. However, if an artwork takes place in Liverpool, and no-one is around to film it, did it ever happen. The answer in this case is clearly not. If events in our time are not flicker’d twitter’d and facebook’d (or “f’ook’d” as I like to call it) then they fundamentally do not exist. Not in our world anyway (see my previous post on the role of the videographer in art events today).

Thank goodness  people have camera-phones, to prove the work took place. I also took the steps to have someone document it on video (to follow) just incase everyone who encountered it only experienced it. Actually, I’m really grateful my mate Tim took these snaps, as I was holed up in the CCTV centre of Clayton Square doing my knob twiddling, so these are the only pictures I’ve seen of it!For those who like there art vicariously, eat my heart out:

Huge Entity - photo 01

photo_02_web.jpg

Huge Entity - photo 03

photo_04_web.jpg

20 Apr

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The Huge Entity

April 20, 2009 | By | No Comments

Huge Entity

At 1pm on Friday 24th April, ‘The Huge Entity’ will be happening. It takes place on a real Huge Entity, that is the BBC Big Screen in Clayton Square, Liverpool.

H.E. 01 H.E. 02

The piece has developed from ideas that came to me 5 years or so back, when I was trying to think about how a work or any creative intervention in a public space changes the energy of that space and the people. The title ‘The Huge Entity’ came from a science / philosophy website set up by Daniel Rourke, which had loads of interesting writings on science and theology, exploring ideas that I always wanted to visualize – ideas of space and time being somewhat malleable, people being connected, the idea of a body as energy. The title also refers to the screen itself – a piece of architectural techology in Liverpool that I’ve always had a strange relationship to.

I initially developed an animation of people leaving coloured footprints through the square, and other people radiating energy, but back then I was unable to develop anything interactive or realtime. Then I discovered Isadora – a realtime programmable video software that was easy to grasp, and very quickly I was able to start making prototypes based on simple video delays. The piece has developed a little in its final form, but not greatly. People look more abstract, more like auras, but it is largely just a series of video delays that are designed to create a thickness in time so that people have to navigate through the trails of others, and so think about their own passage through the square. Hopefully some people will play with this.

On the surface it looks like David Rokeby’s ‘Seen‘  and no doubt he has probably done this in some form or other and coded the software himself. Though for me the important part of this ideas always came from the site itself, Clayton Sqaure, and what I wanted the public / user to experience. It was never designed for a gallery, and it only exists if someone engages with it. Further to this, I think it is important for an artist to tread their own path, even if it is seemingly in the footsteps of others at times, but in doing so to find their own way, their own experience of that journey.

++++++++++++++The Huge Entity is an interactive installation by Sam Meech, created specially for the Big Screen as part of MOVES 09. It uses the movement of the public to create vapor-trails of colour that reflect and distort their journey through the space.

On one level, The Huge Entity is a giant living wax crayon etching of what we perceive as ‘reality’, in which the people passing through the space are revealing the colour beneath. On another level, it highlights the way we navigate around one another and explores the idea that we are not just a being in time, but a being through time.

The piece will be launched with a performance intervention by dancer Mary Prestidge and friends, using the installation and the movement of the public to create a new work that looks at elements of flocking, exploring the ways that individuals influence each other within a group.

Produced by Luden AudioVisual, The Huge Entity features reactive soundscapes by composer and soundartist Amos (www.myspace.com/amosnoisefoundation).

http://www.movementonscreen.org.uk/m09

http://www.luden.co.uk

http://www.smeech.co.uk

28 Jan

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Music for Sleeping – the next morning

January 28, 2009 | By | No Comments

mfs image 02

mfs image 01

Images from the performance of Music for Sleeping at the Bluecoat, courtesy of Richard G.