Toy Opera
Adam Kendall, Yoni Niv, Elad Schniderman
Excerpts from the performance at Play With Fire
November 21, 2009

Toys' Opera is a multimedia installation or performance project for multi-channel video, multi-channel sound-art, and physical-computing. It's centered around a small universe of HO-scale trains, models, contact microphones, and miniature cameras on a 5ft x 4ft stage, most of which are serially-controlled via Arduino microcontrollers.

The installation logically and randomly organizes procedural activity and algorithmic composition into phrases and gestures that span and integrate the various media. The stage-world is the source-material for all video and audio, which is then interactively processed via computers and distributed among two projectors and multiple audio channels.

The cameras feed custom video-processing software. Multiple channels of live, computer-processed video are projected onto a traditional screen and fed to a vertically-mounted projector to provide dynamic, self-reactive lighting for the stage. The sounds and electrical interference of the toys, serial-objects and stage itself are amplified by contact microphones and then manipulated, diffused and spatialized via computer into the multi-channel sound system.

Toys' Opera creates an abstract narrative built by machine-like formal processes executed upon the recognizable trains and models. It explores the boundaries between suggested and real worlds and wants to create a corrupted sense of reality.

About Play With Fire Festival:

Celebrating the breadth and depth of video possibilities through art. A plethora of live video editors, electronic and interactive artists, video and installation artists who use the moving image outside the “box”. Came from as far as Italy, Switzerland and Germany these artists showcased their work with the video community in New York City.

For two weeks and in two different locations the festival hosted an array of projects. Projects include, Katja Loher’s video planets, a ¾ ton “ice-stallation” by Raphael DiLuzio, a demonstration by Berlin based Modul8 software representative and performer, Ilan Katin, and a night of performance featuring video artist and collaborator, Alison Childs and the Spanish AV(Audio/Video) perfomer, *Rafaël*.

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