This performance was for LoveTechSF.com in San Francisco. It's a collection of artists and musicians that also contains a major component they call LearnTech, where artists and visualists present their setups and show their methodology in a workshop setting. As such, we've all learned a lot very quickly.
CSTNG-SHDWS is Colin Sebestyen and Justin Metros.
For this promo video, we are syncing to prerecorded Nonagon tracks, however, the performance was all live. Nonagon has a MAX patch that sends his monome and MIDI data to control Ableton live. We split this signal and used his data for our VDMX setups. Justin and I VJ in VDMX exclusively, however, our real focus is interactive and motion graphic design.
Nonagon (JB Kirby) is a brilliant guy, he programs AI during his days and makes soulful computer music at night. In working and discussing with him, we had a lot of creative discussions- sacred geometry, decay, math in the natural world and etc. His music was in progress for this show, and we designed visual packs that he could approve and give influence to his sonic landscapes.
We typically design and sketch out our ideas, and then design in Cinema 4D and After Effects for our motion loops. For a final round of approval, we typically create polished motion loops, and then remove as many of the extraneous effects as possible so we can recreate and control the effects live using effects chains in VDMX.
Justin has a programing background, so we have messed with programatic visualism (Quartz, Flash, etc) however, we have found that the design sensibility typically suffers as opposed to a loop based approach.
There are three tracks in this promo... the live show was much longer, about 10 tracks or 45 minutes. We had a live vocalist in Angie Donkin and her violinist. They had both worked with Nonagon- The violinist we could not glean any data off of, so our data inputs were nonagon's MIDI feed and of course, the live audio levels. The violinist, however, had effect pedals that he utilized and added a beautiful organic feel over the whole set.
There are three tracks represented in the promo - First, "Fixed Action Pattern"- in which Justin and myself researched as much about geometry and nonagons, specifically. We looked at the number nine and it's representation in the natural world as much as we could. We used 9 as our random seed in our flocking simulations, generated nonagons in dozens of configurations.
For "Mr Sniggles House", we used timelapse to capture an overhead projector with various natural live detritus occluding the light beams- feeder crickets, worms, beta fish, all acquired at the local pet store (and returned to nature when their staring roles concluded) and also created a live font using address stencils.
For "Kontrol (I wish you were here)" We worked with Nonagon + Angie and created projection mapped scenes of original photography of tokyo and spain. Using a live font we created for a corporate job! (check out hopebeyondthehype.com) we visualized the loss, yearning, and emotion in the song.
We mixed using a standard V4 Video mixer and projected. It was a bunch of work, but also satisfying in the crowd response.
Pixelh8’s work “Obsolete?” is a audio and visual study of the people, machines, history of The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park and looks closely at the themes of mathematics, logic, code-breaking and enciphering. The project was funded by the PRS Foundations new music award and commissioned by The National Museum of Computing.
The music itself is composed using some of the oldest and rarest computers in the world such as the WWII code-breaking machine Colossus Mark 2 Rebuild, and the 1960’s Elliott 803 largely used for mathematics and some of the more commonplace machines such as the BBC Micro. With over thirty machines studied and utilised within the music, it is a combination of both sounds from the internal sound chips and the external electro-mechanical sounds. In addition to this, the piece also utilises such items as the early non-electrical mechanical adding machines.
The project was comprised of twelves pieces of music and accompanying visuals and culminated in two performances at the prestigious Bletchley Park Mansion on March 20th and 21st, 2009.
The project attracted widespread media attention and has been featured on BBC New 24, BBC Look East, BBC South Today, New Scientist Magazine, Dazed & Confused Magazine, Games TM Magazine, Future Music, BBC Radio 4, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Three Counties and covered on several news websites including The Register, MacWorld, bit.tech, Slashdot, The IET, IT Pro and several more.
Available on iTunes, Napster, Spotify and more.
You can watch a interview with me about the making of Obsolete? here vimeo.com/3847750