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.