Digital artists are no longer confined to hushed gallery spaces. Many are at home with live performance, theatre, video and graphics, producing work that defies category. Mixing it up are the new visionaries.
In August WeLove Digital published an update on digital performance and art called ‘Glitch in the Matrix’. Following on from that we introduce a number of names that you may not have heard before – from Paper Cinema’s live animation to Amon Tobin’s sculptural electronica.
Ryoichi Kurokawa was born in Japan in 1978 but lives and works in Berlin. His work includes sculpture, advanced graphics, audiovisual design and live performance, often projecting onto multiple screens. Take a look at the incredible ‘Sirens’ or ‘syn_’ on his website or Vimeo channel. They defy description, morphing between video and graphics, natural and unnatural imagery with cinematic music and sound effects that are dramatic and a little unnerving. Kurokawa composed an audiovisual piece for the 25th anniversary of the world wide web called ‘ground.alt’ but the pick of the bunch could be ‘rheo: 5 horizons’ (below) a five HD screen audiovisual installation from 2010.
The Paper Cinema was founded in 2004 by Nicholas Rawling, Imogen Charleston and Christopher Reed. The company uses animation, music, film and theatre production to put together innovative live shows and tours its performances internationally. As you can see from the video below the animations are constructed using beautifully detailed illustrations that the team put together in front of a video camera that is then projected onto a screen with accompanying music. This type of work has its origins in part in Balinese shadow puppetry and other forms of animation performance.
In his biography Ikeda is described as “Japan’s leading electronic composer and visual artist”. To be honest that is hard to argue with. His work is based on mathematical aesthetics and precision. By using sound, visuals, materials and other physical media he creates incredible installations and live performances that have been shown worldwide. ‘Superposition’ (below) is his latest touring show. Check out ‘datamatics‘ and ‘test pattern‘ on his excellent website. Also be sure to see his video for ‘supersymmetry‘ on Vimeo.
Ikeda’s work is complex, brilliant and futuristic, he also releases CD albums to accompany his digital world, filled with minimal electronic music. ‘Superposition‘ was inspired by quantum mechanics, human behaviour and randomness. The piece itself was orchestrated live by Ikeda on each night of the tour.
Internationally renowned electronic musician Amon Tobin is widely renowned for his ‘ISAM’ album and live show. ISAM’s performance uses a complex stage construction of interlocking blocks that act as a screen for projection mapped video and graphics. Two companies work closely with Tobin to help him achieve the artistic vision that goes into the tour and just building the stage set each night must be a complicated task. V Squared Labs takes the stage design from concept to final build and the company is responsible for some equally jaw-dropping designs for a bevy of electronic music artists. Check out the V Squared website and the designs for artists including Krewella’s crystal volcano, the Skrillex cell and Infected Mushroom.
Matt Daly’s Leviathan design studio is responsible for visuals included in the ISAM performance and the company creates new concepts in graphical manipulation, including touchscreens, hologram effects and entirely new film-making techniques. Look at this portion of the show (below) put together by Leviathan called ‘wooden toy’.
Daito Manabe is a DJ/VJ, composer, designer, artist and programmer based in Tokyo. Born in 1976, Manabe co-founded the hacker’s space ‘4nchor5 la6’ (anchor’s lab) in 2008 and has won the Silver Lion in the Cyber Lions category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as well as being chosen by Apple alongside 11 others to provide work for a special website to celebrate 30 years of the Mac.
‘Dance with Drones’ (below) is a collaborative project to show how people can interact with technology such as robot arms and drones using tracking technology. Coincidentally, he also directed the video for Squarepusher x Z Machines that featured in another WeLove Digital post on robot music.
The last artist on the roster is Miwa Matreyek. Matreyek is based in Los Angeles the subject of this 10 minute video performance produced for TED. She is a multimedia artist who uses real and virtual objects to create live performances using video, animation and her own body. This performance for TED is absolutely wonderful. Check out her website for more examples, including the solo performance ‘This World Made Itself‘ and the short film ‘Lumerence‘. Also take a look at the Cloud Eye Control website, of which Matreyek is a founding member and collaborator.