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Blurring the boundaries between technology and the individual – Exclusive interview with Shoeg.

Par Hayley Cantor







After seeing Shoeg’s project Infiltrate at LEV Matadero, we decided to catch up with him in Barcelona to find out more about his work, and to try and decipher the fascinating performance we saw that intrigued us to discover what technologies he uses to create his live AV shows.

Primarily I understand, you would consider yourself to be a musician, am I right? Or how would you label yourself? When did you decide to experiment with the A/V side of your show?

In the last years I’ve changed that way of seeing myself, so I would say I’m an artist. It’s not only sound anymore, I feel really that I am trying to express myself also through my code, my visual stuff, even my movements. I’m also collaborating with dance companies, where it is quite important to know how you move on stage, and this made me aware of that. So, for example I try to play without the table and computer blocking the visual line to the audience. I have also changed my relationship with sound, focusing more on textured layers instead of pitch.  

I started as a “musician”, but my visual side has been always there. I’ve been working for 15 years as a video editor, and I always had this fascination about image and sound synchronicity and feedback. 

Shoeg - Oudeis
Image from Shoeg’s project – Oudeis

Have you created the visual part of the show yourself or collaborated with a visual artist? (If so, who and why?) If not, tell us about how you developed the project and any challenges you faced in dealing with both elements of the performance.

I almost always create my own stuff. I’m not closed to collaborating with other people, but I tried to involve other artists in the past and for a reason it almost never happened, except for when I worked at the very beginning on the project with Ana Drucker, but after that I spent 2-3 years without a visual show, and I was really missing it. At some point, I wanted it back and I decided I had to refresh my coding knowledge to achieve what I wanted. I studied Computer Science for a couple of years, so at least I had a starting point – more or less.

I wanted to build a real time reactive visual system, that could be completely autonomous in a live set. The idea was to set up a bunch of rules, and do something sound reactive that could last 45 minutes in a live set without getting boring. So first challenge in this process was choosing which tools suited my needs the better. I tried, for example, Open Frameworks, which was a bit too complicated for my coding skills. Later, I knew about game engines like Unreal or Unity, which are free and you can do a lot of things scripting, easier to code. It’s also great to have this good amount of documentation and works done by other people online. I’m curious now about what Touch Designer can do, but for the moment Unity allows me to have a precise control of what I need. 

Shoeg - skin
Image from Shoeg’s project – Container

On the other hand, I wanted to work with objects from the real world in 3D aesthetics. I could model them with Blender, but I have no idea. So I learned some 3D techniques, like photogrammetry or 3D scanning. I remember wanting something more “perfect”, but discovered almost by accident the beautiful imperfections this techniques introduce in the models.

We recently saw your performance of your latest project ‘Infiltrate’ at LEV Matadero. What tools and set up are you using for the show? 

All the sound was generated using a couple of Etee sensors that the guys at Tangi0 lent me for a couple of months. These devices capture my hand and finger motion, as well as pressure data, and that is converted into MIDI signal through a Max MSP patch. Finally, MIDI is sent to the Virus and Digitakt. I had to bring hardware synths to the live sets, because I need a lot of polyphony to build these big layers of sound, and I couldn’t achieve it in virtual synths. Then, the visual stuff is a Unity app reacts to the sound mix. 

Infiltrate - LEV Matadero
Infiltrate at LEV Matadero, photo by Hayley Cantor

How does the use of this technology improve, or add to the quality and experience of your show for you, as an artist?

It allows to express myself in ways I could’ve never imagined. I’ve never performed as comfortable and with wide palette of possibilities with an instrument until I discovered motion sensors combined with the computer. The ability to map any behaviour to any response allows you to optimize your abilities in order to get what you want. This can’t ever happen with “traditional” instruments, you have to adapt to the instrument rigidness and background. I also see the coding process as a prosthesis, an extension able to repeat mechanical operations while you pierce through them.

What does the future hold for Shoeg in the world of live performance?

In the near future, I have to improve a lot of things: I want to make my hands more prominent on stage and be less computer dependent. People keep asking what is happening with the sensors, and I want to make it a bit more understandable. I also have this long list of ideas to code which don’t have time to make, and I would also like to collaborate with other people. But before that, I want to record a new album. I hope I’ll be able to work on it in the next months. 

You can find out more about Shoeg’s work through his artist page.

The post Blurring the boundaries between technology and the individual – Exclusive interview with Shoeg. appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

Marta Verde on her live A/V show with Tensal, at LEV Matadero

Par Hayley Cantor




Earlier this month, we met with Marta Verde to find out about her performance with Tensal at LEV Matadero, and to pick her brains about all those niggling little questions we had after following her career for the last few years.

Who are the artists that you are most looking forward to seeing at LEV Matadero?

Myriam Bleau and Ryoichi Kurokawa.

How were you contacted about the project at LEV Festival?

They called me and proposed that I collaborate with Tensal for their edition at Matadero in Madrid. I had never worked with him before.

Do you ever find that some genres of music just don’t inspire your work?

Absolutely. In general I don’t work on the clubbing, or nightlife scene, so related styles of music wouldn’t be my first choice of project. I actually started doing visuals with traditional Galician music.

Analog waves in the Nave at LEV Matadero
Analog waves at ‘la Nave,’ LEV Matadero, Madrid

Do friends often come to see your performances?

Yes, it depends on the performance. These days they tend to film me in vertical, so I rarely have content that I can use other than for Instagram [she laughs]

How do you feel about being on stage as a visual artist?

I don’t really like that part at all, but of course it’s part of the job. I’m quit shy, really. My show at LEV Matadero is quite different from what I usually do – in terms of music genre, as well as the time of the performance – pretty late, since I’m on at 1am.

What is the most unusual project are you’ve worked on in your career so far?

A few years ago I worked on a project with a musician called Julián Elvira who built a flute that played different frequencies (I had no idea that this wasn’t already the case with flutes!) It was really interesting, because I learnt a lot about music and we were able to work very closely together for the collaboration. We premiered the show in Martin E. Segal Theatre, New York.

Marta verde and Tensal at LEv Matadero
Lights and visuals, Marta Verde’s live performance at LEV Matadero with Tensal

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I’m working on a live performance with Madrid-based composer, José Venditti. He plays saxophone, and works on deconstructing sound through classical patterns.

What set-up will you be using for your performance tonight?

A couple of months ago I bought an analogue video synthesizer from LZX Industries. It’s really fun. There’s no preview, so anything can happen, and I also can’t save any presets. I also won’t be using any code for this show, which is very unusual for me. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of analogue video techniques, and don’t really understand why people go to great lengths to copy the aesthetic digitally, when they could just try to get a real one. 

Analog video aesthetic by Marta Verde
Analog video aesthetic by Marta Verde, for Tensal’s show at LEV Matadero

Do you use social media a lot to promote your work?

You can follow me if you like, my instagram account is mainly dominated by photos of my cat and screenshots of my work. I don’t really get work through social media channels, people tend to contact me directly. The work is really interesting and every project is completely different. Usually I’m presented with some kind of problem and I find ways to solve it.

Apart from doing visual performances, you are currently working at a Fab Lab, right?

It’s very common for freelancers to supplement their work through teaching, which I love. I find it really motivational and inspiring to work with young people and their ideas. I used to work as a coordinator in a Fab Lab, and I still give classes on programming and digital manufacturing there, but not on a regular basis anymore. I tend to work in different locations and on a more ad-hoc basis, that way I can combine teaching with my own projects.

If you want to read more about Marta’s work, you can check her artist profile page here.

The post Marta Verde on her live A/V show with Tensal, at LEV Matadero appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

3D light and audiovisual show by Huma and Eyesberg

Par Hayley Cantor



This week, we caught up with Huma about his most recent project ‘Eva,’ to find out a little more about how his musical project developed into a live AV show. Huma is Andrés Satué’s personal project, an evolution from his early musical days in a rock band to his more recent progression into the world of electronic music. He’ll be performing ‘Eva’ at Mira Festival, Fabra i Coats, Barcelona, Thursday 7th November

Tell us a bit about the visual side of your show. What can the audience expect in terms of live A/V performance?

The idea is to treat light from a 3D environment by making the light beams coincide, forming geometric figures in motion in the air.

Have your created the visual part of the show yourself or collaborated with a visual artist? (If so, who and why?) If not, tell us about how you developed the project and any challenges you faced in dealing with both elements of the performance.

I’m working with Jose Vaaliña from Eyesberg studio. It was a very natural collaboration, we met after finishing two gigs I did in Barcelona and we talked about the possibility of working together as we have very similar ideas about the relation between music and visuals, now it’s happening and I can say we are both really happy with the results.

What tools and set up are you using for the show? 

We are using 5 powerful projectors, various smoke machines (fog and hazer) and also some visuals. The beams of light will react to sound to create a symbiosis between both. Also we will use some lights and strobes for punctual moments.

How do you feel about the importance of the visual experience in your projects past and present?

It is something I have always thought about as a very important element. Even when I played in rock bands lots of years ago we always carried a few lights to add impact to the final part of the show.

Since I’m working as Huma, I collaborated with Drömnu using visuals at the very beginning, then moved to colorful L.E.D.s, smoke and strobes working with Juan Pablo Larrazabal and now I wanted to try new things and Jose appeared. I like the idea of doing something immersive, not something that you have to look at the detail or that can distract the public but something that will enhance the music. 

You’ve been making music for more than 10 years now. What is the project that you are most proud of, or have the most attachment to so far?

Well, I’m always more attached to the last thing I’ve ever done. Even though I really think that ‘Eva’ and this show is the project in which I have worked the most on and the project I’m the proudest of to date.

Got any questions for Andrés, Eyesberg, or just want to share anything with us? Jot down your thoughts below 🙂

https://hedonicreversal.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hedonicreversal/

https://hedonicreversal.bigcartel.com/

The post 3D light and audiovisual show by Huma and Eyesberg appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

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