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Japan Media Arts Contest 2020

Par : Marco Savo

DEADLINE: 04 September 2020 18:00 (Japan standard time)

We are constantly scanning our map for new opportunities for audiovisual artists, especially outside the European network.

It is quite hard to map out the Asian audiovisual scene, mostly due to language barriers and different social media landscape.

Therefore we are very pleased to present you with this art contest for the Tokyo based media arts festival.

The Japan Media Arts Contest is a long-lasting institution reaching its 24th edition this year. The call is open to all audiovisual artists worldwide and encompasses the following categories:

Art Division | Entertainment Division | Animation Division | Manga Division
Open call for audiovisual artists
For each division the elected jury will award the following prizes, based on the artistic value and creativity of the artwork:

Grand Prize (1.000.000 JPY), Excellence Awards (500.000 JPY), Social Impact Award (500.000 JPY), New Face Awards (300.000 JPY), U-18 Award (certificate, trophy), Special Achievement Award (certificate).

It is interesting to notice the wide range of categories not necessarily related to the new media arts world. The inclusion of animation and manga highlights their wide recognition in the Japanese scene as special forms of art.

The Japan Media Arts Contest offers opportunities for young and emerging artists as well as recognized professionals making the audiovisual event a turning point every year for artistic innovation and excellency.

Japanese Media Arts Contest 2020

The Japan Media Arts Festival has been awarding prizes to outstanding artistic works since its establishment in 1997.

It is supported by The Agency of Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan to develop and promote the creation of Japanese and international media arts.

Through the annual Exhibition of Award-winning Works, the festival has offered the opportunity to the audience of directly appreciating these celebrated works.

The attendants are also invited to participate to the side events such as symposia, screenings and artists’ showcases.

WEBSITE

APPLY TO THE OPEN CALL

The post Japan Media Arts Contest 2020 appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

About Kusmos Live by Kuflex Lab

Par : Marco Savo

During these tough and uncertain times it has been inspiring to see so many audiovisual artists and events coming up with tools and formats to overcome the quarantine restrictions and social distancing.

A few weeks back the guys from Kuflex Lab reached out to showcase their latest tool that stands out among all the virtual/hybrid solutions we have seen so far. Kusmos Live allows to turn online concerts into interactive digital shows. Pretty neat uh?

Kusmos - Kuflex Lab - Audiovisual Interactive Tool

Let’s dive in and explore how it works. Down to the nitty-nerdy-gritty Kusmos is a custom VJ software written on openFrameworks + VDMX5 + Syphon.

In spring 2020 Kuflex studio began an experimental project Kusmos Live. The purpose of the experiment was to upgrade the Kusmos system in order to create a interactive online home shows.

In 2018-2019 the Russian audiovisual studio experimented with the innovative tool together with SILA SVETA studio on the Therr Maitz concert, Caprices Festival 2018, Nina Kraviz experimental performance at Coachella 2019.

OK, really cool but how exactly does interactivity work? We gave some feedback to Kuflex lab with a few tricky questions to better understand the whole potential of this new audiovisual tool.

KUFLEX: The Tracker program receives depth-sensor data, calibrates a point cloud as we need it (we can rotate the cloud, cut off everything you don’t need keeping only the data of the artist oneself and merge point clouds from two sensors) and sends it to the renderer (UE4 scene).

Scene functions build a 3D model using the data provided by the Tracker and then we can layer all kinds of features with effects on the model and also transform and distort it according to the artistic concept. We also captured video from the laptop’s webcam and sometimes showed its picture. 3D scene acting as the artist surrounding, a set of virtual cameras for capturing from different viewpoints and visual effects were set up in advance in the Unreal Engine. Then the OBS program captures the video of the launched scene and sends it to the video streaming server.

Kusmos Live - audiovisual tool

During our second live experiment we tested some new features for the viewers interactive communication with the stream. While Leksha (Smolensk, Russia) was playing his ambient-set, a VJ (Moscow, Russia) was controlling visual effects with the use of commands via YouTube chat in real-time mode. Our team has implemented this function between the concerts and decided not to tell the viewers about it.

During the stream, noticing weird messages in the chat, some of the viewers started to realize that they could not only send a message to the chat but to even affect visualization. In the end the concert has turned into a digital quest. Some viewers picked up effect control by sending particular commands to the chat. We have yet to comprehend how to develop this function in the future.

 AVC: We think it’s a really interesting and innovative project responding to the challenges of the pandemic. In terms of appeal for VJs there is the risk of potentially being extremely limited for the audiovisual artists creativity, and the aesthetic I guess would always be the same.

It would be key for the tool to have a wider range of possibilities of customization for the artists otherwise they might get tired soon. I guess they all want to leave their unique mark in the scene.

KUFLEX: Kusmos is a universal software tool, with the possibility of variability of visual and interactive solutions. As a rule, our team creates a virtual stage specifically for the performance of the musician. Of course, we want to upgrade the program creating a database with different scenes, effects. In this case, the user will be able to construct the scene himself and combine the effects for his live/stream. 

AVC: It’s a bit unusual to keep promoting the idea of “God is DJ”. Is the DJ persona so relevant the viewer wants to watch during the entire show in a virtual environment?

KUFLEX: Regarding Kusmos Live project, the Kuflex team is collaborating with various musicians. We wanted to support the performers. So this approach determined the emphasis on the figure of the musician on the virtual stage, under whose musical personality, sound we come up with a visual solution. We do not just shoot a video with a musician, as is often done in broadcasts, but create a digital avatar that changes depending on the script, music and VJ control.

At the same time, Kusmos Live is primarily a show, a kind of mix of live performance, a computer game and fantastic movie. The virtual camera can fly through digital space, we can switch to different visual elements of the scene and include additional visual effects to the music.

Kusmos Live - Audiovisual Tool

We try to achieve the effect of real interaction with the viewer as well. Our team is developing a function of interaction through chat – viewers’ comments fall into the scene, they can affect the content through certain chat commands. But Kusmos can be used by artists of other genres. In the near future we want to try to create a dance performance. Now we are discussing this idea with one Russian choreographer.

We will explore the topic of distances – where physical space ends, digital begins, the relationship of body and sound. Both dance and music will take place in live format.

Technically, the performer will find himself in different areas of camera scanning, on the screen we will observe how his digital avatar changes. Again, it will all be like shooting a movie in one shot and in real time!

360 Visual Festival - audiovisual event
AVC: We truly appreciate the viewers becoming active, participating and communicating with the stream. That creates a collective experience. Could people really tell if this was a live performance or not? It feels like the interaction should be more meaningful somehow, with a bigger impact to the overall audiovisual artwork.

KUFLEX: Our team worked on a concert from different cities. We thought about how best to organise remote control of virtual cameras and effects. And suddenly our creative director had an idea to manage content through Youtube chat. During the broadcast, he wrote commands like cam1 (switching camera 1), stars ( the star effect was launched).

We intentionally did not talk about this function in advance to get the quest. As a result, some viewers guessed and began to help in managing the scene. We explore different possibilities about other ways of interaction.

In the future we want to create a client application for connecting to the broadcast via a mobile phone, desktop PC screen or VR. We intend to develop Kusmos as an art tool. Our team believes in a power of collective interaction. We want to give a palette of visual solutions, effects. Let’s all together create beauty here and now! This idea is a sincere inspiration for us. 

AVC:  We would like to know more about how the collaboration you have done with Leksha where the viewers were controlling visual effects with the use of commands via YouTube chat in real-time mode.” How does the input of data modify the visuals? is it like a live coding or common human language and how it is related to the VR software?

kusmos live - kuflex and leksha - audiovisual artists

KUFLEX: Usually in an offline format, we work like this: musicians play music, and VJ manages visual content live using MIDI controllers. Some effects are linked to the amplitude of the sound. But in a situation where we did not have the opportunity to be onsite will all team, we decided to make control through chat commands.

We wrote a special function for our software that receives data from chat on YouTube using the Google API. We came up with several commands, for example: cam1, cam2, skin1, skin2, electric noise, lasers and the like. And when someone in the chat wrote one of these words, then a certain visual effect or a corresponding camera was included in our program.

In general, we have an idea to expand the number of commands and their appearance, so that it looks more like live coding. For example, add numerical arguments to the commands, which will additionally specify the parameters of a particular visual effect.

As for virtual reality, we have plans to create our own application for viewers who can watch live broadcasts using VR devices, thus more deeply immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the digital scene and additionally receive personal effects. 

Kusmos Live - audiovisual tool
 AVC: Fascinating this idea of “universal tool” for content in real time and interactive show. We think it’s important now to dig more into the idea of how it can involve more people in the creative process. It opens new ways of investigation on how to make every audiovisual experience unique, not only in terms of the aesthetics of the piece but also regarding the narrative.

KUFLEX: Yes, this is the main object of research for us. Usually, a limited number of people can come to the offline exhibition. So we want to overcome any space frames. With Kusmos we don’t have any restrictions online! We can find ourselves in amazing digital worlds that are impossible in the physical world.

Now that Kuflex Lab and its creation Kusmos entered our radar we will most definitely keep following their progression, as always supporting innovation and creativity in the audiovisual art world.

The post About Kusmos Live by Kuflex Lab appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

Memo Akten

At Audiovisual City, it’s always a pleasure to discover new audiovisual artists, and sometimes even artists that we should already know, but that we discover late, like Memo Akten.

I stumbled upon Memo’s work in my investigations and learnings of the well-known VJ software, VDMX (which is to put it quite lightly – VDMX is a very powerful visual creation tool).

Memo Akten describes himself as:


“an artist and researcher from Istanbul, Turkey. He works with emerging technologies as both a medium and subject matter, investigating their impact on society and culture – with a specific interest in the collisions between nature, science, technology, ethics, ritual and religion.”

http://www.memo.tv/

Artificial Intelligence

His work goes much further your average visual artist, as he specialises in Artificial Intelligence, works with algorithms and large-scale responsive installations with image, sound and light. In AV culture’s layman terms he’s an audiovisual jack-of-all-trades and a true techy, oh and he’s studying for a PhD in AI as if that wasn’t enough. Here you can see a selection of his work in the very accurately named video, ‘Selection of work in 3 minutes’ (2017).

Audiovisual awards and prizes

Akten received the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica – the most prestigious award in Media Art – for his work ‘Forms’ in 2013. He has exhibited and performed internationally at exhibitions including The Grand Palais’s “Artistes & Robots” in 2018 (Paris FR), The Barbican’s “More than human” in 2017 (London UK) and the Victoria & Albert Museum’s landmark “Decode” exhibition in 2009 (London UK). He has shown work at venues such as the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow RU), Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum (Shanghai CN), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo JP), Royal Opera House (London UK), Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Lisbon PT), Itaú Cultural (Sao Paulo BR) and many others.

Creative Collaborations

He has collaborated with celebrities such as Lenny Kravitz, U2, Depeche Mode and Professor Richard Dawkins, and brands including Google, Twitter, Deutsche Bank, Coca Cola and Sony PlayStation. Akten’s work is in numerous public and private collections around the world.

Alongside his practice, Akten is currently working towards a PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in artificial intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction, to deepen collaborative creativity between humans and machines and augment human creative expression. Fascinated by trying to understand the world and human nature, he draws inspiration from fields such as physics, molecular & evolutionary biology, ecology, abiogenesis, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology and philosophy.

Photo credit: http://www.memo.tv/works/bodypaint/



Marshmallow Laser Feast

Memo hasn’t just emerged on the scene by any means. In 2007 Akten founded The Mega Super Awesome Visuals Company (MSA Visuals), an art and tech creative studio. For some of those who have been following audiovisual culture since before even Audiovisual City was born, then they’ll recognise the name Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) – the evolution of MSA Visuals in 2011. In more recent years and a lot of success, Akten is now focusing on his own work and research, though his contribution to audiovisual culture and performance, must not go unmentioned. I strongly recommend that you explore his exceptionally wide and varied body of artwork and scientific investigations, as it takes you on a socia cultural journey that goes beyond audiovisual art.

Website

Instagram | Vimeo

BUY US A COFFEE?BUY US A COFFEE?

The post Memo Akten appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

KUFLEX

Par : Marco Savo

A Russian studio of interactive audiovisual art.

Kuflex Lab is formed by audiovisual artists exploring the newest ways of using video, sound and light, tracking technology and generative graphics to allow viewers to dive into that digital space and feel it to the fullest.

Kuflex large-scale interactive installations dismantle stereotypes of sensory perception. Immersive effect switches off rational evaluative perception and provokes spontaneous emotions of inner child.

A small team creates magic installations and art projects, exploring mechanisms of interaction and inter-influence of inter-subjective reality and its digital projection.

Interacting with constantly changing projection, the viewer enters meditative state, turns from a passive observer into a co-creator. Thus, in “Symbiosis” installation the viewer literally merges with the alien creature, becoming a digital avatar that can be controlled by him or her. 

Installations by Kuflex have been featured in many Russian and foreign exhibitions, festivals, museums, science and education centers in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Tyumen, Abrau-Dyurso, Netanya (Israel), Antalya (Turkey), Athens (Greece, ADAF), Las-Vegas (USA, CES), Beijing (China,China Science and Technology Museum), Manila (Philippines) and others.

Since 2018 the studio has been working on Kusmos software system for interactive visual content of online home concerts. In April 2020 it started  developing Kusmos live version thus turning any stream from home into a fantastic 3D show.

Contact

Website

Facebook| Instagram | Vimeo | YouTube

BUY US A COFFEE?BUY US A COFFEE?

The post KUFLEX appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

teamLab

Par : Marco Savo

teamLab (f. 2001) is an international art collective, an interdisciplinary group of various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, and the natural world.

teamLab aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art. In order to understand the world around them, people separate it into independent entities with perceived boundaries between them.

teamLab seeks to transcend these boundaries in our perception of the world, of the relationship between the self and the world, and of the continuity of time. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous, borderless continuity of life.

teamLab’s works are in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Asia Society Museum, New York; Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Amos Rex, Helsinki.

Contact

Website

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

The post teamLab appeared first on Audiovisualcity.

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