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Tonight at 18:55 (UTC+2)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.BUY US A COFFEE?