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  Dec.30.13 Week52

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Week 52 marks the closing of 2013 which has proven to be a dynamic and formidable year steadily punctuated with milestones and achievements from you, our brilliant community! We leave you with this overview from the last 7 days and look forward to 52 brand new weeks in 2014. Happy New Year to all!

Projection Advertising's Nissan Leaf Installation Let's go for a drive with Projection Advertising's new car simulator... Richard Burns tells us: "TouchDesigner was used to bring data in from the car via serial, then we had our own car controller component...and a collision detection system we built." The project is featured in the January Issue of Computer Arts Magazine, transcript and images here.

New Work From New Zealand This week we were very pleased to learn of 2 new TouchDesigner projects produced by individuals collaborating admirably from opposite sides of New Zealand's North Island. We spoke with Oliver Ellmers, a contractor at Storybox and Puck Murphy about these projects.

Patrick Lechner's qua4 The latest real-time generative audio-visual composition from Patrik Lechner qua4 premiered in Vienna at the Velak Gala earlier this month. qua4 consists of a sequence of recorded realtime TouchDesigner works, edited in TouchDesigner with more realtime "stuff" added over top. The remarkable audio tracks are also realtime improvisations cut together.

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  Dec.23.13 TouchDesigner in New Zealand with Oliver Ellmers and Puck Murphy

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This week we were very pleased to learn of 2 new TouchDesigner projects produced by individuals collaborating from opposite sides of New Zealand's North Island. We spoke with Oliver Ellmers, a contractor at Storybox and Puck Murphy who works independently as well as at Perceptual Engineering (whose fine work we will be featuring next year) about their collaboration on The Contact Energy Pedal for Prizes Installation. The second project, Ukaipo - O Tatou Whakapapa is an interactive touchscreen built in TouchDesigner for the Hawkes's Bay MTG produced by Storybox. We hope you enjoy, and to other NZders reading this both Oliver and Puck urge you to get in touch!

Oliver Ellmers: I first found TouchDesigner a little over a year ago while studying interactive design papers at Victoria University's School of Design. Since then, I have pretty much been using it for all audio visual or interactive jobs or projects that come my way. Quite often I find TouchDesigner useful for non-real time compositing and post production applications when working with animation and video, to add that little bit of extra spark to elements - whether it be taking advantage of its real time GLSL prototyping post effects or taking advantage of the Operators for quickly drafting compositing techniques.

Puck Murphy: I discovered Touchdesigner shortly after taking 'The Time Machine' for spin in 2011 (at that point I had been using MaxMSP for the data wrangling / triggering etc.) Coming from about 15 years of VFX and compositing, primarily using Autodesk's FLAME, TouchDesigner's nodal work flow was instantly understandable and i got to the 'jamming' part of the learning curve really fast. The first full project I rolled out on TouchDesigner was 'An Interactive Earth', with Jon Baxter at Perceptual Engineering, since then there's been a steady flow of ideas, opportunities and projects that have opened now that I/we have TouchDesigner in the tool belt. It has been great to find a program that can handle constant changes in the design brief right up the last minute while still loading up and doing the same thing today as it did yesterday. With the help of an awesome support team I've been able to say 'Yes' to any challenge that comes up! Loving the possibilities for the future...

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  Dec.13.13 Week50

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Week in review featuring developing and newly-published work from the community:

Plastikman at the Guggenheim: "James Turrell isn't the only artist who can make the Guggenheim glow." says the New York Times. This newly-released video gives an intimate view into Richie Hawtin and team's production of a new Plastikman show for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum last month. Enjoy!

Digital Immersion: Ever wonder about the traces we leave behind, especially the ones we can't see? As part of his BFA thesis show at Clemson University, Nate Newsome offers a very convincingly visualized interactive piece that considers the digital remnants of our interactions with technology.

Reverse Osmosis is Glasspiel Creative's interactive installation video-mapped sculpture controlled by a Leap Motion sensor. The generative audio and the visual programming was created with TouchDesigner and the sculpture made by Paolo Garau using parts of abandoned cars. The interactive installation was created for the exhibition This Is Rome -two days of art, music and installations attended by over 10,000 people. See also: Interactive Design

 

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  Dec.06.13 Week49

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Here is our weekly update of new and developing work from the community featuring:

- Leviathan showcases its innovative Ghost Box experiment.
- WhiteVOID's GRID at takes center stage at Fête des Lumières in Lyon this weekend.
- The M Machine's Andy talks about the groups live visual set-up and how TouchDesigner was used.
- Richard De Souza shares his visulas for the Stereosonic tour and other TouchDesigner work.


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  Dec.03.13 Week48

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A big week with two TouchDesigner projects covered by The Creators Project: THE VOID from the collective TUNDRA (also at Fast Company and CDM), and Fractoid 2.1 a collaborative sculpture by artists Gabriel Pulecio and Michael Russek. Also: Sila Sveta reveals their BMW X5 Moscow Launch trailer, we finally get a peek at Obscura Digital's Flying on Water an Interactive Projections & Educational Exhibit for the oldest international sailing yacht match race and a new movie for the 360° immersive dome performance DROMOS surfaces reigniting all sorts of interest.


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  Nov.15.13 Patrik Lechner's Relentlessly Non-linear, Fully Generated Universe

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There's an authenticity to Patrik Lechner's generative audio-visual compositions that is deeply and persistently gripping. With each work published over the last couple of years Patrik has had us increasingly intrigued by his processes, methodology and influences. Some weeks ago we posed a few opening questions of Patrik who responded in generous detail starting with the declaration: "I'm in love with TouchDesigner!"

Attributing a central principle based on iteration and improvisation to his work Patrik expresses a strong aversion to linear editing tools (which for him places what is lively in an aesthetic in danger of being deadened). He goes on to describe a very dynamic practice that requires (a) first building modular tools to create the work - without getting indefinitely lost in tool-building and (b) producing work that is as unrehearsed as possible, procedurally. The work speaks for itself but what Patrik shares below adds volumes to the conversation and satisfies much of our curiosity. Interesting and strongly recommended reading for all of our users, we think you'll appreciate!




start here: experimental electronic music > freedom in improvisation > synthesize anything you can imagine > confronting self with self > understand what you're doing > generate everything

I'm 27 years old and actually come from experimental electronic music. I started making music when I was 16 because I saw some kind of freedom in art, and especially in improvisation. At that time I was playing around with an electric guitar, but I soon discovered electronic music, which to me, seemed to mean total independence and freedom of expression because you could simply synthesize anything you can imagine.

Sitting in front of fruity loops I soon got frustrated and dove into Reaktor, into pure data and finally Max MSP. Since that time I am waking up with Max (I programmed an alarm clock to play random mp3s) and go to sleep with it. For me as a musician this seemed to be the perfect environment. Also from that time on I decided to nearly exclusively work with synthetic sounds that I made myself. I nearly never use samples that I or somebody else recorded with a microphone. The idea simply is to confront myself with myself and as few other aesthetic influences as possible while working on something, and try to really work from the ground up, trying to always understand what I'm actually doing. That may sound stupid and I'm not saying it's great, it's just how I work and I learned a lot by doing it that way. I guess that is the reason why I only generate geometry inside TouchDesigner and don't use any pre-rendered material. I find it simply more interesting to work in this procedural way than to model something in every detail.

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  Nov.03.13 VolvoxLab's Super-Connected Highly-Configurable dd OUTPOST

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dd:OUTPOST _ Personalized Environment

We created a fully integrated, personalized visual system built from the ground up, including projection mapping on geometrically faceted bar, programmed user-interactive LED wall, an interface that pulls in real-time Twitter and Instagram feeds, that users can control interactively. The whole system is situated within a functional and modular interior design. VolvoxLabs [VVOX]


We spoke to VVOX Co-founder, Kamil Nawratil about a new media project involving lumens, data, physical architecture and some seriously agile thinking recently produced by the team for client Digital Dumbo, a collective of startup and local businesses based in Brooklyn's DUMBO district. We wrote about the Brooklyn-based VVOX not so long ago when Kamil's graduate work at the School of Visual Arts—SVA, in New York The Perception of Consequence (which included masterful constructions both virtual and physical) caused quite a stir. We weren't the only ones to find relevance in the team's latest achievement and to think it even precedent-setting. In a world or connected people, places, and things where work, play, and colaborating in 'blended', data-enhanced environments are vital to productivity, VVOX's interpretation of what that space can be is well-considered and adroitly implemented. Peter Kirn at CDM puts it well in his article Not Just Mapping, Reshaping: VVOX on Projection for Personalizing Architecture, Space:

"Light on its own can be a powerful medium for transforming a space. When that light is formed into an image, the customization is as fluid as pixels on a display. So, there’s a reason we hear terms like “responsive architecture” or even “interactive architecture.” We may see environments become as changing as the computer before our eyes. The question is, how, exactly?"

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  Oct.15.13 Moment Factory's Mastery of Temporary Play Space

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Montreal-born-and-based studio Moment Factory is a prolific producer of innovative new media events, shows and installations the world over. Luminaries in the field, they are a multifaceted company whose work invariably enriches urban spaces and culture, often shaping our expectations of future experience.

Part of what makes Moment Factory so successful is that they encourage staff to work with whatever tools they find best-suited for a particular project. It's a noteworthy and remarkably open approach to running a studio that lowers barriers, encourages cross-pollination and of course, promotes creativity and productivity.

How to Destroy Angels, Tour 2013 (All images courtesy of Moment Factory)

"We were following TouchDesigner's development for a long time and were convinced of the power and creativity of the tool at a MUTEK workshop in 2012. In parallel, the X-Agora software team was working with Derivative on the possibility of sharing video textures between software applications in real-time. This opened up a world of possibilities for Moment Factory's interactive designers and developers. The tool, once used only for prototyping purposes, is now the obvious choice for generative content production on most of our projects around the world. Some renowned features by the team are the modular, in-depth control over performance, 2D/3D/OpenGL tools and advanced scripting possibilities. TouchDesigner has proven its potentials."

Marc-André Baril, Interactive director

Four recent Moment Factory projects put TouchDesigner to rigorous use: Trent Reznor's first tour of How To Destroy Angels as well as a second massive visual show for NIN's festival tours, the interactive installation Mégaphone in Montreal and last but not least, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) a remarkable example of integrating immersive multimedia in public space and the largest system of its kind in any airport in the Americas. We're thrilled to be involved and very excited to share this spectacular and far-reaching work with our readers. Enjoy!

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  Oct.01.13 Bot & Dolly's Magic Box and the Great Escape

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Bot & Dolly is a design and engineering studio specializing in automation, robotics and filmmaking. Central to their craft are sophisticated industrial robots, unshackled from the factory floor, set free on the likes of movie sets to manipulate lights, actors, cameras and set pieces with the most precise, coordinated and complex motions that are also infinitely repeatable. The magic in their world unfolds in real time where an unprecedented level of precision and predictability allows virtuality and physicality to meet and synchronize perfectly on a live set. As can be imagined there's enormous value in any one of these things and combined the possibilities are quite staggering. To the point, it's not surprising that Bot & Dolly's motion-control system IRIS (used here) was used extensively in the filming of Alfonso Cuarón's upcoming thriller Gravity. More on that later.

We've seen this team do some pretty fantastic work - many 'firsts' - where TouchDesigner has been involved but released today, Box, a live performance film where for the first time ever robots, actors and 3D projection mapping perform in sync on a live set transcends what we've seen to date. In short, it's revolutionary. With this latest proof of concept, two years in the making, Bot & Dolly have taken the old adage of thinking out of the box about as far as you can go by getting rid of the box altogether.

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  Aug.12.13 Front Pictures and the FULLDOME Experience

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Front Pictures, a studio founded in Kiev, Ukraine in 2003 has been perfecting Fulldome environments with TouchDesigner to create some very convincing immersive experiences. The studio's work was recently brought to our attention by digital artist Andrey Yamkovoy who is also a TouchDesigner specialist at Front Pictures. The team of sixteen led by Yuri Kostenko (Head of Studio) and Vitaly Slyusarenko (Technical Director) are driven by a love for high-tech creativity which has led them to specialize in developing "next media solutions" which includes programming, interactive design, video production, and hardware engineering.

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  May.23.13 The Multi-sensory, Data-driven World of Lukasz Furman

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Inter Audio Mapo Akcjonizm / Inter Audio Map Act

i.a.m.a is a sensory multimedia installation. It associates multiple virtual areas controlled by tools and behaviors, both real and interactive. It is a mix of the virtual and the real, a quasi-holographic simulation that is mapped, animated and cinematographically rendered in real time. The installation gives you the ability to control but also has its own independent characteristics resulting in a curvature of reality and psychedelic states. The room is completely filled with the image and the projection itself becomes something more than what is actually shown to the audience. Additionally, the area out of sight is also being filled out. The recipient unknowingly introduces interactions in each and every move. This involves the position of the controller (ipad), independent sliders (TouchOSC application) and recipient’s own position in the xyz axes (Kinect).

Intermedia: Using or involving several media simultaneously; multimedia. Origin: 1960's (Dictionary.com)

An Intermedia student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Lukasz has been using TouchDesigner for just under a year and in that time has created an intriguing and investigative body of work. Much of this work is based on taking data from almost everything around him (to which Lukasz admits being 'addicted') and then using this data to build experiments using TouchDesigner. Virtuality and reality factor heavily in these experiments as does creating circumstances that actively illicit participation from interactors (vs. viewers).

Lukasz tells us he believes TouchDesigner to be the best tool for Intermedia students where the subject of transforming data is central to the spirit of Intermedia itself. He says "there are many tools you are supposed to know in our program but TouchDesigner puts that all together in one and gives you an extra gate to go outside with your imagination. I can call it 'extra tool'."

Dinner by Candlelight Logic

What Lukasz likes most about TouchDesigner is the option to "rebuild reality inside a computer and after that to be able to rewrite it again." If this or any of the above statements need clarification we believe the following conversation with Lukasz alongside his TouchDesigner explorations will make clear. Enjoy!

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  May.22.13 AdCubes: Pop-Up Video-Mapping from Projection Advertising

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Projection Advertising's AdCubes is an easy-to-setup video-mapping installation based on a stacked box structure. The cubes can display various forms of video such as a pre-rendered content, audio reactive scenes and social media elements such as tweets.

The ideaology behind the installation is to create a no-fuss approach to mapping for corporate parties and conferences whilst maintaining the same levels of control one would expect to see within a live show. The control panel system contains all of the tools needed to run this from calibration of the projection through to moderating incoming tweets in realtime and is designed to be used by the less tech-savvy with calibration taking no more than ten minutes even for a first time user.

Projection Advertising is a UK-based studio who specialize in projection solutions. They offer a comprehensive range of services and products including large-format building projections, interactive floors, touchscreen tables and an "exclusive sound-reactive video-mapped projection installation that can incorporate live Twitter and photo feeds" called AdCubes which is built in TouchDesigner. We were very excited when a couple of months ago Richard Burns (TouchDesigner specialist and the maker of our tutorial videos) joined the Projection Advertising team.

What follows is a recent dialogue with the Projection Advertising crew about how they have been using TouchDesigner for product development.

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  May.17.13 Volvox Lab's Dynamical Systems and the Perception of Consequence

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"Perception of Consequence" is an installation by Kamil Nawratil that places a custom-fabricated wave-like structure within the space as a 3D surface for the stereoscopic projection of fluid form animations (pictured above). Surround-sound and control-activated fans strategically placed around the installation coupled to the movement of virtual cameras control wind direction and intensity working to immerse the viewer in the system. TouchDesigner is used as the playback platform for sound, stereoscopic imagery and to sync and control physical environment elements via Arduino. "It is like the central executive processor, similar to the part of the system like the human brain that controls, plans and coordinates all other parts." Kamil adds.

The project represents the consequence and constraints of motion set by the rules of physics. Two fluid-evolving forms are placed in a reversible entropic system and simulated to resemble evolving human states and emotions. The system itself evolves from organic form into chaos while its cyclical nature guides it towards rebirth.

Starts here: "I'm a MFA Computer Art student at the School of Visual Arts NYC. We are looking for a TouchDesigner teacher for an Independent Study program for the fall 2012 semester. Can you recommend someone?" was our initial email introduction to Kamil Nawratil, art director at VolvoxLabs.

The request was intriguing and as luck would have it, Alex Czetwertynski (a Houdini and TouchDesigner artist specializing in content creation and technical design) was in the process of relocating to New York from LA and keen to teach TouchDesigner. Kamil and fellow student Rodrigo had been inspired by Amon Tobin's ISAM and were curious about its workings. In the caliber of ISAM's visual control they saw a future for their own projection and visual projects. A little research led them to organizing for Barry Threw of Obscura Digital to give a talk at SVA about his work with TouchDesigner. "After that we were hooked and convinced to secure the 4 month independent study." says Kamil "The rest is all love!"

Reality shifts: Following the SVA program, VolvoxLabs quickly and fluently integrated TouchDesigner into a number of projects. Then a couple of weeks ago Kamil's Perception of Consequence came into the world and it was one of these rare moments that felt like reality was knocked fractionally off its axis. It is a visceral work that succeeds in channelling and manipulating primal forces inherent to natural systems - like entropy and chaos - through orchestrated technologies and elements designed to draw viewers into active participation in a physical, multi-sensorial experience.

Kamil describes: This piece puts forth the question of how we perceive the world around us. It is an attempt to realize the connection between systems like that of nature and humans, using frameworks such as Jungian and Freudian analysis and the law of thermodynamics. The vision is to integrate the viewer into the environment and toy with the balance between organic and artificial, chaos and equilibrium. The result I hope, is technology that touches upon something innately human.

What impresses me most about TouchDesigner is the seamless role that it plays in this piece by coordinating all aspects of playback and control over the environment and sound. I am able to create a more overwhelming and immersive experience for the viewer by wirelessly controlling fans placed strategically around the installation. An animation curve synced with the virtual world is assigned to each fan. Connection with Arduino and servos was also a breeze using the serial node. I am also super happy with the control over the stereoscopic projection. TouchDesigner allows me to readjust the convergence and color in real-time. All these features significantly eliminate going back and forth between multiple packages.

This project was developed in completion for Kamil's MFA graduate degree at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the installation will be on view at the SVA gallery in NYC between May 18 - June 1

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  April.17.13 TOUCHDESIGNER WORKSHOP VIDEOS at RESONATE 2013

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Photo: Resonate

The 3 days in Belgrade that are the Resonate Festival are perhaps the most intensely packed and compressed segments of time imaginable. They seem in the moment to flash by in an epic and chaotic blast of inspiration and then to linger for days, weeks and it now seems likely, months after-the-fact as its implications are processed and absorbed.

For those who are not familiar with this relatively new festival, Resonate's mission statement is "Bringing together artists to drive a forward-looking debate on the position of technology in art and culture" and that the festival is a "platform for networking, information, knowledge sharing and education. It brings together distinguished, world class artists with an opportunity of participating in a forward-looking debate on the position of technology in art and culture."

Impressively Resonate does exactly this and more, providing a rich medium for quite possibly the most nascent and fertile ideas, ruminations and combinations thereof from innovators and practitioners in fields that are often borderline emergent themselves.

And all of this takes place in many languages in an environment completely lacking in artifice, conservatism and/or corporate over/undertones. It is a dynamic, open, generous, celebratory and absolutely cacophonic 3 days of learning and in many ways, of shedding and un-learning. As Greg J. Smith so aptly puts it in the program's introduction, Resonate is "The Best Kind of Noise". It would be nice come to think of it, if there was a "Resonate Filter" to apply to one's work throughout the year - perhaps this is it.

Photos: Resonate

So, we felt enormously fortunate and excited to be here, participating at the invitation of Filip Visnjic, Resonate's co-founder and curator, a veritable tour-de-force who is also in practice architect, new media technologist, editor-in-chief at CreativeApplications.net, lecturer...

The opportunity also, to meet in person people from the community we'd only known virtually and many others who we did not know at all was hugely exciting. The atmosphere as can be imagined was intensely buzzing and also highly conducive to exploring, working and learning. Like every single person in attendance, we made the most of it!

From Derivative, Markus Heckmann, Greg Hermanovic and Isabelle Rousset were joined by Obscura Digital's Barry Threw and Dmitry Napolnov of Sila Sveta who graciously brought their considerable expertise to the workshop we delivered the first day of the festival. Denis Akopov - also of Sila Sveta - was on hand providing support and assistance taking some candid photos of the on-goings as well.

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  Mar.04.13 PIXELUX Studio's Pedal-Powered Interactive MAGIC Cube

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The Magic Cube | Interactive and Generative Installation
(Video | Sound |Light)

The magic cube is a graphic monolith made from a mysterious scattering and glowing matter. Placed around it are 28 bicycles connected to the core, the graphic engine.The speed and the stamina of the 28 riders produce a data stream with a unique pattern that generate the graphic, animation and sound layers in real-time. It's just a 3 minutes ride to reach the level of pure energy, "white matter"!

Each bicycle supplies a digitized signal that is streamed to the main application. Everything is done with TouchDesigner: graphics, animation, particle and physics, shading GLSL, rendering, programming, light control (DMX), sound modulation (a bridge with Ableton Live).

The main challenge was to render a generative and 360° seamless graphic texture. Each bike's data flow is processed individually and as a group to modulate a different generator thus creating different levels of graphics that are set according the main timeline.

A sequence of 240s drives the rise of the energy until the climax at which point the cube becomes pure energy, lighting up the statue of Louis XIV and a burst of fireworks rewards our riders.

The visual elements have been designed to fit the optical properties of the Magic Cube: light scattering, mapping, resolution, glowing....

Credit :
Concept / Set Designer : Gilbert Moity
Graphic design and programming : Xavier Gruchet (Pixelux Studio)
Sound Design : Ben Vedren

www.pixelux.tv


The Magic Cube is an engaging and impressive achievement from Xavier Gruchet of Pixelux Studio which was produced by putting TouchDesigner to extensive and inventive use. We had quite a few questions for Xavier who was kind enough to take the time to give us a detailed account of how the Magic Cube was made. Very inspiring work, read on!

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  Mar.02.13 Dev Harlan's Cascading EON SURF

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Untitled (Eon Surf), 2012

"Eon Surf", 2012
Christopher Henry Gallery, Sept-Oct. 2012
Dimensions: 22.5' x 14' x 12'
Foam, Wood, Video Projection

"As Dev's second solo exhibition with Christopher Henry Gallery the work continues to build on a visual language rooted in ideal geometries, and a prismatic interplay of light and pattern. The cascading faceted surface carries an implied motion, rolling away from the spectator with meditative ease. This energy potential is given breath by luminescent washes which crash, ebb and flow with internal symmetry.

While best understood directly and perceptually, Dev's work presents an infinitely reproducible formal structure and lucid logic that can be known universally without empirical knowledge. Light and projection become representative of perceptual knowledge by directly invoking temporal optical phenomenon, but a pure idealized form remains intact. It is this interplay that reproduces the sublime conflict in the viewer, who must choose to ride this crest uncertainly and find exhilaration in the balance."

Untitled (Eon Surf), 2012

Dev Harlan took the time on a flight to Bangkok this week to tell us a bit about the making of the spectacular Eon Surf, his most recent and also his largest work to date.

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  Feb.26.13 Keeping in Real Time with PETER METTLER and MIXXA

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There's a short sequence near the end of Canadian/Swiss filmmaker Peter Mettler’s new documentary feature film The End of Time that received significant media attention even before the film had its North American premiere at TIFF in September. The sequence which has also been called a “synapse-fryer” (Scope) was described by the Hollywood Reporter as a “sustained experiment in pure audio-visual abstraction, a dazzling montage of symmetrical shapes and overlapping patterns set to pulsing electronic music.”. The 8 minutes of film in question is created with Mixxa, the massively flexible HD video mixing tool built entirely in TouchDesigner by Derivative founder Greg Hermanovic.

The End of Time Trailer
Segment, The End of Time Mixxa Sequence

Since 2002 Peter has gravitated towards mixing images to electronic music in live settings, exploring ways to perfect their performance by working with various combinations of tape, video mixers and playback machines. Then 5 years ago at a party where they were both mixing visuals Peter met Greg. Sharing the same passion for the craft and it’s actualization they hit it off immediately with Peter quickly becoming the most ambitious and prolific user, and in a sense, co-developer of Mixxa. The rest, as they say, is history.

This article includes an interview with Peter who kindly made the time to speak with us the day before The End of Time’s TIFF premiere. Following Peter’s interview is another with Greg who sheds insight into the design, evolution and raison d'être of Mixxa, in the process also recounting the developments and advancements in technology that have brought us to this point in time and tools. Together, what Peter and Greg disclose traces a substantial part of the history of Vjing and tells the compelling story of what drives the desire to mix images to music LIVE.

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