VIX Sound+Light+Motion

6. The Next Big Thing

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The Artist as a Futurist

I have lived in an age when technology has developed very rapidly and I have always been an early adopter. My work emerges from the nexus of Arts and Computer technology and I have created the term Integrated Media Artist to describe my artistic practice.

In 1984, I was working with the Alpha Syntauri sequencing system (MIDI came later)  on an Apple II+ and this pioneering work was the start of my fascination with making art with computers. In 1988, I was introduced to the internet by joining Peacenet and becoming active in the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Project. My first internet art project, a few months later, was taking my notebook computer to the Stein Valley Festival to collect messages for peace and greetings to Japanese collaborators that were posted on their usenet group. For more information about my credentials please see: About the artist, Victoria Gibson. Other individuals discovering the internet dreamed of riches and built malls, I dreamed of peace and developed art.

Now, I believe the Immersive Environment Instrument will bring the latest in technological advancements into the realm of artistic performance production. I am hesitant to post exact technical specifications due to the unpublished nature of my research and it is impossible to upload surround audio, so this page uses my abilities as a writer and photographer to get you excited about this vision of the future. There are audio examples of my work that will be posted in stereo.

The photo below was taken in 2009 at the Drum&Light Festival with visuals by VJs Jason White of Honey Bee Visuals and Brian Johnson using video and animation mixing software. The projection at left was on a mesh curtain that periodically covered the Hard Rubber Orchestra, led by John Korsrud. The Tomorrow Collective, the young ladies in white on the riser, provided the movement. This is an example of projections used in contemporary music performance in a “rave” style of atmosphere. I love the abstract forms, but for my IEI, I will be projecting visuals that are more then a pretty accompaniment to a musical performance. My goal is to engage the audience in a non-linear narrative directed and conducted by the dance-like motions of the performer.

Photo Credits: Victoria Gibson

The next image is a photo of Hari Dono, visual artist, and gamelan and puppetry specialist Pak Sutrisno’s collaboration at the Western Front in 2007. Both Indonesian artists are well known in their country of origin. To the right is a large red puppet/mask covering up a performer and to the left is a robot puppet/mask controlled by Hari Dono. This performance used oversize mask/puppets, dance and projections combined with Indonesian shadow puppetry to deliver a message through non-linear narrative.

The many multi-media shows I have attended and photographed, a few of which are shown on these pages have led me to believe that the Immersive Environment Instrument is the next step in performance evolution. Contemporay music, dance, poetry and theatre performance is usually accompanied by visual projections resulting in a merger or integration of media.  As an Integrated Media Artist, I believe it is time to develop an instrument that uses all of these elements to create a rich cinematic texture.

Photo Credit: Victoria Gibson

The usual application of projection screens in popular music is to enlarge the tiny performers in large concert venues. This show by the Rolling Stones is the pinnacle of huge production with a concert venue that took days to build. I was crew on the show, in Vancouver as many local technicians were called in to assist in mounting the spectacle.

Yet all they are doing with the screen is live streaming of the musicians on stage, the images amplify the present action without any reference to past or future events.

The Future of Performance

The Immersive Environment Instrument will start on a much smaller scale, but it will utilize the cinematic qualities of the multiple projections to engage the audience in a non-linear narrative.

In film and print, as in life, flashbacks to previous related experiences are common and help to explain why a character is acting in a certain way. Glimpses of the future or possible futures, are also provided in some cases, as the ghosts provided alternative future possibilities in Dicken’s tale, A Christmas Carol, or in the more recent film, Donnie Darko, which explores non-linear narrative. The number of films that move in non-linear fashion through past, present and future are probably a lot more numerous than those that do not. The flashback is a staple of movie and video scripting, so I will not dwell on further examples.

As movies developed from books and plays, the Immersive Environment Instrument is the next step in the evolution of entertainment technology and artistic expression. I believe this is true because it takes advantage of emerging technologies to combine the best of existing contemporary performance with new methods of application by a seasoned, focused performer.

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