RAPS Final Project

Title
UTOPIA|CHAOS|DISTORTION

Project Abstract
This is an audiovisual live performance piece which discusses people’s behavior in a highly organised society.

Project Description
This is a realtime audiovisual performance piece which discussed people’s behaviors in a highly organised society. We are questioning what would happen when people begin to overthrow this highly organised society, and what would happen when people fail and everything goes back to the normal state.
In the beginning of the piece, people behave normally. We used different perspectives and scenes of people walking around to show people’s life in a highly organised society. Gradually, everything enters a chaotic state, with people’s wish to overthrow the current society. People’s facial expressions go crazy, while the visual composition of also goes crazy. After the chaos, everything goes back to normal. People’s wish failed, and everything become distorted.

Perspective and Context
The form of our performance was inspired by the chapter of Granular Synthesis. Miki and I really like the /Modell 5 – Granular Synthesis/. So we made a lot of close shots of people.

In Miki’s post, she mentioned a lot about the message. I will add something about the content of video. The concept of walk and stand was inspired by some post modern performance art. We watched John Cage in class, which gave me a lot of inspirations. He walked around the stage and made some meaningless actions to make sound. In other post modern performance pieces, we can also see a lot of walk. I am curious about what walking means to people. Does it have a specific meaning? Or it’s just a normal daily action.

Development & Technical Implementation

Storyboard:
We brainstormed some key words and then made a list of content to shoot based on these keywords. We also created several storyboards for shooting.

Video Shooting:
We spent two days to finish our video shooting. The footages include facial expressions, legs with two shoes, running, throw shoes, walking, and a time-lapse video. We also recorded audio in different places.

Footage selection:
We selected some footages and categorised them into three folders: utopia, chaos and distortion. We also found some audio and video footages online.

Version Iterations:
For the first version, we created a simple patcher based on our footages and played with these footages and some color effects. We are not satisfied with the effects. After talking to Eric, for the second version, we played with some crazy Vizzie effects, including time effects, color effects and composition effects. And we also found better audios. We don’t want over-effects in the whole performance, so for the third version, we tried audio and effects with all of the footages, and decided only to use them for the second and third categories.

After figuring out transitions, we created presentation mode and assigned input signals to our MIDI controller. We distributed tasks and practiced together.

In the whole development process, Miki and I  worked together.

Code: https://gist.github.com/mikibinxue/d6e25701b71dd2e8c82fc22ceba7b2f8

Online Video Source:

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/person-walking-on-pedestrian-lane-857593

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/walking-on-the-street-857592

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/people-walking-857589

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/white-footwear-857834

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/white-sneakers-857849

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/black-and-white-sneaker-857581

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/person-walking-with-support-857812

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/man-crossing-the-street-857584

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/person-walking-on-pedestrian-lane-857593

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/busy-people-crossing-the-street-857586

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/black-and-white-video-of-people-853889

https://videos.pexels.com/videos/man-step-on-a-puddle-of-water-854031

Online Audio Source

Title: Kiasmos, Artist: Franq
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Franq/nx2016-01/nx2016-01_02

Title: Binary Dawn, Artist: Filmy Ghost + Peter Edwards Ambient
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Filmy_Ghost__Peter_Edwards_Ambient/

Title: Fuite En Tête, Artist: Ayato & Kecap Tuyul
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ayato__Kecap_Tuyul/When_we_talk_about_love_and_happiness/05_fuiteEnTte

https://freesound.org/people/2hear/sounds/317533/

https://freesound.org/people/tec_studio/sounds/98491/

https://freesound.org/people/Robinhood76/sounds/318900/

https://freesound.org/people/bsumusictech/sounds/62333/

https://freesound.org/people/klangfabrik/sounds/160001/

storyboard

video folders

max patch layout

presentation mode

Performance
The performance was good. I was responsible controlling audios while Miki controlled visuals. We were pretty nervous, but it didn’t hurt the performance. In the opposite, the performance was better than our rehearsals. One thing that could be stronger is how we distributed time to each sections. We could rearrange the time and give some sections more time.

Conclusion
This project was a good experience. I learned a lot through the whole process, from brainstorming to final performance. I realized it’s always good to start with a strong concept. And all of the video and audios should be guided by the concept. Besides, collaboration is also important. Teamwork makes production and performance much easier and more efficient. For performance, it’s always important to have rehearsals and practices. People can’t find the errors unless they do rehearsals and practices.

For our project, all of the sources are pre-recorded. It would be great if we can add some live elements next time, like live sound or body movements.

 

Final Project PDS

I designed a business card system for a flower studio. People can generate business card due to their own preference on the flower color.

In the beginning, I collected many realistic images in different colors:

I don’t like the feeling of collage. So I changed it into watercolor images:

 

I hope to haves three layers: leave layer, stem layer and flower layer. The second issue is all of the images would overlay with each other. It’s ok for leave and stem layers, but I don’t want flowers to overlay each other. I used Dan Shiffman’s No Overlay method to solve this problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XATr_jdh-44

For background, I used Perlin noise to make it look more dynamic.

This is what I got in the end:

 

code:

https://github.com/yamingxu/PDSfinalproject

slide:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1mjSIE-9iu40aBdXBy8E8dcevonnbC7VTpcbqcwzqjmo/edit?usp=sharing

RAPS response

I just found I posted this week’s assignment on last week, which I wrote a lot about the relationship between VJing, live cinema and audiovisual performance. In this post, I would write more on VJ culture and give some examples.

As I mentioned in my last post, I think VJing focuses on entertainment. VJ always coordinates with music in clubing or concert. People won’t go to concerts or clubs where only have visuals with no audios. In these situations, the relationship between visuals and audios is not an equal relationship. The main function of visuals is to make the whole experience more interesting and exciting. That’s why people call it “visual wallpaper”.

But I do think VJing makes the experience of clubing or concert more interesting. A lot of people perceive more information with sight compared to sound, and VJing works really well for them. I consider visual as assets in a performance. If we use them well, we could make the performance better.

The example of audiovisual performance artists could be Ryoji Ikeda, who does a lot of experimental audiovisual installations with data and sound.

 

RAPS Response

The article The Audiovisual Breakthrough (Carvalho & Lund, 2015) discusses VJing, live cinema and live audiovisual performance. Some commonalities between them are mentioned in the article. For example, all of them heavily rely on videos. Both VJing and live cinema can do narrative and storytelling. And all of them can be improvised.

But they also have a lot of differences. There’s one point mentioned in the article that I agree with a lot:

“We imagine that VJs would be more like commercial directors for hire, paid by the hour, dealing with second-hand material, willing to follow popular trends. Meanwhile, live cinema creators would occupy a place equivalent to that of lm auteurs, whose goals ‘appear to be more personal and artistic.'”

The purpose of VJing is mostly for entertainment or for fun, like concerts and clubs. The focus of the performance is on the audience, which means VJs would pay a lot of attention to please people. But live cinema is more artistic, the purpose of which is totally different. It’s more about expression, experiments, and statements. That’s why it’s easier for artists to do VJing compared VJs doing artistic work.

However, I think nowadays people are trying to combine them together. It’s becoming increasingly harder for people to tell if the artist is doing VJing or performance. Artists perform at live house, museum, and clubs. According to my limited experience, I think some artists are trying to create their own unique style so that people can remember them, which means they perform the same thing everywhere. In this case, how can we define which one is “visual wallpaper” and which one is art?

 

PDS Randomization

The left one is Josef Albers’ poster, and the right one is what I recreated. Instead of following the composition exactly in the old poster, I gave it more freedom by randomizing the width of different rectangle groups.

code: https://editor.p5js.org/DianaXu/sketches/HyxTIbeTQ

 

RAPS_Assignment 1

Response for #include red

I really like this project. When I first looked at it, I was attracted by the color and compositions. The compositions of the visuals have a strong artistic aesthesic, which reminds me of Piet Cornelies Mondrian‘ work. And the idea for this project is straigtingforward: explore “synaesthesia through the inherent frequencies within the visible spectrum and colour as a vocabulary”. When I watched the video, the whole idea was clear and powerful. The documentation video is really satisfying.

For this project, I think the artist used the frequency of sound to control the visible spectrum and the change of different scenes.

Response to Oscilloscpe Music:

All of the projects in the post are really cool. If I have to choose one I like the least, it might be Oscilloscpe Music. The project is really cool to me, but the audio and visual is not my aesthetic. Compared to shapes, I am more into compositions. Except that, the rest of the project is really interesting. The movement of the shapes fits the audio well and the variation of shapes is also interesting.

For this project, I think audio generates the shape in Max. And when the audio changes, the shape would also change.

Midterm Post

Title

Medium / Light by Diana Xu and Miki Bin

Project Abstract

This is a project that discusses how different medium(fog, metal, water, broken glasses) intereats with light and sound through Lumia machine and Max.

Project Description

This project is inspired by the idea of medium and substance. With the question if light can be defined as a substance, we begin to explore the relationship between medium, substance and light. It is also impired by the idea of synesthesia. The different sound effects in the music reminded us of different medium and substance. We combined all the elements we were concerned about and created this performance.

Perspective and Context

The idea was inspired Lumia from Thomas Wilfred. And the real-time video manipulation were inspired by the playful storyline structure by Walter Ruttman, the “Lichtspiele” Series.

Development & Technical Implementation

We started with experimenting different materials and lights.

We first tried colored acrylic and light from phones:

We also want to use color LEDs. But the light from LEDs was not strong enought to make the color of our painting go through the screen. So we decided to use reflective material instead of acrylic.

Then we began to build the Lumia machine.

The components:

The first image is all of the cables. The second image is the inside set up. We used three stepper motors to rotate the reflective materials (bottom of Coca cans). The speed of motors could be controled from Max. The third image is the outsite set up. And the last one is a webcam used to capture lights. We fixed the position of everything to make sure they won’t stopping working during the performace.

A short video of our Lumia machine:

Then we captured the lights and put them in Max. We also found some videos of medium that we need from Youtube.

Performance

We fixed the position of all of the electronic components, so we didn’t spend much time on setting up, which I am really happy with. But there were three things that we did’t expect to happen. The first one was we were not able to enter full screen mode of our projector. We solved it by dragging the screen manually. Another issue was the over-exposure of our light effect. This was because we didn’t rehearsal in dark environment, so we didn’t realize this lighting condition in dark area might lead to over-exposure. And the last one was sometimes our screen was too dark. The solution is mentioned in Miki’s blog post.

Graphical Score

Conclusion

I really like the theme and physical part of our project. However, I think there are some parts that could be stronger. We should make a detailed plan about the whole project in advance. We spent a lot of time making our Lumia machine, and had limited time to deal with it in Max. The visuals could be stronger, and we also need to do rehearsals in the performance environment next time.

Midterm Project

For my midterm project, I made logos for a dance crew called KumaKidz. They are an urdan dance crew with 18 people. They want new logos in black and white with less cartoon style and more simplicity. Here is their previous logo:

The logo I made:

 

And there are variations for each team members (see code below):

https://editor.p5js.org/DianaXu/sketches/B1J_lUXhm

some of the individual logos:

Their choreography always applies a lot of elements and variations, so I hope the logo could reflect their dance style. The straight lines here represent power in dance, and curves represent groove, rhythem and musicaility. The end of some strokes don’t touch each other, which represent isolation in dance. And the lack of strokes in individual logos represent their own strength and weakness. The shape of the strokes are inspired by a classic Chinese font called Songti. I hope to add some Chinese elements to the design, as street dance communities in China are trying to create our own street dance culture now.

Songti reference pictures: