Mosquito Massala at Schmiede 2015
This September saw us at Schmiede Art Residency in Austria.
For 10 days our vocabulary extended to include spaces such as Upper Wood, Lower Salt, Boiler, Miner and more. Schmiede is in an old salt refinery, with a maze of levels revealing the hollowed archways of the basements below and the lofty Tower above. The staircases when traversed, led to a room of machines, or to Game Labs, to Electronics mixed with Textiles, to Robot Wars and a host of other exciting happenings.
We setup our workspace in a dark corner of the Lower Salt Room.An Origami Bird Mandala started to grow in spirals on the wall.
An interactive Video Feedback animated our corner, and a Video Tattoo setup invited artists and visitors to participate, wherein we projected video skins onto them and composed Portraits of them.
In Lower Salt the repository of crystals of salt inspired a Live Projection Mapped Dance Performance on the Salt itself. In collaboration with Smiths Andy, Heidi and Darren, we used the Kinect to map the depth of the salt along Heidi’s movements across the salt. With a projector fixed at a height, we created content which was choreographed with the story, and projected with Resolume during a live performance.
We also worked on the light design and space for Smith Ana Mrovlje’s PEACEstool. A stool she made entirely with bullets. Filled with stories of how she brought the bullets from East Europe, she discussed the duality of our hands-which we use to Pray, and the same hands to shoot or kill. A “Peace Stool” or “Pistol”? Working with such incredible people is a true testament to the space that Schmiede creates for artists to explore and interact and create conversations through art.
We also joined with the Cinema Vertigo team to create Digital Puppets and play with a new form of Live Cinema. We took photos of the textures from the building, the machinery parts, and the structures of the architecture. Looking at the idea of in-situ, we then used elements from this library of photos, to make our puppet: Rook. The Golem.
This aesthetic was then used consciously by our character design Team to make all the final characters with a homogenous look and feel.
A team of people worked on creating the backdrop for the scenes of a Story. They made sets of fore-grounds, mid-grounds, and backgrounds which could be cycled in on a click. Since the story was not written, but played more with improvisation, two people dedicated themselves to the role of actors.
The Cinema Vertigo team used VVVV to create a model skeleton of the puppets, which could be controlled with a midi-Device (in this case Leap Motion). The two actors honed the skill of the movements of hands along different axes to move the digital puppets. A small box lit evenly, acted as a green screen. The Audience could place any object into the box, and it would click a photo of the object and introduce it on the screen. The actors would then improvise based on the new object. Smith Michael, a mathematician with his “Little bits” Arduino quartz composer; and Smith Haydee an electronic live musician, collaborated to bring a Live Soundscape to this cinema of digital puppets. The objects, characters, sets, sounds, and the live interactions of the audience made the “Cabinet des Marionettes” into a new form of storytelling itself.