Situated in a 1.5 million square foot post office sorting facility, Day for Night orchestrated a two and a half day, all-you-can-handle festival full of music, live performances, and high quality digital art installations. In case you missed the first Day for Night post, check out my recap video here: www.gergwerk.com/day-for-night. In part II, lets explore some of the groundbreaking digital artists at Day for Night 2016. Although the line-up boosted a diverse collective of artists, I’m going to take a closer look at those that utilize technology in innovative ways.
ARCA hypnotizes. Blending heavy electronic sounds with dark hip hop vibes, ARCA co-produced seven tracks from Björk’s Vulnicura and contributed to Kanye’s Yeezus. Paired with ARCA’s tracks are astounding visuals by Jesse Kanda. Mirroring ARCA’s sound, Kanda’s visuals embrace the imperfect by presenting grotesque figures in order to question perception of beauty. The results are breathtaking.
Longtime friend and collaborator of ARCA, Kanda has created extraordinary visuals for FKA Twigs and Björk, as well as, exhibited at MoMA PS1 in 2013. A mix between Chris Cunningham and Phil Hale, Jesse’s hyper-real figures swell, twist, dance, and flux along ARCA’s unique sound.
Jesse’s latest project is a VR music video for Björk. After hearing her newest album, Vulnicura, Jesse Kanda wanted to “create something as intimate as possible because Vulnicura, the album, the whole album, is really one of the most intimate things that I’ve ever heard… The mouth, being Björk’s vessel from which she expresses her primary art, inspired me to try to do something with that.” – source. Here is the resulting video:
Jesse and his team built a 4 foot replica of Björk’s mouth and filmed inside it using 12 cameras to produce a 360º image. Meant to be viewed in VR, this larger-than-life immersive experience allows viewers to share an unsettling, intimate journey within Björk. See more behind the scenes photographs and read the full interview at Dazed Digital.
If you were lucky enough to secure a spot, Björk Digital exhibited a series of VR music videos for select ticket holders. This installation was a one of the major draws for the festival. People without tickets waited in a standby line for over 5 hours in hopes to get a chance to view the exhibit. I was unable to obtain a ticket, but luckily most of the experiences have been released online. Four VR videos in total, these 360º experiences range from listening to Björk sing while crawling in caves, (Black Lake), perform on a beach in Iceland (Stonemilker VR), travel from the depths of her throat (Mouth Mantra VR), and fly through the air while interacting with a procedurally generated Björk (Notget VR).
Here is a teaser for the fourth VR experience, Notget VR:
Notget was Analog’s first attempt at VR. According to their team in an interview, they utilized their usual tools like Houdini, Maya, 3ds Max, vray, and Zbrush. Imaginarium recorded Björk’s movements with motion-capture software. That data was used to re-build her performance in 3d to match her movements. Unlike the other Björk experiences which are video, Notget‘s content is drawn in real time, often having to hit 90 frames per second for a smooth experience. Below are some of the designs created by Analog.
Björk’s live performance on Sunday polarized the audience as she curated a DJ set from behind a row of potted plants. The performance was less about being seen and more about experiencing the music. Regardless if you liked her set or not, there is no denying Björk defies industry standards. She consistently pushes technology to its limits and is a consistent (yet unpredictable) creative visionary when it comes to live performances. It is refreshing to hear the wide range of eccentric sounds included in a set. Here is a mix she DJed for a Tri-Angles record party:
At recent performances, Björk has been notably wearing 3d printed masks. Some of the more technologically elaborate masks were designed by The Mediated Matter Group. Their printed mask project, Rottlace, explores Material Ecology, the practice of “operating between machine and organism.” According to the creators, “the series originates with a mask that emulates Björk’s facial structure and concludes with a mask that reveals a new identity, independent of its origin. What originates as a form of portraiture culminates in reincarnation.” Read an in-depth article about Rottlace over at Creators Project.
Internet sleuths put together the tracklist from Aphex Twin’s set before the weekend was over. Amongst all the madness, AFX released a mysterious 12″, specifically made for Day for Night. Only 500 were available. Someone uploaded the recordings from the special record within a day of its release:
It’s no surprise, Squarepusher’s performance was loud, fast, and highly energetic. His knack for combining epileptic visuals with pulsing audio is straight-up fun. In case you missed his Ufabulum tour, Squarepusher performed in front of a large LED wall while wearing a LED mask. I had the pleasure of experiencing this full performance at the Creators Project in San Francisco in 2012. Here is a clip from one of his tracks, Dark Steering:
LIMB & Eric Todd: OCTO (photo by Ismael Quintanilla)
Limb, local to Houston, performed a live set in the center of a compact room. OCTO utilized 8 full sized speakers placed in a circle around the perimeter of the room. This allowed the artists to sweep their energetic sound around the room at breakneck speed. While LIMB handled audio, Eric Todd managed audio reactive lights that hung above the audience. This performance was one of the highlights of the festival. If you’re still in HTX, keep an eye out for more shows. See below for a close look of the light panels.
Shoplifter: Ghostbeast (Image by Poonehghana)
Shoplifter uses hair as a medium and projects mesmerizing patterns on top of it. Like grass swaying underwater, psychedelic patterns dance around static, fur-covered structures. This installation brought out smiles in everyone. It was reminiscent of hot summer days running around the playground, rolling in grass while the intensity of the Houston sun beams vibrant sunspots into the backs of my eyes.
AV&C and Houze: Phases
Phases is a new immersive environment that utilizes robotic mirror arrays to fold complex light patterns into an evolving dimensional kaleidoscope. Thin strips of mirror rotate in and out of sync while projectors blast streams of light onto the moving panels. The result is a beautiful array of light patterns that spiral around the room. Check below for video footage and process behind Phases.
Michael Fullman of VT Pro: Bardo
Bardo is “an exploration of presence and absence in a non descript location, vectors of light track you through darkness.” One of the more popular installations, I felt as if I was experiencing digital divine intervention.
“NONOTAK studio is the collaboration between the illustrator Noemi Schipfer and the architect/musician Takami Nakamoto. In early 2013, they start to work on light and sound installations, creating an ethereal, immersive and dreamlike environment meant to envelope the viewer, capitalizing on Takami Nakamoto’s approach of space & sound, and Noemi Schipfer’s experience in kinetic visual” – snippet from NONOTAK.com
Their new work, Highline, utilizes 12 mirrored panels (arranged in a V) that are dissected by long led bulbs. In the image below, you can see a detail of this ingenious setup.
Additionally, NONOTAK had a live audiovisual performance called Shiro. Debut in Montreal’s very own digital art festival, MUTEK, this show was an instant hit.
United Visual Artists (UVA): Musica Universalis
No lack of talent from this group. UVA creates memorable installations with light. Musica Universalis was described as “a spacial instrument that investigates the resonances from far away objects in our solar system. Musica Univeralis is a series of kinetic, physical sculptures and is inspired by Pythagoras’ theory ‘The Harmony of the Spheres’. The sculptures each contain a spherical form and a mechanism driving a rotating light source and speaker. Light is cast through the space creating interventions and interactions with the architecture. – source
Hailing from Russia, the four members of Tundra used over a mile of wiring to power over 400 lasers. No small feat, these thin, red lasers dissected the room into segments. According to the creators, “the name [Outlines] has a strong meaning in Russian representing the idea of stepping out of an initial grid and rising above the fundamentals by trespassing your imaginary boundaries.” – source
Ezra, WebGL rockstar, used TouchDesigner to create his latest work at Day for Night. Unlike his work that is normally viewed on computer screens, Stream was projected over an 80 foot wall. In an interview with Derivative, Ezra talks about his process creating the work: “The piece takes in a camera feed and performs an optical flow algorithm on the feed to detect the motion of objects in the feed. It uses this optical flow to control a few things. It goes into a shader feedback loop that creates a textural “painting,” mixing together about 100 image textures which I’ve taken over the course of a few months living in NYC. This textural composition is fed into another shader feedback loop that performs a sort-of reaction diffusion system on it, whose direction and flow is controlled by the optical flow shader. The camera feed controls the color and flow, allowing you to “paint” with your body. Super excited for people to see how it looks!”
Whoa. Did you just read that all? Thank you for your attention. This is the end of a very fun, long journey to experience some amazing, innovative artists. Blind tickets for 2017 are already for sale. Standing for over 48 hours, sore knees, ringing ears, and little to no sleep—yeah I would do it all over again.
Now that the One World Trade Center is officially open, I can talk a little about my process for creating the designs! This project marks the first time I used Cinema 4D to create the visuals. The look of the water, map, globe, lighting, and pins were all created in C4D, while the typography and stat designs were created in Photoshop. Below is the breakdown of my process.
Experimenting using Cinema 4D to create a quick topography. _
Once narrowing down a good thickness and spacing for the pins, I used two depth maps to create the continents and ripples. A depth map is an informational image that changes the height between planes, all based on black, white, and grey values. White areas indicate where sections of the image will be raised up and black areas will remain lower. The ‘depth map for continents’ raises areas to create continents and the ‘depth map for pin ripples’ lifts elevations around Brazil, Europe, and Japan. Pro Tip: any area that is not 100% black or 100% white will cause the elevation in that area to be somewhere in between the highest and lowest point. In this case, our ‘pin ripple’ depth map is smooth gradient so the elevation falls off smoothly, causing cone-like shapes. _
Starting to add color, creating a low poly texture for the faceted oceans, and testing out placement of lights. In this rendering I’m using powerful lighting techniques called global illumination and ambient occlusion. This brings me to a very important point. If your graphics are going to be built to run in real time by a developer, work with them early in the project to make sure designs can be replicated in code. Cinema 4D is capable of very complex lighting, but there are a lot of cases when you can’t replicate it in code due to hardware and software constraints. In some instances, these effects can be replicated but it will drastically cut the frame rate in the build. Always consult your developers! After making these renders and talking with our developer Joel, I learned some of these lighting techniques aren’t practical for apps that are generated in real time. Lighting and camera setup. High school photography classes for the win!Globe view. The mountainous areas represent where most guests are visiting from since the opening of One World Observatory. To get this effect, I went back to using our good ol’ depth map technique.Lastly, I created a nebula-like background using Trapcode Form in After Effects. This will be tweaked and placed behind the globe for the big transition reveal._
Final Design (black space represents a hallway). Graphics were created in Cinema 4d, After Effects, and composited in Photoshop. Click images for larger detail:
Motion Graphic studies: Now that the designs are signed off from the client, it’s time to give the visuals some movement.
These first animations are tests for the stat ribbon. Stats update in real time based on live data being collected when tickets are scanned. While creating motion studies, I like to produce one direction with lots of complex movement and a second that is much more restrained. This allows our developers to start building the simpler version and add in additional flair if there is time.
Once tickets are scanned, country of origin labels will populate on the map. Some of these animations transition on at a harsh angle as a way to continue the faceted design language.
This is the Welcome Wall animation (area above the hallway) that greets visitors in a variety of foreign languages. These languages update in real time based on where people are visiting from. To continue with the OWO faceted design language, angular shapes and sharp shines reveal and hide images as a transitional approach.
And that’s it! I feel honored to have been a part of such a grand experience. I will leave you with an image taken by a visitor of the One World Observatory. To see the portfolio page for this project visit: http://gergwerk.com/portfolio/one-world-observatory/. Au revoir!Image by Edward Blake
Client: Hettama Group // Legends
Stimulant credit list:
Design Director: Nathan Moody
Art Director: Jules Konig
Design Lead // Motion Designer: Gregory Kaufman
Technical Lead: Joel Pryde
Project Manager: Julie Yamato
Quality Assurance Lead: Aron Schoppert
Lets take a look back at the work I was a part of in 2014.
First, a project that has won the top spot for best use of technology at the Event Design Awards 2014, the Genentech Pipeline Explorer. My role on this project was visual designer, motion designer, and post production. I also co-wrote a blog post that documents our process, which includes behind the scenes images and lots of project details.
Second, the interactive art installation for Decibel Fesitval called dBcube. This highly experimental four-sided interactive dance cube received tons of attention from festival goers. The USS Enterprise helmsman, George Takai, also had his turn.
A personal favorite of mine is an exhibit for the MOHAI museum in Seattle. The Launchpad uses interactive multi-touch mirrors, depth-sensing cameras, and a real time reactive particle system.
I had the opportunity to work on branding for my good friend, Noise Jockey. In his spare time, NJ is field recording, producing sound design, sound effects, and music. Here is the final logotype design lockup at the top of his website._
Reversed logomark options_
Alternative direction using Morse code as sound and visual symbol_
Alternative direction using a noise maker as main logo_
Color and layout exploration for logotype _
Sketch and type explorations
It’s not summer without a little camping. This year we hammer our stakes into
Orcas Island soil.
Camera: Canon 60D
Lenses: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS & 50mm f/1.8 II
Post: Premiere & After Effects
Audio: Aphex Twin – Iz Us
Typeface: Signalist by Mika Melvas
some summers consist of broken bones
Every Monday at work we talk about the movies that we saw over the weekend. Considering that I’m new, to catch up I was going to name all the movies that I have ever seen. Unfortunately that could take hours, perhaps days. Instead I created a list of my top ten movies of all time. This was not an easy task. I think I’m going to have to make other lists after this one. These are my top ten movies of all time according to the year they were released. What are your top ten?
A good friend of mine, who I basically grew up with, came to visit for the Google IO conference. I’m almost kicking myself for not going, mostly because all 5,000 people who attended also got a complimentary Samsung galaxy tablet 10.1. He was also one very lucky beta tester chosen for a limited edition Chrome OS laptop, the Cr-48. They are now releasing this device under the name Chromebook. Don’t know what a Chromebook is? Just watch this:
Luckily for me, my friend brought it with him to sf. Unlike the computer you’re probably reading this on, all content on this machine is held remotely. There isn’t even a desktop background on this thing. The Cr-48 has a 16GB hard drive which is only used as a temporary place to hold your data until you post it to the ‘cloud’. The first thing that I thought of when I heard this was where would I keep all the music I own? (most mp3 players, if not all new ones, hold at least 3x that amount!) “What about the music, man?” I ask. Well, good news. All that music that you have pirated purchased can now be held virtually by Google music beta. Well that’s all fine and dandy, but what happens when one doesn’t have access to the web? According to some guy named Chris who works on the music team at Google, “The songs you’ve recently played will automatically be available offline. You can also select the specific albums, artists and playlists you want to have available when you’re not connected.” (source)
Enough geek talk.
One of the highlights of having a visitor, and quite honestly one of the best places I’ve visited in sf, was taking him to The Exploratorium. Ever heard of it? Since everyone is going coo-coo for information graphics, here is a diagram that I ‘made’ of what the museum is like:
The Exploratorium made me feel like a little kid in a candy store. The first thing we did when we got there was watched the dissection of a cow’s eye. I knew right then and there that THIS PLACE WAS GOING TO ROCK. A small excerpt from their website, “The Exploratorium was the brainchild of Frank Oppenheimer. At various times, Frank was a professor, a high school teacher, a cattle rancher, and an experimental physicist. While teaching at a university, Frank developed a ‘library of experiments’ that enabled his students to explore scientific phenomena at their own pace, following their own curiosity.” It is basically a science museum filled with lots of hands on experiments and activities. There will be something here for everybody. Seriously, if you haven’t visited yet, you are missing out on some cool stuff. Just look at this place:
If you thought that was cool, wait until you experience the tactile dome. Imagine yourself squeezing and climbing through tunnels, tubes and up ramps with walls that are covered in all kinds of textured surfaces. Here are some images of the inside of the tactile dome:
Oh yeah, did I mention that you experience tactile dome in complete darkness? Whoa.
In conclusion, if you are even remotely close to the bay area, visit this place already. Here are some other pictures from The Exploratorium and the rest of the weekend.
Considering I can’t show much of the work I have been doing these days, here are some small design things I’ve been doing to keep my mind agile.
Remember that trip I took to South Africa for a video shoot? Well now you can see the final video that was produced there. Great job to Sunny&72 and HP for the end result! Watch the video below:
—These designs were for a friend who was working through an exhibition idea for a show that would have existed throughout the Bay Area.
Wedding invite and response card I did for Sarah
Perry’s Russell’s wedding late last year. That’s right, Sarah, I put up the version of the response card that should have been the final.
some house party flyers—
Well kids, that’s it for now. keepin’ it short and sweet.