Last year, as a member of the Barcelona Laptop Orchestra, I programmed on various pieces and helped prepare for our performance at Sónar (Barcelona’s annual International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art). However, in the end, a wedding in Canada (and “best man” responsibilities) forced me to miss taking part in the show.
But this year, fate came calling. More specifically, Sam at l’ull cec came calling, asking for help setting up Daito Manabe’s Sónar show on June 12. Daito is a renowned artist/programmer who also runs the Rhizomatiks design studio in Tokyo. He was featured in Apple’s “Thirty Years of Mac” web pages, and has done all kinds of crazy and cool projects.
The performance featured three dancers, three remotely-controlled flying drones, a wide-angle projector with depth sensor (for projection mapping onto the dancers), ten infrared tracking cameras, and a bunch of computers and other gear. Our contributions (as last-minute helpers) were limited: mounting IR cameras, wiring them to routers, taping down cables – whatever we could do to get things done in the tight schedule between other sound checks and performances. Meanwhile, Daito and Motoi worked like crazy to fine-tune their software and fix a wonky drone. And choreographer Mikiko and the three dancers from the Eleven Play dance troupe went through last-minute rehearsals.
To give an idea: the performance was (approximately) a mixture of this one – with three dancers rather than five:
…and this, with dancing drones – although because of technical issues, sadly at Sónar the drones danced alone:
I didn’t contribute much to the whole affair, but it was inspiring and a privilege to be able to take part and help out, even in a small way.