On May 17, we paid a (surprisingly pleasant and handbasket-free) visit
to Hell – more specifically, to Dante’s Inferno, as one of the
Between May and September of this year,
the “Insectos” (a Barcelona-based theatre troupe) are organizing a
series of collaborative theatrical/performance events at the old
Fabra i Coats textile
factory (now art centre), one for each cantica of Dante’s Divina
Commedia, in which they
invite other artists to participate.
This first voyage, to Hell (Un
viatge a l’Infern in Catalan), included more than a dozen artistic
groups (musicians, sculptors, video artists, painters, dancers, actors
and more!), and lasted five hours on a Saturday evening.
We (the wú Collective) contributed live imagery using two different
versions of our Teatrillu software. For the event, we were fortunate
to be joined by illustrator Riki Blanco,
who provided graphical designs (drawings and cutouts) for us
One of our setups consisted in a “traditional” Teatrillu, making live
stop-motions and other animated effects under a webcam, based on
hand-made drawings and cutouts.
The output of these minimalist animations was
fed to a TV on the Insectos’ video wall, as well as to a makeshift
viewer we made out of an old wooden drawer, a tablet, a macro lens and
some cardboard and aluminum foil.
A second Teatrillu program received input from the first (over the
local network, using TCPSyphon), and
then manipulated it with further effects. Alex experimented with
projecting “my” world onto the pages of a book, at other times
masking it with hand-drawn (or infrared-projected)
shapes on a whiteboard, at others still adding little flames to all
It’s a little hard to describe – basically we played and
explored for five hours, adding our few small
drops of wú flavour into the overall cauldron of chaos.
One thing we missed was interaction with the other video groups and
painters – we’d hoped to send our outputs to others for further
manipulation, as well as receiving their feeds
(and hand-made imagery or even photo print-outs)
to use as source material. Hopefully in subsequent events this can
happen – in the end we mostly kept to our own little corner (of
hell). As often happens,
everyone was really busy getting their own things ready
until the last moment, and there wasn’t time to plan for more dynamic
interaction between groups, as everyone had hoped.
I made a compilation of various short movie clips I recorded, as we
worked our way through the nine circles of hell. Sorry about the
audio and video quality, they were just recorded with a little compact
camera, but it may give a vague idea of what we were up to that