8=8 is a group of four programmers = four performers = four artists. We each built our own program for my Hypertable platform, then created a program that would group them together for a public performance. The performers/programmers/artists = Naoyuki Tanaka a.k.a. Nao, Pierre-Erick Lefebvre a.k.a. JankenPopp, Thomas Michalak a.k.a. TM, and me. All of us are or have been a part of the Atelier Hypermedia
Ok, so 8=8 has returned back from Nantes. Despite extremely poor conditions, we actually rocked the house. Don’t just take my word for it. Yeasterday, Marie Lechner wrote on 8=8’s performance in Libération and seemed quite happy with us. You can read the original article here: Nantes bombardé d’électro. Here is an excerpt of the part about us:
“Mécaniques infernales. On aurait aimé voir dans le [Scopitone Soir] 8 = 8, un dispositif où sons et images sont générés simultanément par simple déplacement des mains au-dessus d’une table basse. Pour découvrir l’instrument audiovisuel imaginé par Douglas Edric Stanley, il fallait se rendre aux Ateliers et Chantiers de Nantes qui accueillent le Scopitone «jour» et son lot d’ateliers et d’installations interactives. Assis autour de cette hypertable, avec trois autres performeurs (TM, Nao, JankenPopp), ils activent des univers punkoïdes, entre Donkey-Kong distordu, match de foot abstrait, arc-en-ciel déviant et mécaniques infernales.”
As Marie mentions in her article, we would have been better served as simply one of the opening acts for the nighttime concerts (more on that later). 8=8 was designed for a concert setting, although off the main stage. It was not designed as an installation, we already know how to do that, thank you very much. Despite our protests, the festival director begged us to present 8=8 as a daytime installation + performance, claiming that there wasn’t really anywhere for 8=8 to perform in the evening setting. But once we actually got on-site we realized how much we had been screwed, as there were several places/times we would have fit in fine. A truly shameful lie, especially considering he was with me in Marseille when I — sucessfully, albeit with much difficulty — fought against the tendencies a previous music festival had of treating multimedia performances as nothing more than an entertaining sideshow.
Here are some photos of that “Punkoid universe, between distorted Donkey Kong, abstract football, deviant rainbows and infernal machines,” Marie described so well. All the photos were taken by Thomas or else by some intoxicated stranger ressembling one of the members of 8=8.
8=8 Also performed earlier at Le cabaret aléatoire, Friche bel de mai, Marseille as part of the Festival Arborescence.
- Concert: 8=8=Les Joueurs de cartes
- Concept + Design: Nao, TM, JankenPopp, Abstractmachine
- Festival: Arborescence
- Location: Le cabaret aléatoire, Friche bel de mai, Marseille
- Date: 8 Octobre 2005. 22:30:00 sharp
- Photos + Video: 8=8 rehearsal video with photos
Everything went great. Better than I had imagined. The images are for real : all the interactions take place directly with the images and all of the sounds are being generated by movements within the image programs. We let the programs run after the concert, which led to some interresting discussions. The public was very enthusiastic. One couple stayed for several hours, as they realised that each program was set after the concert to last about 45 minutes : they didn’t want to miss the next one. Someone else we spoke to took some time to accept the idea that in fact the interactions were generating the sounds (odd, it seemed pretty obvious to me).
We came up with an idea that we knew would be f#!&#& brilliant, but that we didn’t know if it would work in practice. It goes back to our hatred for boring stage shows and the formulaic nature of rock n’ roll which becomes even more boring when you stick someone behind a turntable and (gasp) comotose when they’re sitting behind a laptop. So since we were going to change all that, we also had to change the “announcement” of the concert (also because we were competing with noisy DJs in the other room).
Basically we created two modes : public interactive mode and live performance mode. To move from one to the other we created the “Big Daddy”, a program that would move us back and forth as well as choose the different programs. But to give the audience a bit of a feeling of all this, and create some anticipation, we created a sort of demo mode with a clock ticking down to the performance (time of the performance 22:30, with the T-minus clock opposite). Around the clock was a little interactive dribble-program that the public loved (personally I found it a bit limited : put your hand in, sounds go bling, and images smear about, but the “public” tends to like this sort of thing). People kept pouring in for the dribble, and the count-down kept ticking down. Then, ten minutes before the concert, the whole thing went black (except the clock) and all interactions stopped, giving us some time to spread out some room, get installed, and wait for Big Daddy to dish us the first bite.
That clock thing is totally brilliant. It really should be used by other musical groups. It creates a nice tension. Automating the stage is actually pretty cool : when your time is up, your time is up. You have to keep up. It’s pretty stressful = I like it.
Here is the link to the Arborescence festival webpage describing the event.
The above photos are some images Colette Stanley took during the event.