Fleet

It’s Fleet Week, apparently. Partying sailors abound. I was to see two shows tonight but the first one was so enthralling that I missed the second. So it goes. Adam Kendall did visuals for Roger Eno and Plumbline at Tonic: lovely music paired with absolutely brilliant visuals. Adam’s approach is very painterly and moving on a gut level. Since I saw his work for the first time two years ago, his craft has gotten better and better. Misty, melting, mnemonic melanges of powerful, personal films — see? Words don’t do it justice. Watch his Case Studies, which are fairly close to what he did tonight.

It was really cool to see a great pianist like Roger Eno play. He had a delicate touch and phrasing, well-placing his lines in Plumbline’s laptop work. He showed how you could improvise just outside the tonal structure of a (seemingly) fixed set of tracks, which is something that had stumped my imagination a bit when thinking about how to play piano in a Share jam with similar laptop musicians. And he watched Adam’s visuals closely. Thumbs up.

Aside to Adam: are you putting out 320 x 240? I’d love to see your stuff in higher res. Good reason to start incorporating those GPU shaders… 🙂

The show I missed was my friend Eli’s, which I wrote about earlier. Ah, well — next time (which is just what Eli said). He’s going on a solo tour this summer, hitting LA, Vancouver, Buffalo, and other places I can’t recall. If you like the tracks on his myspace and you know someone with a venue in the lower 48, drop Eli a line — he’ll probably be interested.

Challenges

Adam and Anton’s approaches seem similar and complementary to me. I hastily scribbled an idea that came to me during the show: challenges. I’d like to give collaborative challenges to my fellow/favorite visualists, e.g., swap: Adam and Anton doing a duo show with their current setups (god’s eye and vade, respectively). Both of them predominantly use a library of video clips that are both personally meaningful and formally interesting, which they know and have practiced well. Now swap their libraries and let each other decide which clip the other will use next. Connect them with an Ethernet cable and a very simple Max patch to streamline the process. The patch notifies them when a video’s been selected and previews it so they can prepare to slip it in.

Regardless of whether A and A would dig this idea, it’s the kind of collaborative ‘game’ (or structure or form) I’d like to explore more. Rather than focus on the technical aspects of current and future video mixers, which seems to snag us all up when we talk about visual jams, I’d like to see my fellow visualists play games with each other like this. And I’d like to build simple Max patches — and potentially KeyWorx plugins, in the new version of KeyWorx that’s on the table for the 2nd phase of Kids Connect — to aid these games. Thoughts?

Kids Connect dev

Speaking of Kids Connect, we had a really good meeting today that cleared up a lot of the questions Josephine and I had, e.g., the level of supervision needed, if/how many student teachers we’d have to help teach, when we’d get funds released to start work in Second Life, and more. Plus we were joined by Dr. Garey Ellis, who heads the Promise Fund’s Inner Force program. Not only did he have valuable insights and suggestions for KC, he reminded us how new this kind of work (online collaboration, visual performance, creative uses of consumer technology) is, and how exciting it will be for the workshop students and parents. It feels really good to be sharing my knowledge outside of the relatively narrow improv comedy world.

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