Digital art collective onedotzero created an interactive installation to accompanying the talents of up-and-coming DJs at London leg of the Intel-run PowerUp DJ competition last week. Created in conjuction with experiential design experts Marshmallow Laser Feast (who worked on Studio Output's 3D projected mapped spots for Sony PlayStation at the end of last year), the installation projected lighting that changed in time with the beats through an inifinity mirror for an amped-up effect.
An infinity mirror is an optical illusion that makes a flat mirror look as if it the opening of a long tunnel. It's an illusion created by placing a piece of glass with reflective material on the inside over a standard mirror – and while it sounds arty, you can buy them in B&Q.
We caught up with onedotzero's creative director, Shane RJ Walter, to find out more about the project.
DA: What did you want the work to express? How did it interact with and be part of the night?
SW: "The basis for this work was to provide an amazing environment for a series of winning DJs to play in front of – elevating their set and experience to another level. Since the PowerUp with Ultrabook event was about music, it made sense to make this sound reactive so you can ‘see’ the audio whilst also providing an amazing immersive experience for the partygoers – the perfect synergy of sonic, visual, environment and energy."
DA: Why did you want to work with MLF?
SW: "onedotzero is a serial collaborator and do so on almost every project with a variety of creators from different disciplines. For this event we were tasked with producing something totally new and wanted a highly creative partner that would respond to that challenge in a positive way – MLF wanted to join us in pushing the boundaries of what was normal and also experiment with elements and tech for the first time.
"This was a massive collaborative effort from the gurus at MLF to a team of graphic and motion designers, VVVV programmers and coders, technicians on the audio, light and video side from Aztec as well as the team at onedotzero ensuring everyone and everything came to this firework crescendo on the night.
DA: Tell us a bit about the use of infinity mirrors
SW: "Of course people have used infinity mirror effects before – but not to this degree with a full-on LED screen and with this scale, size and ambition. It was less about a one off visual trick and more about making this extra dimension – literally to the visual set and making the archway space the UltraBook party was set in expand beyond the DJ.
"It is a metaphor in some sense for taking the technology further, but really allowed for some pretty spectacular motion graphic effects when played in synch to the DJs selection made it a truly dynamic space to be in and sustain this over a number of hours."
DA: Why do you think creativity hackery using consumer devices (Kinect, Arduino, etc) is so popular currently?
"Creative hacking of hardware and even software has always been part of the creative scene – certainly with many of the talents that onedotzero has had the pleasure of showcasing at the festival or commissioning.
"There is a desire to progress and create new works and often that results in creating or hacking your tools to do that. It is a pioneering spirit and sense of adventure that early creators had to improve things.
"Code is the new language we should be teaching people – it literally runs our world.
"Now there is a generation who do this naturally with a post-digital attitude to tech both hardware and software with an added hands on return to craft: something I call smartcraft.