As part of the Face the Strange: New Music from Chicago and Beyond program at the Chicago MCA, illustrator Adam Hinterlang and I collaborated with the band Implodes.
In the past my interactive installation practice has taken me on tangents building systems as instruments to be played as opposed to spaces to play within. That’s what I began doing for this work by building an instrument for Adam to learn the repertoire of and play by drawing along to the band. However, I made a conscious effort not to get in the way of the drawing process any more than necessary so that this stayed dynamic and free flowing. What we ended up with was an instrument that let Adam concentrate on the textural line work that is such a strong focus of his work, whilst contributing some of it’s own intelligence towards elements such as palette, composition, animation and effects.
The interface was separate from the projection screen and included realtime frequency analysis of what the band was playing. This was broken into different frequency bands, each of which had it’s own ‘canvas’. Adam could quickly see where the frequency activity was and using his Wacom tablet easily select which canvas he wanted to work on and begin drawing.
All canvases were combined automatically into a single composition, each fading in and out with it’s corresponding frequencies. Colours were dynamically chosen from a palette specified before the performance began and some additional blur and bloom effects could be controlled in realtime to affect how the composition changed over time. All of this was built with OpenFrameworks.
As someone who began art school as an illustrator before having their inspiration hijacked by code it was great to work on this project. Adam has continued to work with the application beyond this performance and we plan to expand upon this work in future.