All posts for Tag: digital

Sol Del Rio at MUTEK: Mystic Multitalent Mounts MonsterShine

Sol Del Rio at MUTEK

It’s the afternoon of June 4, a few hours before Sol Del Rio’s performance. She’s been booked for Designer_Mix, MUTEK’s evening dedicated to the first three cities to join UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network under its “design” banner: Buenos Aires, Berlin, and Montreal. Del Rio, who is from Buenos Aires, and her labelmate, Chancha Vía Circuito, will be bookending the night with their electrified interpretations of traditional and popular South American music.

She’s running late due to some technical issues encountered during soundcheck, but as with many MUTEK artists, it’s understandable. Technology can be a fickle collaborator, and while most MUTEK artists push the state of their art, Del Rio’s evening is still particularly ambitious: first, she’ll be delivering a solo audiovisual performance from Ableton Live and VDMX, then she’ll be back at the end of the event to handle visuals for Chancha Vía Circuito.

Despite the shy persona suggested by the promo photos that show her only hooded or in silhouette, Del Rio isn’t too shy to lay vocals down in her music. A microphone stands at the ready next to her laptop. Alongside “musician,” “VJ,” and “designer,” It looks like “vocalist” could also be added to Del Rio’s calling card.

Read More »

AntiVJ at MUTEK: Projection mapping masters talk up unconventional visuals and running a “visual label”

Murcof + AntiVJ texture

Continuing our MUTEK interview series, we talk to AntiVJ artist Joanie Lemercier and producer Nicolas Boritch about their approach to mind-bending projected music visuals, their evolution from nightclub VJing to producing large-scale artistic collaborations, and their approach to working as a “visual label.”

Since 2005, AntiVJ has had a resounding influence on visuals in dance clubs, live music performance, and installations. Though they pioneered and perfected the usage of projection mapping – wherein carefully-aligned digital projections create illusions on unconventional surfaces – AntiVJ pledges allegiance to no technique, only a focus “on the use of projected light and its influence on our perception.”

Read More »

Amon Tobin premieres ISAM at MUTEK

Greetings! I’m Aylwin Lo, CFC Media Lab’s newest staff addition. As a Tech Coordinator, I provide technical and design support to many of the Media Lab’s exciting activities. Last week I took a trip out of the lab to attend the 12th edition of MUTEK, Montreal’s prestigious and groundbreaking festival for electronic music and digital art.

As in previous years, this year’s MUTEK promised an array of acts ranging from seasoned acts premiering their latest audio-visual work to up-and-comers making a break for it. One of our own current residents, Laurel McDonald, has performed at MUTEK and was recently featured on their website for her performance project combining vocals and visuals, Videovoce.

It was my privilege to be able to interview four of the acts performing at this year’s festival. We’ll be posting roughly an interview a week until they’re all up. Be sure to visit Stabletalk once a week if you aren’t already subscribed to our RSS feed or email updates.

Read More »

Retro Activity

It seems like wherever I go these days, I wind up looking at the past. Half of the photos my friends share on Facebook and Twitter are run through a gamut of filters to look like they were shot in 1969 (that’s even the name of one of Hipstamatic’s workflows), and now the same thing is happening with video thanks to apps like 8mm Vintage Camera.

While a major trend of late in digital content creation tools has been the retro styling of interfaces and artifacts, the last several years of PC and console gaming could be seen as a pilgrimage in the opposite direction. Solid Snake, Nico Bellic, and Nathan Drake all furrow their blemished brows and glower at us menacingly in 1080p… at least Master Chief had the decency to put on a helmet.

But not all games operate within this paradigm of photorealism – there are families of titles evolving on the plains outside of the Uncanny Valley, and groups of developers more interested in experimenting with gameplay than participating in the arms race of shader technology.

A great example of this trend towards retro visuals is the Swedish indie juggernaut known as Minecraft. The premise of the game is simple – wake up in a wilderness, prance about exploring for most of the day, find a way to build shelter before nightfall, avoid becoming dogfood for a menagerie of roving monsters – but the really interesting stuff at work in Minecraft is in the context of sandbox gameplay and open collaboration. You can work with friends online to architect elaborate in-game underground fortresses, treehouses, or even working arithmetic logic units; but everything you build has to be crafted from natural substances mined from the world around you and represented by blocks about one foot by one foot in size. While the world of Minecraft is vast, it’s also quite graphically granular. The experience looks and feels more like the result of some macabre mash-up of panspermia and Tetris than other sandbox games like Garry’s Mod, Little Big Planet, or Second Life. The easiest way to describe Minecraft’s gameplay to newcomers is as a digital version of Lego… a version where each block must be carefully smelted from elusive minerals at the core of the earth.

Trevor Haldenby's Minecraft Kingdom

My Minecraft Kingdom... not so meta-meta.

What could have compelled the game’s creator Markus “Notch” Persson to employ such a distinctly retro style in the creation of such an innovative game? And what features of the game are responsible for the sale of more than 1.8 million units in the last year?

Performance
Minecraft is built and sold as a Java application. As many have discovered, it runs in a corporate web browser approximately as well as it will on a dedicated gaming rig. 1999‘s Quake III finally moved into the browser as “Quake Live” last year after heavy modifications, but Minecraft was there from the start by drawing in the thousands of blocks making up each world dynamically and by not using particularly elaborate textures. You can customize your in-game character on the minecraft.net site using a 32×32 pixel image… about a third the size of what made for a decent LiveJournal icon ten years ago.

Familiarity
It seems like it’s often assumed that hyper-real graphics will feel good because they’re similar to how we perceive the world with the HD cameras embedded in our faces. The purveyors of gigabyte-packing graphics cards surely presume that visual accuracy is what’s behind the verisimilitude of a good gaming experience. But what about those of us who grew up under the supervision of the Super Mario Brothers and a 12” TV, or their ancestors from the Old Country of Atari? I think it stands to reason that 8-bit graphics and simplistic animations make the average 20 or 30-something gamer feel more at home than anisotropic filters.

Mechanics in Focus
When you’re playing a photorealistic 3D title you’re probably going to invest less effort into considerations of underlying gameplay mechanics than you might if you were enjoying a basement romp in a refrigerator box. Games defined by shiny pretty things certainly have a time and place, but when you’re playing a title that deliberately immerses you in a lo-fi look-and-feel, you’re more likely to be pleasantly surprised by the ingenuity or complexity of the mechanics at work.

Kenfagerdotcom's Minecraft Kingdom

Kenfagerdotcom's Minecraft Kingdom... meta-meta to the power of meta.

Minecraft isn’t alone in utilizing retro graphics to get audiences engaged, before challenging them with innovative gameplay concepts. Jason Rohrer and Daniel Benmergui are both developer-artistes putting out engaging and genre-busting titles with beautiful 8-bit looks.

Screenshot from Jason Rohrer's PASSAGE

Screenshot from Jason Rohrer's PASSAGE

If you’re hungry for a particularly well-executed experiment in innovation through nostalgia, there’s a brand new Toronto-bred iPad title you’ve got to check out: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, a collaboration between Capybara Games, the Superbrothers squad of visual artists, and Jim Guthrie. If you spent any time with Sierra’s King’s Quest in 1990 (itself a visual retooling of the Adventure Game Interpreter 1984 original, rebooted once more last year), you’ll feel eerily at home here. But after only a few minutes of play it becomes clear that Sw&Sw is about experimenting with social gaming features that the retro aesthetic might have prevented you from anticipating. For instance, all of the game’s dialogue takes place in the form of 140-or-fewer letter exchanges – enabling players to tweet conversations as they progress, from within the game’s HUD. It’s quite a clever little innovation, allowing players to share their progress through a game that doesn’t quite align with the High Scores ‘n Headshots model of friendly competition familiar to many console gamers. Even the title of the game is displayed on my iPad’s home screen as a hashtag.

Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP Screenshot

Screenshot from Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Could Capybara have gotten away with encouraging Sw&Sw players to tweet their progress in a photorealistic first-person shooter version of the game? Possibly. Could they have maintained as much of the delightfully corny Your Highness-esque dialogue with such an approach? Perhaps. But could they have made audiences from 15 to 35 feel immediately comfortable with the title while embracing its innovative idiosyncrasies? I’m skeptical.

For a particular group of gamers born in the final decades of the 20th century, 8-bit is the definitive visual vernacular – the lingua franca spoken by fans of racing, RPG, and shoot-em-up titles alike. Perhaps these audiences simply take comfort in the styles associated with a particular era of game development (just as classic rock inevitably trumps auto-tune in the minds of members of my parents’ generation), or perhaps there are valuable lessons to be learned here about how innovation can emerge from the juxtaposition of new ideas with the obviously ancient.

Trevor Haldenby is a producer and photographer living in Toronto. He has attended Wilfrid Laurier University, Rhode Island School of Design, CFC Media Lab, and is presently completing a Master’s of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University.

docSHIFT Institute: Documentary Proposals DUE MONDAY!

You haven’t forgotten about this, have you?

All Proposals are due after the weekend! December 6th!

OUT MY WINDOW WINS IDFA DOC LAB AWARD!

Really… Was there ever any doubt? CONGRATS TEAM!
(Check out our original post here: stabletalk.cfccreates.com/2010/11/26/out-my-window-nominated-for-idfa-doc-lab-award)

More deets on the Highrise blog: highrise.nfb.ca/2010/11/omw-wins-idfa-doclab-award

CFC Media Lab at HTMlles 2010

Jacqueline Nuwame, Sr. Training Programs Manager at the CFC Media Lab, had the honour of speaking at last week’s HTMlles Festival of Media Art and Networked Practices 2010 in Montreal.

Founded in 1997 and produced by Studio XX, the HTMlles Festival of Media Art and Networked Practices explores various facets of digital technology and the web as a medium for the creation and exhibition of women’s digital artworks. The festival occupies the singular position of being one of the only Quebecois and Canadian events entirely dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of independent media art, its particularity also being emphasized by its feminist approach, concerns and engagements.

Also featured at the festival was First Person Digital, produced in partnership with the NFB, which featured some amazing female-only work.

Take a peek at these other great projects:

www.itschinesetome.net
www.otandayanaan.net
www.perfectplum.com

A big shout-out to Studio XX for organizing this great event!

Out My Window Nominated for IDFA Doc Lab Award

Congrats to NFB/Interactive and Gerry Flahive, Kat Cizek, Branden Batuhin, Heather Frise, and the hundreds of photographers and researchers that made HIGHRISE: Out My Window happen! You deserve this nod!

IDFA presents a new documentary award: the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling. The prize (Canon 5D Mark II camera, made available by Canon) is awarded to the DocLab project that uses digital technology in the most creative and effective way to tell a documentary story.

The award winner will be determined by an international jury consisting of Alexandre Brachet (Gaza-Sderot.com, Prison Valley 2009), Antoinette Hoes (Leylines) and Zach Wise (The New York Times).

Check out DocLab: the official new media program of IDFA, showcasing new forms of documentary storytelling, digital technology and media art.

The judging happens today! Best of luck, team!

Stitch Media Strikes Again!

Hey Stitch. How hot are YOU!?

Leave it to CFC Media Lab Alumni Evan Jones, Victoria Ha, and Michael Schaus to knock your socks off!

Stitch Media‘s Moderation Town has been nominated as one of the Hottest Video Content of 2010 by nextMEDIA’s Digital Hot List. Stitch will be pitching the NSFW web series at NextMedia in Toronto at the end of November.

moderationtown.com
@moderationtown


This ‘living documentary’ scored the TSV Visionary Video Award:

An important, timely work that freshly illuminated historical, political and personal struggles and brought a brilliant combination of research and innovation into the process of reclaiming our history.

Note from the Jury, 2010 Reel Asian Film Festival

…Way to go, guys! HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!

docSHIFT Institute Calls for Documentary Proposals

WANTED: Canada’s next award-winning digital documentary!

Do you have a digital documentary idea? One that can attract a large community, win critical success on the world stage, or innovate with a successful business or creative approach? The docSHIFT Institute will support up to four experienced creators with innovative digital documentary project ideas. selected participants will receive mentorship, professional consultation and some financial support to complete their project or create a prototype.

docSHIFT is presented in partnership with Ryerson University, Hot Docs, CFC Media Lab and the National Film Board.

www.doctoronto.ca/docshift-institute

Proposal Deets!

NEW DEADLINE! Monday, December 6th, 9am
CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION FORM

ELIGIBILITY:

  • A strong digital documentary concept that has been well-researched and is clearly described.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

  • You have a proven track record of success either in documentary or interactive production.
  • You are open and willing to participate in a group learning and mentorship process as part of advancing your own project.

docSHIFT is made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation on behalf of the Ministry of Culture.

AntiVJ at MUTEK: Projection mapping masters talk up unconventional visuals and running a “visual label”

Continuing our MUTEK interview series, we talk to AntiVJ artist Joanie Lemercier and producer Nicolas Boritch about their approach to mind-bending projected music visuals, their evolution from nightclub VJing to producing large-scale artistic collaborations, and their approach to working as a “visual label.” Since 2005, AntiVJ has had a resounding influence on visuals in dance […]

Amon Tobin premieres ISAM at MUTEK

Greetings! I’m Aylwin Lo, CFC Media Lab’s newest staff addition. As a Tech Coordinator, I provide technical and design support to many of the Media Lab’s exciting activities. Last week I took a trip out of the lab to attend the 12th edition of MUTEK, Montreal’s prestigious and groundbreaking festival for electronic music and digital […]

Retro Activity

It seems like wherever I go these days, I wind up looking at the past. Half of the photos my friends share on Facebook and Twitter are run through a gamut of filters to look like they were shot in 1969 (that’s even the name of one of Hipstamatic’s workflows), and now the same thing […]

docSHIFT Institute: Documentary Proposals DUE MONDAY!

You haven’t forgotten about this, have you? All Proposals are due after the weekend! December 6th! Details Here… stabletalk.cfccreates.com/2010/11/18/docshift-institute-calls-for-documentary-proposals

OUT MY WINDOW WINS IDFA DOC LAB AWARD!

Really… Was there ever any doubt? CONGRATS TEAM! (Check out our original post here: stabletalk.cfccreates.com/2010/11/26/out-my-window-nominated-for-idfa-doc-lab-award) More deets on the Highrise blog: highrise.nfb.ca/2010/11/omw-wins-idfa-doclab-award

CFC Media Lab at HTMlles 2010

Jacqueline Nuwame, Sr. Training Programs Manager at the CFC Media Lab, had the honour of speaking at last week’s HTMlles Festival of Media Art and Networked Practices 2010 in Montreal. Founded in 1997 and produced by Studio XX, the HTMlles Festival of Media Art and Networked Practices explores various facets of digital technology and the […]

Out My Window Nominated for IDFA Doc Lab Award

Congrats to NFB/Interactive and Gerry Flahive, Kat Cizek, Branden Batuhin, Heather Frise, and the hundreds of photographers and researchers that made HIGHRISE: Out My Window happen! You deserve this nod! IDFA presents a new documentary award: the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling. The prize (Canon 5D Mark II camera, made available by Canon) is […]

Stitch Media Strikes Again!

Hey Stitch. How hot are YOU!? Leave it to CFC Media Lab Alumni Evan Jones, Victoria Ha, and Michael Schaus to knock your socks off! Stitch Media‘s Moderation Town has been nominated as one of the Hottest Video Content of 2010 by nextMEDIA’s Digital Hot List. Stitch will be pitching the NSFW web series at […]

docSHIFT Institute Calls for Documentary Proposals

WANTED: Canada’s next award-winning digital documentary! Do you have a digital documentary idea? One that can attract a large community, win critical success on the world stage, or innovate with a successful business or creative approach? The docSHIFT Institute will support up to four experienced creators with innovative digital documentary project ideas. selected participants will […]

-->