8=8=Les joueurs de cartes, photo credits: Bastien Poulin

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

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.

Here are some photos Colette Stanley took of the event:

8=8=Concert, Photo by Colette Stanley 8=8=Concert, Photo by Colette Stanley 8=8=Concert, Photo by Colette Stanley 8=8=Concert, Photo by Colette Stanley 8=8=Concert, Photo by Colette Stanley 8=8=Concert, Photo by Colette Stanley