We’re very interested in experiences which transcend boundaries. Experience which exist across multiple domains but still somehow feel like a unified and consistent effort. Last summer, in partnership with Wildlife.la, Tiny Rebellion, and Bolthouse Farms we began exploring how social platforms might enable these sorts of distributed interaction.
In Winter of 2013 OA was contracted by Hush to design and develop the control experience for Lyve’s interactive media presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Lyve’s technology is about smooth and seamless access to personal media. Accordingly we designed and developed a software package and wireless controller to smoothly trigger and navigate between five led lighting and HD video presentations which tell Lyve’s story.
At SXSW Interactive in 2013, we were invited to present Entangled Space, a site specific narrative experience based upon the Tarot. We created a mobile web application which uses your phone’s GPS to display a map of the area directly around you. When you’re close to a content rich location an icon is displayed on the map which unlocks a chapter of the story set in your surroundings.
Twenty locations were chosen from around Austin, and fictional vignettes were written to each location which link together into a poetic journey of self discovery.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation travels the globe, delivering the transformative gift of hearing to people in need. They’ve been documenting their humanitarian efforts and creating an inspiring and informative TV show called Operation Change, and in parallel to the launch of its’ trailer they wanted to create and share an interactive experience that gathered the positive intent of the masses into one space. Their question was “How will you create change?.”
Wildlife.la and OA teamed up to implement an experience to visualize all the responses to this question. Our biggest concern was to ensure that the experience maintained a liveliness and humanity, so we opted to represent these intentions as drops of color which painted images of the people the Starkey Hearing Foundation had photographed in their efforts. By exploring the image made up of the dots you can browse individual responses for how change can be implemented on a human scale.
Click below to explore an archived version of the experience..
Mid summer of 2013, with support from Northside Festival, we created an immersive interactive sound-sculpture on Bedford Ave for the public. We chose to attempt the impossible, and bring the heavens down to earth. What does a cloud sound like? Watch the documentation video below to get an idea of our response:
On June 8-9 2013 we teamed up with our Partner Diagonalist to implement a 35×35′ architectural installation on Governor’s Island for the Figment Festival. Phantom Lung was an air-supported structure built entirely out of materials chosen to evoke childhood memories, to literally suspend a moment of childhood joy.
In extension of the values of the Superorganism project, we attempted to represent the unconscious of the participatory group by having all who entered the tent decorate a white balloon and release it into the space. In essence, their emotions, ideas, and imprints of self, supported the structure. Their movement and play pushed around the balloons inside causing the structure to suck and swell in collective breath.
Since 2011 we’ve been creating an interactive theatre experience called the Superorganism. The early designs for the Superorganism drew heavily on ritual as a reference for how people might enter the interactive performance, become a participant, and eventually push the performance in a new direction. This video is our attempt at capturing some of the emotive qualities of the ritualistic super.
click here for more info.
In late 2012 OA had the opportunity to create a realtime 3D visualization of the fourth largest oilfield in the world for a major energy client via Hush as a showroom and conference piece. It was an interesting design challenge, because we had a linear story to tell through a nonlinear explorative experience.
We opted to use 5 transparent lenses as windows to which you explore the Zakum map. With them you can manipulate the timeline, see the corresponding data, and discover the unfolding story which relates to the geographic space.
See the video below to see Hush’s Documentation of the project:
In fall of 2012 OA teamed up with Morgan Sutherland, curator Saulo Madrid, The Ground Magazine, Milk Gallery, and Samsung to create a phenomenological work transforming an issue from The Ground Magazine into an interactive experience.
We placed fifty ten inch Samsung Galaxy Note Tablets in a grid on a wall. Each tablet displayed a solid color. The image from its’ camera gently pressed through. As you move closer to the colored mirror to see yourself more clearly, a tone plays and the the camera’s image fades away. The pieces of a greater picture, laid out upon the whole grid of tablets fade in as the tablet’s background.
The technical design for this project was a fun challenge. There are a number of different ways a system like this can be designed and controlled, but for simplicity we opted to write one piece of software which we installed on all the tablets. By telling the tablet where it lived in relation to the grid, the software could know what part of the distributed image to display and what sound to play back corresponding to its’ flip.
Any unfolding experience can be quantified and re-experienced in a new aesthetic way.
We got the opportunity to spend the Summer of 2012 working with Wildlife to take the Google Fiber Campaign and re-imagine it in a new visual, sonic, and tactile manner in Google’s Fiberspace in Kansas City. Click the image below to see the whole story..
In Spring of 2012 OA had the opportunity to work with Hush and Skylab concepting a largescale interactive installation for Nike at the Eugene Olympic Trials. The ultimate goal was to convey to the public attending the event exactly how fast these nike athletes are, and to immerse viewers in a new perspective of speed. Here’s Hush’s doc:
The mechanism for imparting this feeling was a 100m perspective adjusted tunnel lined with a massive LED wall depicting the fastest runs from the Olympic Trials. A giant, 1:1 representation of just how fast the world’s fastest are. To concept this OA developed an application modeling a long 3D tunnel. You could travel down the tunnel and shoot pulses of light of different sizes, shapes, speeds, and directions. It helped us learn how to design content that both shows you what speed looks like, and impart upon you what speed feels like.
Our initial plan was to make the tunnel’s display experience a realtime abstraction of the action on the field. In an exploration of the best ways of abstracting motion in this way we did some quick experiments using the laptop’s webcam. Here’s one:
Another idea was to create a display experience using data from the Nike+ API. We wrote a sketch to process data from the Nike+ database, order it, and sonify the data:
Here’s an Underarmour commercial Brian did some sound design and music for through Hush.
The video was edited to another song but because of rights issues we had to compose audio to fit the edited video. It was an interesting challenge trying to keep a consistant rhythm for the audio but also match the changes in the video frame. Hope it amps you.
In 2011 Brian got the opportunity to help out with a video for Frank Black’s ( The Pixies ) new project, Grand Duchy.
For it, Art Director Nick Tong, Brian, and two others recreated Andy Warhol’s factory by covering a room in tin foil, recreated the classic Chelsea Girls image using toy doll house windows, and reimagined the final scene from Drop by the Pharcyde using silver spraypaint and plexiglass.
The Esquire House is an event series which has been put on by Esquire in NY and LA every year for the past 9 years. Hush, who had been charged with the responsibility of designing the Home Office for the 2011 Esquire House, opted to work with OA to take the work Brian had done with the surface in 2010 and extrapolate it into a beautiful future interface.
Acura was our sponsor, and with inspiration from their super handling all wheel drive technology ( SH-AWD ) diagrams showing the flow of energy between their vehicles wheels as the car drives, we wanted to make a system which represented flowing energy which the user manipulated as they pressed into the membrane surface. Extending the instrumental nature of the surface, we took samples from an Acura vehicle and integrated them into the experience so that no matter where or how you press into the surface you get a beautifully visceral audio-visual experience. You can see Margot Robbie from Pan Am get into it here:
Live performance lighting and lighting for film are essentially treated as two entirely separate crafts.
In film, each shot is composed with the light in a specific place, and the process of production includes shooting, stopping, moving the lights, shooting, stopping, etc.
In live performance, a lighting system is set up which is composed of a bunch of lights on stands with
xlr ( mic ) cables connecting them to a lighting controller which give you the ability to dynamically change the color, brightness, and other qualities of the lights. This affords dynamic lighting; lighting which swells and fades and changes color corresponding to the music and performance.
In 2011, OA teamed up with the production company Gravity Sleeps to experiment with implementation of live performance lighting in several music videos to visualize the music as well as speed up the production process. This required us to play along with the music using the lights as the instrument. Not only was it super fun to do, but it looked really cool.
Check out the second video FX lighting project we did for the song “Skinnybone” by Sea of Bees.
watch on npr.com
Here’s the first public example of Gravity Sleeps and OA teaming up to experiment with applying live performance lighting to music videos.
Check out our second work ‘Skinnybone’ by Sea of Bees for a larger discussion of our experimentation with the genre of ‘FX lighting’ for film.
In April of 2011 Occurrent Arts teamed up for the first time with Gravity Sleeps to produce a 3 stage multimedia event in a production facility in Brooklyn called The Factory ( with Sponsorship by Bulldog Gin and the Brooklyn Brewery ). In addition to providing logistical services ( for keeping track of the many performers and artworks involved), we designed, rented, installed, and performed expressive lighting for all the performers on the Cyc.
Bone Gunn, Body Collider, Aman Amun, HiLo Entertainment, Dusty Wright, DJ Whitenoise and Lady Creme
Exhibited artists included:
Peter Gorman, Max Razdow, Enki Andrews, Charles Ly, Christian Little, Megan Finnegan, Jacqueline Munro, Jesse R. Fisher, Audrey Tran, Cyrus Glacenware.
photos of body collider, lighting design by OA: