AV0 is an exploration on human-computer collaboration in the audio visual field, dedicated to those believing in computers as partners in the creative flow.
Why this project
In the computer-aided creative process, whether it’s wireframing a design, programming or producing music – our actions often generates unpredicted results. I began to appreciate and consume these instances not as undesired output but as computer input in my creative flow. This led to a growing desire to replicate this behavior in a live performance, where I could assign the computer a task or part of the piece to direct and consequently influence me, the human performing with it.
This approach sets AV0 apart from today’s audio visual sets, where the performer is usually in control of both audio and video, with the latter often reactive to the first or in support of it. In AV0 the computer is responsible for visuals and decides what to display, its behavior and the duration of each piece, leaving to the performer to decide how to respond.
The piece focuses on the interaction between the two, asking the performer and the viewer basic questions. What will the computer choose to do? How will the performer respond? How are the two playing? Is it chaotic? Is it organized? How does it feel? More organic or artificial?
How it works
Performer and computer work as a duo, the first is in charge of sound, the second of visuals.
When AV0 begins the computer chooses a set of visuals and the duration of the piece, and communicates this information to the performer.
Once the performer starts playing, the countdown begins.
When the time is up, the computer stops all playing sounds, disables the performer input and generates a new piece.
Images and sound are designed to carry no symbolic meaning, allowing the viewer to focus on the interaction between the two players.
Visuals are made of basic geometries, to maintain the visual stimuli contained while still allowing the algorithm to create interesting compositions.
The use of two high contrast tints is a reference to the two players involved: opposite to one another yet contributing for one objective.
Visuals are arranged based on a basic grid system of rows and columns that define the layout — a common approach in graphic design.
For each new piece, the computer generates a series of grids where the number of cells defines the maximum number of elements that can be placed.
Grid’s cells also defines initial location of elements, their maximum size and roaming bounds.
Each piece is made of four layer, each with its own grid which are then stacked on top of each to create the final composition.
With parametric visuals, the grid on which shapes are arranged can be projected on virtually any aspect ratio.
The idea came to me after attending a panel at Ableton’s Loop 2016 where Alfred Darlington’s aka Daedelus, was sharing how he tries to make every live show different from the other, trying to repeat himself as little as possible, but more importantly, he visits the venue before the show and calibrates the set to properly fit the place.
With AV0, whether the projection screen is 3:4, 16:10, 1:1 or 10:1, the visuals can be calibrated to fit the area. Grids are then generated accordingly affecting how shapes will be generated, and positioned, adding to the uniqueness of the performance being executed.