Some final pictures and reflections from our research project "Shatterproof", conceived and directed by Sten Rudstrom, and performed by Ingo Rülecke and Ulrike Brand. I was so fortunate to work with such talented, generous and creative souls for this work.
The piece itself is concerned with how we regard the human form when it is pitted against video imagery. I used Isadora to capture live feeds from iPhones which the performers could place on their bodies or in various locations within the space. Then I performed a "live mix" of those images on as many as 8 displays. The mandate I received from Sten (the director) was to oscillate between two polarities: one where I attempt to tear the viewer's eyes away from the compelling improvisations of the performers, and another where I relax that tension by removing imagery from the displays or showing a single image on one of the smaller monitors. The goal in all of this was to raise the viewer's awareness of their own feelings as they are pushed and pulled them towards (or away from) the imagery and the performers.
It was such a great process for me. The piece is totally improvised – there is no script whatsoever for this work. This means the images I am able to capture are never the same. Because of this, I simply had no choice but to be utterly present to the material and relationships offered to me by the performers. I really felt ***SO**** alive with them as each rehearsal or performance progressed.
Thanks again to Sten, Ulrike and Ingo for such an enlivening process.
Technically, in Isadora, I created a very flexible 13 by 8 matrix router: I could choose any of 10 movies or three lives feeds (Three NDI Watchers receiving live video from the iPhones) as sources, and route these to any of the 8 displays in the room. For the displays that were doubled-up, I could choose to send an individual image to each display, or to send a single image to both, so that the two deploys formed as a single image. (See the face of the 'cello player in the first picture for an example.)
The patch ran on my MacBook Pro M1 Max, which offers up to three video outputs. It worked beautifully. It never showed a LOAD of more than 10% even while playing 10 movies as the same time and receiving three NDI feeds from the iPhones.
I originally tried two Triple Head 2 Go's to reach feed the eight diplsay, but failed to get them to work together. (They apparently had a differing tables of output resolutions/frequences, so they the Matrox software said they could not be used on the same computer.) In the end, I was able to get eight outputs as follows:
1. Data Path FX 4 (four)
2. Triple Head 2 Go (three)
3. Built-in HDMI output. (one)
So, aside from three days of mayhem at the beginning getting things to work, once I had this setup, everything worked beautifully for the remainder of the rehearsal period.
Pro Tip #1: If you ever try to use Blackmagic HMDI <-> SDI converters, you'll run into some issues if the resolution and frequencies aren't to their liking. From what other users have told me, using CAT 5 extenders for the HDMI is a much better bet.
Pro Tip #2: Make sure to turn off the HDCP copy protection in the Data Path FX 4. If you see solid red images at the output, it is turned on!