SWEATSHOPPE, The Landing from SWEATSHOPPE on Vimeo.

Imagine painting with projections, without the use of any paint, live and with out post-production. Blake Shaw and Bruno Levy of the new SWEATSHOPPE collective have done that with the use of Jitter and a laptop, transforming ordinary paint rollers into tools for apply real projections like light graffiti. They demonstrate the work on the walls of New York City neighborhoods. The gimmick alone is striking, but it’s ultimately the design – as usual – that carries their creation and draws you in (so to speak). With brilliant, acidic-neon colors, and high-contrast, Warhol-style graphic imagery, they bring back some of New York’s renegade spirit. Blake hails from my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, a city that has some experience in making two-minute loops exciting. Suffice to say, this work is also very much in the spirit of the augmented mural I also found in my inbox this week.

More background on this immensely talented and accomplished crew, plus the elegant method that makes the trick work (the revelation of which, to me, makes it no less interesting).

Description of the top video:

In an effort to establish new platforms for public art and performance, the multimedia duo SWEATSHOPPE has developed a new interactive technology that enables
them to explore the relationship between video, mark making and architecture. Dubbed “video painting”, this technology allows them to essentially “paint” video onto any
surface. Shooting in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, the duo spent weeks documenting their work in urban settings to create “The Landing” the first in a series of episodes that showcases their work as artist, technologist and performers.

SWEATSHOPPE, 4spots, the landing extras from SWEATSHOPPE on Vimeo.

The collective:

SWEATSHOPPE is a new multimedia performance collaboration between Bruno Levy and Blake Shaw that works at the intersection of art, music and technology. Developing software to construct a totally unique interactive performance, the duo works towards creating unique ways of affecting an audience. Whether it be as a dance driven electronic music performance that emphasizes sound reactive visuals, building interactive installations, or the fabrication of guerrilla technologies to augment public space, the duo strives towards an element of pop accessibility that is so often ignored in the technocentric world of experimental media.

Okay, the suspense is killing you? Here’s how it’s done – and plenty more inspiration to check out from one of the great visualists on the planet.

The software was written in Max and is really quite simple. The paint roller does not use any sort of paint, it simply contains green LEDs, the software tracks the color green and outputs the x y position which are sent to drawing commands and the strokes are textured with video. I could go into direct detail but I don’t want to expose our secrets just yet ;). The paint roller is an actual paint roller that we sort of “pimped-out” with faux-fur, green LEDs and an on / off button. We plan on eventually releasing the software, and after that opening it up, but only after it is much more refined, buffed up with features and user-friendly. Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know.

Also you might want to check out my partner Bruno’s YouTube, I think you would like his work a lot. He was the main man behind SquareSquare which was a pretty big VJ group in the early 2000’s, dubbed the “pioneers of video scratching” by Wired magazine. They were VJing off laptops at a pretty early period in the game. He has directed music videos for Squarepusher, Telefon Tel Aviv, Modeselektor, The Walkmen, and many other artists over the years. Here is the link to that: http://www.youtube.com/bnovideo

Fantastic stuff. You can come paint New York’s walls any time you like, as far as I’m concerned.


Corrections: I originally mistakenly understood SWEATSHOPPE to be an extension of the SQUARESQUARE collective; that is corrected; the two projects are unrelated aside from both having Bruno in them, and this work is the output of Bruno + Blake = SWEATSHOPPE. Also, only Blake is from Louisville; the two, says Blake, “actually met in Kathmandu, Nepal a few years ago and after throwing Nepal’s first minimal techno party we started working together.” I met Blake in Montreal, so it really is a small world. Apologies for cramming this many errors into a story. -Ed.