We’ve gazed into grainy video feeds and literally watched multi-camera shoots of empty clubs. But we’re also starting to see a move into futuristic 3D and mixed reality – starting with one unique album premiere from the Innervisions mastermind.
The feed is tonight Berlin time, that’s 10PM CET so 4PM NYC time, 1PM California. (And yeah, my heart is with you right now, America, even as I type the letters NYC – and many other places worldwide. I know this is beyond tough; I’m watching and listening. If you want to join for Dixon distraction in 3D, please say hi.)
Updated: if you missed the stream, you can replay on Boiler Room’s Facebook feed. Be patient – the real visual magic starts after around 17 minutes, unless you think you’re only going to get that bookshelf and some titles.
In a global crisis, one key element to look for in culture is people who were working on something before all of this, and that might endure through and after. So Dixon qualifies. He already DJed virtually (thanks to motion capture, a collaboration with Rockstar Games, and an appearance in Grand Theft Auto V Online, which you can still go visit in the game). And he had unveiled his Transmoderna project, which at least had the lofty goal of turning a club into something immersive. It’s hard to untangle what that means from the description, and I don’t tend to hang out in Ibiza. It seems in PR materials, everything in Ibiza starts to turn into some high-concept club-marketing gobbledygook – but yeah, his residency hosting everyone from the Innervisions crew to Mano le Tough to Honey Dijon also had the notion of developing immersive technology and reimagining what a club was.
Let’s skip to what is actually happening now, tonight Berlin time, as it at least starts to plumb this question of “what could be on a video feed that isn’t just a camera pointed at a bunch of clubgoers?”
The clubgoers for something like Boiler Room are now legally removed, their absence mandated by German contact limits in this pandemic. But the supercomputer on your desk and the supercomputer in your pocket were already capable of doing other things.
So Dixon tonight will perform a mixed reality DJ set as part of the Transmoderna collaboration, and to debut unreleased music of the same name. The artist says he’s building his Dj set already from this material. (No word on who yet, but previously announced collaborations on this moniker included Âme, Mathew Jonson, Echonomist, Trikk, Frank Wiedemann, and Roman Flügel.)
It’s really the visual material that starts to show promise, though – see the images here. A visual team including developer Aaron Jablonski and CG director and creature maker Giusy Amoroso created an alien fishtank for the artist to inhabit tonight – and you can see the wonderful creatures they’re producing.
The whole thing will run in a game engine – fitting, as platforms like Twitch were streaming games while the club community was still just showing, well, clubs. And beyond that, I don’t know what to expect. But I’ll be tuning in, as this feels less like “DJ mix plus webcam” and more like something worth seeing on a screen.
I hope to talk to Aaron Jablonski soon, so take a look, let us know what you think, and if you have questions. The work uses among other things the real-time platform Unity and Microsoft Kinect camera – and then we get these lovely sea creatures:
But I do suspect there’s a lot of potential here. And hey, if you want to catch Dixon and The Black Madonna in GTA V, too, I’m game. It’s more fun than watching Facebook Live chat hang my browser tabs, I know that. (Hey – I believe in computers and the Internet. We will get there, because we can.)
Full credits – and some Instagram links for you:
Visual Director – Tim Novikov (@o_.o._o)
Creative Direction – Ana Ofak
Unity development – Aaron Jablonski (@exitsimulation)
Art Direction CG – Giusy Amoroso (@sx_marigoldff) / Aaron Jablonski
CG Lead environment/creatures – Giusy Amoroso
Environment artist – Maxi Galgenmaier (@sx_maxi_milane)
Executive Producer – Steffen Berkhahn
Camera – Tim Scherret
Kinect – Aaron Jablonski and Timur Novikov
Sound – Bjorn Debergh
Project Manager – Alex Horton