So, you’ve got a laptop and you want to play multiple video streams. And maybe it’s not a super-fast laptop – maybe it’s just a kind-of normal laptop that you’ve upgraded to an SSD.
Or, wait — you’ve actually just gotten the dream job media art gig you always wanted. And they’ve assembled 52 projectors in the budget, and want 26 layers of video. And you need to deliver that efficiently. And they didn’t budget for some high-end media server.
Either way, Hap is for you. It’s an open-source, GPU-accelerated video codec. The idea: go easy on your CPU by off-loading decoding to the GPU, and make a reasonable tradeoff in quality and file size that can nonetheless pump out lots of HD video at once. Initially, the codec was the work of the folks at Vidvox (makers of VDMX), along with Tom Butterworth. But by making their work free software, they invited others to collaborate, and bring the tool to other platforms.
And that’s exactly what’s happened. Hap is now in loads of places – including, for the first time, on Windows.
Ah, so it turns out that demoscene animations don’t all have to feature bad trance music. (Sorry, had to be said.)
Srdce is simply exquisite, fluid animations of blades of grass, waveform vibrations, geometric tangles, and the exploding fragments of a beating heart set to a touching song. It came in second at the Outline 2014 demoparty.
Trans-cultural bonus: you get a (Slovak or Czech?) rendition of Emily Dickinson. “Srdce” means heart in Czech; the team originates from Slovakia.
With beautiful instrumentation (banjo!), it’s a lovely way to spend two minutes. And all of this fits in 8MB of Windows executable, a great chunk of which is just the audio.
More demoscene moments to come, but let’s start with this one.
Details, and a bit of poetry (back in the original English):
Srdce by Satori + Tu v dome
Crackling and vibrating, Drøp featuring Fax is an intense bath of sound and light, webs of lines materializing and dissolving in Fax’s visuals like microscopic alien thunderstorms. The duo played live at our first unrender session, and captivated our crowd with improvised abstract etudes.
But while it may look generative, this is all done with clever manipulation of video clips – mixing disguised as algorithmic geometries.
The collaboration was so tightly-knit that I was keen to hear more about how it came together. Fax presented not only at our Unrender series, but also for our friends at Scope Sessions – an international lecture series based in Berlin that acts as a hub for the visualist community based here and traveling through here. Here, we get to talk to Fax, aka Andrea Familari – also one of the organizers behind the epic Live Performers Meeting (LPM) gathering – about his work, his technique, and collaboration.
Still from Creatures audiovisual, by Jem the Misfit and André Uhl. Preview premieres Friday in Berlin.
Electronic and digital visuals are expanding in their expressive potential, as live and real-time instruments, performances, and interactive installations. But the venues and contexts for that work remain understood in terms of narrow, older categories: the gallery and video art, the club and “VJing” – and now, increasingly, via commercial patrons (search engines, trade shows).
What happens when clubland and art-land, the design world and the music scene can encounter one another in open spaces?
unrender is one humble way we get to try to answer that. Hosted and co-curated as a collaboration of CDM with Lehrter Siebzehn, we work with their temporary open project space in Berlin to show a range of what’s happening and what’s possible.
And, you know – it’s a party. It’s free and open to artists and visitors alike, to hope we get to know each other better and discover new people and work.
Here’s what the first installment looked like, through the eyes of a GoPro camera (shot, nicely enough, unsolicited!):
Artists David Abravanel (music) and Theresa Baumgartner (visuals) joined us at the inaugural installment of the CDM co-hosted unrender to take us on a fluid journey through dreamy imagery and sounds. As we get ready for unrender #2 on Friday, David and Theresa share a bit of their process and ideas.