Nine Inch Nails’ New Tour Design Pretty Much Nine Inch Kicks Ass

Do you know who Roy Bennett is?  Are you in the lighting industry?  Let me help you out here — go check out Roy Bennett, then come back here.  I’ll wait.


I wouldn’t say that I’m a NIN fan; but then again, I wouldn’t say that if one of their tunes came on the radio I would turn it off.  Nine Inch Nails has their place for me in the world, but then again I’m one of those trippy dippy jamband people who love the groove.  Call it what you will.  One thing is certain — Roy Bennett’s kick ass production and lighting design work for NIN is definitely just that:  kick ass.

Check out some great video of the pre-production, with those excellent mobile video panels — video put together by The Moment Factory:

NIN Festival Tour – Teaser from Moment Factory on Vimeo.

Then watch this — an AWE-SOME pre-production video of the rehearsals and interviews with tour staff:

Then, Nine Inch Nails fans, a video of the entire performance at the Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands. Here’s the setlist, followed by the video!

00:00:00 — Copy of A
00:06:09 — Came Back Haunted
00:11:28 — 1,000,000
00:15:32 — March of the Pigs
00:19:45 — Piggy
00:24:24 — Terrible Lie
00:29:27 — Burn
00:34:16 — Closer
00:38:50 — Gave Up
00:43:55 — Help Me I Am in Hell
00:45:19 — The Warning
00:49:01 — What If We Could?
00:52:53 — The Way Out Is Through
00:56:33 — Wish
01:00:21 — Only
01:04:41 — The Hand That Feeds
01:08:17 — Head Like a Hole
01:13:58 — Hurt

Sweet.  Roy, you’re AWESOME.

Thanks to Pitchfork for the first video and The Auto Didactic in the Attic for the green smoke image!

Quadrotor Light Show

What happens when you take a four rotor helicopter and some photons?


With the help of mirrors… ONE TOTALLY RADICOOL LIGHT SHOW:

So what did you just see? The production by University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab) uses 16 quadrotors both as lighting devices, but also the mirrors they’re equipped with to manipulate light.

If anyone has more information about how the quadrotors, mirrors, and fixtures are controlled and their interactions programmed, I would love to know! Please post a comment, or you can always reach me via my bio in the footer, the contact form, or daphne (at) jimonlight (dot) com!

Congratulations to the team: Jonathan Santana & Xander Smith (event concept), Juliette Larthe (producer), Marshmallow Laser Feast (Memo Akten, Robin McNicholas, Barney Steel, Raffael Ziegler, Rob Pybus, Devin Matthews, James Medcraft), KMel Robotics (quadrotor design and development), Oneohtrix Point Never (sound design), Sam & Arthur (set design) Holly Restieaux (production supervisor), and Farrow Design (typography and design).

Thanks to Peter Kirkup for directing me to the topic on Blue Room!

The We Love People Love Plastikman

One of the web’s favorite goatee-wearing personalities, Travis Bedard, posted this amazing video of the We Love crowd doing a large Plastikman event – for those of you who don’t know who Plastikman is, you need to fix that right away.

(Plastikman is Richie Hawtin – one of the most referenced electronic musicians ever.  He also does a lot with visuals and video.)

Check out this event video – May 8, 2010 at Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.  Rock.


LichtFaktor – A Live Light Art Performance

I just came across this information from Behance – there is a group out there called optiX, and they are doing live light art performances.  A collaboration of sorts, the optiX guys are a German group that creates live light art, with human interaction, to music.  From the optiX site, translated from German (I apologize for the crappy translation in advance!):

optix has come together in 2001 as a trio, to high-class acrobatics and spectacular lighting effects combine with each other.  The ability to transpose music in light makes the juggling light and fire shows the absolute highlight of optix each event.

In their cooperation are far more light and fire shows, as well as tailor-made productions, DJs, musicians and video artists emerged.

With innovative juggling and amazing photographs OptiX brings you the variety of the 21st century to its stage.

You have to see some of these images, and a video, which is directly below – and below that, an interesting “commercial-y” video from LichtFaktor:

LICHTFAKTOR Live Performance at the sound frame festival 09 from LICHTFAKTOR on Vimeo.

TalkTalk Brighter from LICHTFAKTOR on Vimeo.



Future Lighting Solutions Helps Alexander Scriabin Explore His Synesthesia Post-Humously

What started out as an email with a press release from Kati at Future Lighting Solutions turned into me pulling a late night looking at the symptoms, philosophies, and information about a neuro condition called synesthesia.  Oh, and Alexander Scriabin, the neurotic Russian composer and his “light organ.”

The basics of the topic – Future Lighting Solutions helped a symphony orchestra in Jena, Germany add a ton of colored light via light-up weather balloons to the concert.  Alexander Scriabin’s original work, “Prometheus: Poem of Fire” was the inspiration for adding all of this colored light.  From the press release:

December 19, 2008, was a red-letter day – and purple, pink, blue, green and gold, too – in the annals of symphony performance.  On that date, the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra in Jena, Germany, performed works by composers Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky and Georg Friedrich Haas in a concert hall filled with 170 weather balloons that changed color to complement and enhance the music.  The historic LED-driven light-art concert was the culmination of a joint development eff ort between an artist and members of the Future Lighting Solutions network, fulfilling Scriabin’s 20th century vision of marrying color to music by utilizing never-before-possible 21st century solid-state lighting.

The gist of Scrabin’s work for “Prometheus” was to have a keyed device – a “color organ” of sorts – that would project light of different colors onto a screen during the symphony.  Apparently this guy and I would have thought a lot alike, because this is an awesome idea.  There are musicologists that believe that Scriabin wanted to flood the entire inside of the symphony hall with colored light, but gave up on that idea once he realized that it was technologically impossible.  Too bad that VL3500 Spots and Mac 2K Washes didn’t exist back when he was rocking the stave pad.

What’s even more interesting about this whole idea of lighting the symphony with color was perhaps due to a condition that Scriabin might have had called Synesthesia – “a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”  So essentially, Scriabin associated different colors with different musical notes.  At one point, he went as far as to graphically associate the notes with different colors on the octave pad.  Check it out:

alexander scriabin

Wouldn’t you love to live for a week in this guy’s brain?

Future Lighting Solutions provided the LED mechanism for the weather balloons, which was a complicated system of LEDs and a sensor that kept the light emanating from the balloons chromatically accurate among the system.  If you’re lighting the music of a composer like Scriabin, paying attention to detail is certainly the way to go, at least in my opinion.  I’m also the kind of person who at least tries to do everything I do at 100 miles per hour and full power.  More from the press release, this time about the LED system:

Each module consisted of 18 red, green and blue LUXEON® Rebel LEDs from Philips Lumileds mounted on six metal-core PCBs with three LEDs per board.  The PCBs in turn were affi xed to six-sided metal submounts screwed into aluminum tubes inserted into each balloon. The balloons were outfitted with one to four LED modules, depending on balloon size, enabling each orb to be lit from within by 18 to 72 LEDs. A MAL Effekt-developed DMX512 Power module was used to drive the LEDs, generate the desired colors, and control both color point and brightness via pulse width modulation (PWM).

Several steps were taken to assure color consistency in the LEDs themselves.  First, MAL Effekt used proprietary Future tools to calculate the achievable chromaticity coordinates and thereby determine which color bins were required to produce the color values specifi ed by the artist. Second, the firm took advantage of Future’s binning program to ensure that every balloon would be illuminated by LEDs from the same bin of each color in Future’s managed inventory.

For additional uniformity assurance, each balloon was also fitted with a JENCOLOR color sensor developed by MAZeT and manufactured by JENOPTIK.  The sensors monitored the color produced by the RGB modules and sent the information from a central DMX512 control panel to a custom MAZeT electronic for any necessary adjustments to ensure the homogeneity of color tones from balloon to balloon.

Such great images – check them out!

testing the LEDs in the weather balloons

LED weather balloon testing

the LED rig for the weather balloons


production shot

weather balloon led

Check out more info on Synethesia, and check out the Future Lighting Solutions website.

Thanks, Kati!

Ars Electronica in Austria – An LED Marvel Performance

From the Vimeo site on the project:

lights on is an audio visual performance created for the Ars Electronica museum in Linz, Austria, which has a facade that contains 1085 LED controllable windows. The windows’ colors are changed in realtime with music that’s broadcasted on speakers surrounding the building.

visuals coded in openframeworks by zachary lieberman, joel gethin lewis and damian stewart (yesyesno). music by daito manabe, with support from Taeji Sawai and Kyoko Koyama. we made this in three days :)

the performance is approximately 10 minutes long. this is an edit. also, we’ve recorded the output from the software (audio / OSC) and this performance can be replayed in the future for events, etc.

special thanks to the awesome ars electronica / futurelab crew, (maria, wolfgang, andreas, ramsay, horst, gerfried, maff, christopher and everyone else), also iris mayer, carolina vallejo, and rhizomatiks for helping make this possible. also a huge thanks to the excellent technicians Multivision who installed this system: some info about the install here: / / / /

Check out this video – Oh, I want to do this with some good folks like these.  Dreams of living architecture always fill my brain…

Thanks, VJ.TV!

Toyo Ito and Takram Design Engineering’s “Furin” Wind Chimes


I just discovered this beautiful project – it’s no longer installed, as it was on display July 28, 2008 through August 22, 2008.  Toyo Ito and Associates Architects and Takram Design Engineering created this interactive exhibit with 280 glass chimes.  Here’s some info on the project:

On a grid of equilateral triangles, we hung a total of 280 glass wind chimes from the ceiling at varying heights to represent the undulation of a wave. When you walk underneath the wind chime, not only does it ring, but its LED also alights like a firefly. The wind chimes nearer to the ceiling ring in higher tones, and those hung lower in lower tones together offering 10 degrees of tonal expression. And it feels as though you are walking inside a large interactive instrument. Additionally, the wind chimes are networked together, so that the sound and light spreads to adjacent wind chimes like ripples in the water. This network system was based on the idea of behavior we observe among certain animals in nature that form groups.

No matter what I say about this, nothing is going to top the videos.  Check them out.

Thanks, DesignBoom!

Primal Source at Santa Monica’s Glow 08

primalsource3 primalsource-3

Santa Monica city government and the Santa Monica Arts Foundation produced an even in Summer 2008 called Glow 08 – it was an evening to morning event featuring music, light, and art installations and projects.  From the website and other articles I’ve read, it was pretty fantastic.  One of the projects I ran across was a HUGE water screen with projections on it “governed” by the excitement of the crowd – depending on how the crowd responded to the installation, it would process video visualizations accordingly.  How cool is that?!

The installation was named “Primal Source,” and was created by Usman Haque of Haque Design and Research.  There’s a small bit of background information at the project website.  From that site:

Specially commissioned by the City of Santa Monica, California, for Glow 08, Primal Source was an all-night performance/installation brought to life through the active participation of festival-goers (estimated at approx. 200,000 over the course of the night).

Located on the beach near the Pier in an area that had been specifically landscaped over the course of several days, and making use of a large-scale outdoor waterscreen/mist projection system, the mirage-like installation glowed with colours and ebullient patterns created in response to the competing and collaborative voices, music and screams of people nearby.

Responding to sounds emanating from the crowd, the system’s modes changed every few minutes depending on how active the crowd participation was (more quickly when there was more noise). Each mode responded in a slightly different way to the individual voices and sounds picked up by 8 microphones distributed towards the front.

Some modes created “creatures” whose colour, shape and movement followed the frequency and amplitude dynamics of individual syllables and sentences picked up; other modes responded to wider collective phenomena, e.g. distorting a grid in response to the crowd volume, or creating a rush of wind through a wheat-field landscape.

Haque Design‘s specialization statement is pretty excellent – check it out:

Haque Design and Research specialises in the design and research of interactive architecture systems. Architecture is no longer considered something static and immutable; instead it is seen as dynamic, responsive and conversant. Our projects explore some of this territory.

Also check out the Processing and Pure Data websites, both products used in the creation and production of the installation.  Processing is an open source language that processes images, animations, and interaction – and Pure Data is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing.  Both of these open source products are free.  Yes, free.


Primal Source (video documentation) from haque d+r on Vimeo.

Thanks, Interactive Architecture!