Ever heard of VJing software such like Arkaos, Resolume, or Jitter? Welcome to AudioVisual, a developing multimedia art form in which performers not only produce live music, but live visual realizations as well. The technology allows composers to access video clips, images and texts and manipulate them in similar ways that they use audio samples and synthesizers to create music, all in real time, and also using the same MIDI controller. As far as media culture goes, so far we've had music that is written TO visuals (film, TV, commercials), we've also had visuals that were shot and edited TO music (music videos, "Fantasia"), but AudioVisual provides us with a medium that allows for a simultaneous creation of both film and sound; one no longer dominates over the other or vice versa.
Check out this clip of Yuichiro Kotani messing around with one of his compositions at home:
When I saw Yuichiro and Seiya Matsumiya perform about a year ago, I was amazed with what I thought to be an unprecedented integration of performed sound and video, and then even more surprised to find out that the technology used to create art like theirs has been around for a while. Other great artists that utilize the technology in similar ways are Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, who teamed up with visual artist Dienstelle (Karl Kliem); another is Ryoji Ikeda.
While I have found a new love in the innovative works of these talented people, what excites me most about AudioVisual is not what's being done now, but the potential avenues the present technology could travel in the near future. Imagine a live orchestral performance of pieces like "Fantasia" that aren't restricted by a prerecorded video that a conductor has to meticulously pay attention to in order to keep the players in time, or maybe a coupling of technology between the motion sensor capture used to create Golum from Lord of the Rings as an input device to replace the MIDI controllers altogether? Some software already can take changes in light through the focus of a camera lens and transfer that information to trigger audio samples, but imagine a performance of free-moving dancers who's gestures trigger audio as well as video? It would be a medium integration one step above AudioVisual, and that's not even close to how far I predict this technology could go. If holographic technology becomes practical, that opens up even more possibilities and opportunities for multimedia artists or teams of specialized artists to come together and create what could be the most exciting experiences audience members will witness in the history of performance art.