The art of the Squarepusher live show
The visual elements Squarepusher live show explores the crossover between man-made and computer generated systems.
The artwork is generated in realtime by the system, governed by a combination of the inputs it receives from the performer and geographical & meterological information from each location. The data controls the parameters from which the visual elements are grown, whilst the audio triggers the growth itself. The fluctuating nature of these elements have created a flexible canvas that is no longer controllable by any operator.
The programming environment which was created to originally produce the visual content is the exact same that performs it each night, mirroring the approach taken by Squarepusher with his audio project. There is no dilution in the process.
The artistic concepts are designed to echo the idea of the machine as both responsible and falible. As with its creators, it is capable of feats of both beauty and destruction. Although the imagery is all computer generated, very little of it is inherantly graphical. it lives in the the blurred line between harsh reality and the outright fantastical, in which the audience has no frame of reference for defining what they are experiencing.
This divide between human and machine is empahsised by using the musician himself as the secondary canvas. Squarepusher performs englufed in projections mapped over his body using an infra-red mask, obscuring his apperance behind an ever changing barage of oscillating light.
Performances have taken place throughout 2015 around the world including events at London's Barbican Theatre, Webster Hall in New York, Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) and Sydney Opera House.
I recently noticed that I had developed an incredibly controlling, almost autocratic mindset when it came to scripting out my plans for a stage show. I would analyse each frame intently to ascertain whether its place within the structure as a whole was justified. It had become a totally mechanical process, devoid of anything but pure analytics; I realised it wouldn't be too long for a semi-sentient being could take on this role.
The Squarepusher project was my way of reacting to this realisation.
I wanted to create a system that, after giving it an initial set of rules, I could no longer interact with or control in any way. I would relinquish this control to the machine, through its own connection with the audio and its own understanding of the environment it was in.
Zachariah Norman (Black Box Echo)