A Taste of Sónar +D by Mazda Rebels is a program of concerts that showcase the latest developments in audiovisual performance. Following great shows by Martin Messier, Myriam Bleau and Chagall, the final event of 2016 takes place this Thursday and features one of the stand out performances of Sónar 2016. V.I.C.T.O.R. by Golden Bug and Desilence, unites live electronica with digital mapping and innovative stage design with a retro-futurist bent. To warm up for the show, Sónar +D spoke to Søren Christiansen and Tatiana Halback from Desilence, the studio responsible for the visual element of the show, about the project and their influences.
How would you describe your work in Desilence to a total stranger?
It’s difficult to describe, but if we were to explain it to our grandparents, we’d say we do futuristic stage design.
Why mapping? What attracts you to this format?
Digital mapping is really nothing more than a tool we use to escape the limitations of a 2D screen, and adapt images to space. It’s incredibly versatile and has a long future ahead, but it’s important to see it as a tool that, used in combination with other techniques, can open up new imaginary worlds.
V.I.C.T.O.R. is a collaboration with the French musician Golden Bug. How did this come about?
We’ve been friends with Antoine for years, and had wanted to work on something together for a long time. About 2 and a half years ago we decided to get serious, and also involved another good friend, the architect Christian Leibenger who helped to design the structure. Since then it’s been a wonderful ride.
What are the different challenges in creating for say, a museum, an ad campaign or a live music show like V.I.C.T.O.R.?
There’s a big difference between working to someone elses brief and working on your own project from the get go. Whether it’s an installation or a live show, you tend to engage more viscerally with the work, and with a greater depth of feeling. It’s like painting a picture.
There’s this idea that visuals take second place to the music in a/v shows. How do we get past this?
By working with musicians who share a conceptual approach to their art. The problem is clubs and festivals that don’t allow for any conversation between the DJ and whoever’s doing the visuals, so the VJ just has to do the best they can. There’s also the technical considerations: the quality of the projection screen, or even considering getting rid of the screen and integrating the visuals into the show on an architectural level.
Is there one space or building in particular that you’d like to work on?
Every space is a unique challenge, and we love transforming them in each instance. One building that we’ve always wanted to do something in is the DR Koncerthuset concert hall in Copenhagen.
What advise would you give to someone just starting out in the world of digital design. Is it as inaccessible as it seems?
Some of the equipment can be expensive it’s true, but on the other hand the technology has never been as accessible as it is at the moment. The best way is to start small, and invest in the material as your business grows. Forming networks with other visual artists is also a great way of expanding your knowledge.
Putting the digital aside, what are your biggest influences from the world of traditional art?
(Tatiana) I trained as a painter originally, and i’m very influenced by the work of Paul Klee.
(Søren) I like the illustrator Syd Mead a lot.
And finally, what can we expect from the show at ATOS+D
Since we performed at Sónar, we’ve had the opportunity to tour the project, and it gets better each time we perform. Our goal is really the same every time: for the audience to have an amazing time!