We like to describe Ooo-Ya-Tsu as an art performance of "collaborative soundscape painting", exploring the interaction between the gestures of classical hand-drawing, animated computer graphics and electronic music.
Ooo-Ya-Tsu is the fruit of our collaboration with visual art collective Qubo Gas and musician Olivier Durteste (a.k.a DDDxie), which took place during a series of artist residencies and public presentations between 2013 and 2016.
2hD takes part in the live public performances of Ooo-Ya-Tsu, but also developed the computer programme that drove the interaction between the drawing instruments (pencils and paint brushes), the video projection on the canvas and the musical instruments.
What is Ooo-Ya-Tsu
Taking place in the midst of the audience, three visual artists draw simultaneously on a large paper canvas laying on the floor, using pencils and watercolour brushes. Each of their actions leaves physical traces on the canvas, but also creates flurries of colours and animated collages — superimposed by a video projection that tracks their drawings movements — as well as layers of sounds and musical rhythms that build on the musical performance of the musician, sitting next to the paper canvas.
Responding to these new sound patterns, the musician himself adjusts his own live composition using electronic music instruments, creating in turn new visual effects on the paper canvas and influencing the live actions of the drawing artists.
As the performance unfolds, a complex graphical and musical dialogue develops between its different actors — each influencing the others' work, while all collaborate interactively to create a unique sound and visual landscape.
Inspired by the principles of phase music, the different rhythmic and visual layers of this landscape come in and out of focus: sometimes momentarily revealing the different musical and graphical universes that constitute them, sometimes recombining them into complex abstract patterns. Until eventually, both music and projected animations begins to evolve autonomously, continuing to shift and echo long after the performance of the actors themselves is over.
At the centre of the Ooo-Ya-Tsu performance is a custom-made computer programme created by 2hD, using the Processing programming language. This powerful language allowed us to develop a system that allowed linking all the different aspects of the performance, combining motion tracking, video projections, interactions with physical objects and simulations of autonomous particle systems...
The visual aesthetic of Ooo-Ya-Tsu is based on the dream-like imagery of French art collective Qubo Gas, whose work poetically combines painstakingly intricate paintings and collage techniques, with scales ranging from miniature to architectural.
Having scanned a series of artwork they produced for the performance, we programmed the system to dynamically recombined them into an near-infinite number of different collages.
These images could then be superimposed and animated onto the paper canvas, responding to the physical ink forms drawn on the canvas during the live performance, which are analysed by the programme in real-time using infra-red cameras.
The modular aspect of the Processing language also allowed us to combine existing programming libraries to interact remotely with the musician's live performance: triggering visual events in response to certain of his composition patterns or sounds, but also playing sounds directly on his electronic instruments in response to drawing actions on the canvas.
The resulting soundtrack of the performance is a layered composition of phase-shifting abstract samples, overlapping and structuring DDDxie's live electronic music:
Despite its technical complexity, we conceived Ooo-Ya-Tsu so that the technological aspects of the performance remained mostly inconspicuous, keeping the focus instead on Qubo Gas' poetical hand drawings, the materiality of the paper medium and DDDxie's layered and minimalist sound compositions.
In 2013, the Ooo-Ya-Tsu performance was awarded a production grant from the prestigious Centre National du Cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC), in France.