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SANTIPAB SOMBOON

Creative Technologist // Filmmaker //
Aspiring Data Scientist //

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I was involved in the art direction and production of the New World Symphony project. Though this was my first experience working with designing visuals for live performance, I have always been interested in the relationships between visuals and music. While discussing the art direction for New World Symphony concert, I think we addressed a lot of the tensions that exist between the two mediums and it was interesting to see how these concepts were translated in the constructed visuals. George Crumb's Idyll for the Misbegotten came with his personal notes about the piece.
I think that the final iteration of Crumb was especially successful because it was able to use the form of the piece in order to emphasize themes or the dissonance between them. Particularly because the visuals highlighted the relationship, and at times, opposition, between nature and humanity, the juxtaposition of these different types of footage at significant moments of the piece were appropriately poignant. Surinach's Hollywood Carnival was distinctly different from Crumb in both structure as well as in atmosphere. Yet, in the same vein, Hollywood Carnival is as programmatic as Idyll for the Misbegotten. Each movement of the Surinach is preceded with a telling title: "Beauties on Parade," "Pasa Doble in Technicolor," "Epitaph to the Silent Movie," and so on. The art direction taken to the Surinach was one that was interested in the motifs and their development through the piece. The idea was that each movement was centered around a selection motifs, or variations of, that were presented in the first movement. The development of the motifs is related to the mood of each movement, and this was something that we aimed to achieve through the code.
Because the visuals for the Surinach essentially became a compilation of sketches, artistic decisions has to be made in regards to which videos fit each character of each movement as well as the relationships between them. I was involved in making these decisions as well as for controlling the changes between the different sketches that were generated for each movement during the performance. Managing the code during the performance was a very performative experience in itself. In order to adjust the code for the best effect, it was important to be attuned to how the code was reacting to the real time performance and how the FFT was affecting the code. Timing was important as well, as a lot of the artistic decision regarding the final sketches involved key presses that changed the behavior of the code in relation to theme changes within movements. In essence, I became as much a performer as the musicians on stage, and following the score as well as listening and reacting to the performance became an experience much akin to playing in an ensemble.