A night out with 1024 architecture (or maybe two)
Before start reading, you should get into 1024’s typical workday playlist and listen to those beats:
[Press here if you are annoyed and you want to read directly the end of the tale]
I met Cinzia more than a year ago, it was spring and the architecture firm I was working for was celebrating the launch of a new project on the top of the Cité de l’Architecture. In this “so cliché” landscape, with the Tour Eiffel standing right behind us, and a wonderful sunset shading the atmosphere, I was sipping Gallia beer and being introduced to her. She told me about her job and the gist of her speech (elaborated by my brain and chewed out here) was “well, we’re doing great parties!”. Which was kind of cool anyway, but I soon figured out that this was not the only thing 1024 architecture achieved nowadays..
Change of location. A bunch of months later, I was speaking with a friend of mine who apparently attended the “coolest show ever”. Interested by the topic, I asked for more and I found out that he was talking about the event taking place at La Grande Halle de La Villette organized by We Love Art + The Creators Project (presenting Miss Kittin, LFO, Jackson among others).
And guess who were the magicians behind that itinerant BoomBox that made the crowd go crazy and dance like they mean it? Oh, really? 1024 architecture you say… Uhm, reminds me about something.
A Short definition of BoomBox courtesy of Wikipedia: “Boombox is a colloquial expression for a portable cassette or CD player with two or more loudspeakers. Other terms known are ghetto blaster, jambox, Brixton briefcase or radio-cassette. (…)”
Hell yes, I wish I was there. 1024 built a big reproduction of an enormous K7 Boombox structure sized 16x8m, where they eventually projected their super visuals through one Playstation 3 controller device especially modified for this particular use.
This was the first time I heard about Video Mapping.
Apparently I was the only one not up-to-date about this super contemporary technology, now widely developed, but à l’epoque of 1024’s first steps it was still a pretty experimental practice.
1024 architecture even developed a program designed to simplify the hard work required for “mapping” objects and projecting stuff on them, they invented MadMapper (launched in 2011 and developed in collaboration with Garage CUBE – a swiss crew who previously released the well known program for mapping Modul8)
Video Mapping; a definition for dummies (like me): “The basic idea is: take a projector, point it at a physical volume like an object or an architectural element, and then map an image onto it.” (courtesy of http://www.madmapper.com)
1024 architectural path was an evolution of experimental ideas in-between the milieu of architecture, installation, vj-ing, live performance and ephemeral structures.
1024 was founded in 2007/2008 by Pier Schneider and François Wunschel, members of a previous existing collective named EXYZT (b. 2003, which included five architects founders and now spread to a number of about 30 individuals) that, in between other great projects, was invited by Patrick Bouchain in 2010 to invest for more than three months the Franch Pavillon at the Xth Venice Biennal, with the installation of Metavilla.
So, my statement about these guys shortly switched from “what the #?*$& is this video mapping?” to “Yum, this might be pretty interesting”.
Returning back to my relationship with lovely Cinzia, I finally received the invitation to attend the first 1024 architecture show of my life. Exciting.
It was to the occasion of the big Parisian annual rendez-vous of Fete de la Musique that 1024 was invited to realize a light installation on the notes of Four Tet, Caribou, Jamie XX. Particular remark: the location was the big hall of Grand Palais invaded by the colored joyful piece made by Daniel Buren “Excentrique(s)” (part of 5th edition of Monumenta). 2nd Particular Remark: everybody was supposed to wear white to obey to the classy rules of “Bal Blanc”.
The show was mind-blowing, the location contributed the most, the music was cool and the light installation did its best to solve technical problems related to the complicated association with Buren’s intervention.
When I returned back home early in the morning I could definitely say “Well, these guys know how to party”.
The thing that 1024 does is not just to create happenings that amaze people with their cool lighting effects and great background rhythms, their aim reaches deeper in the research of a spectacularisation of architecture and forms.
The public is the actor of the creative process, the characteristic big scale of their installations diffuses a common sense of participation to a unique event. The architecture animates a debate which interacts with the human senses, opening up to a metamorphoses and digressions caused by technologic interferences. Their live shows are vibrantly powerful and diffuse a stunning and ephemeral visual shock.
Later on, back in July 2012, they were performing the experimental piece Euphorie. The piece was born from the collaboration between François Wunschel and Fernando Favier; a musican.
Euphorie is the first part (initially presented in 2010) of a trilogy of experimental enactments realized through basically low-tech tools and which considers not only the visual experience of mapping but also the interaction between sound and images, movement and live performance. Euphorie is a 40min. long digital-theatrical experience and again a platform for developing new forms of exchanges between the static and dynamic, public and performer, music and its visual translation.
It was wow to say the least.
But 1024 does not only mean ephemeral performances, they’re also engaged in different kind of projects. Guess what, in October 2012 they even realized a scenography for the exhibition French Touch hosted by Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The aim was to expose various French graphic designers and illustrators that, in parallel with the slow spread of frenchie music around the world, contributes to diffuse the signature of this French wave.
Also this time our heroes couldn’t miss a respectful after-party, where we were kindly invited to move our fancy feet on Silencio dancefloor.
And we’re arriving at the end of the tale.
On November 27th 2012, the second part of Euphoria was performed for the first time at MAC in Créteil as a part of the NEMO Festival program. The piece was named Crise (the third part, still a work-in-progress will be named Recession, but we’ll unfortunately have to wait over 2 years to see the light) and was speculating about businessmen’s bottled-up utopias, ancestral failing fears and anxiety for future risks and breakdowns.
François and Fernando, the two “actors on stage”, employed mixers, DMX-MIDI devices and unusual bizarre retro-futuristic objects to animate this piece involving lights, sound and projections.
The show was impressive and the awareness of the public was remarkable. Personally (and based upon my own presumptions) I didn’t expect such a crowd attending a show taking place unhappily out of “Parisian’s boundaries”. But in spite of this, the show was a success and the backstage was even cooler. Happy people, friendly people, people like Michel Gondry, people-champagne and people giving stupid descriptions like me.
After all, this is a description based on my personal interest in following 1024’s work and their experimentations:
1024 (and their external collaborative projects) keep on generating new forms of overtures to create through a manipulation of traditional temporality and interaction between technologies and human receptivity. Eliminating the traditional boundaries concerning the limits of the different independent tools they’re using, they establish innovative forms of fascination generated through art installation.
Nevertheless, in my mind they will still be “the party makers”.
Keep on going.
Cinzia has just started her collaboration with KSAT, joining the scenography team for KSAT events. We’re happy to welcome her on board!
Thanks to Cinzia for introducing me to this vibrant world, and for the fun.
Thanks to 1024 architecture for the permission to use those images and diffusing those words. Cheers!