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By all accounts, the Chinese love interactive performance.

In November 2010 Shakthi joined ten other Australian artists to devise a rockin’ new media show for the people of China. Called On the Edge, the whole thing was pulled together by the wonderful Kate Croll and supported by the AICC. Here it is in pictorial form.

Check out the On the Edge website to learn more about the show and the totally amazing artists I worked with.

OTE In Beijing, our screen was a massive LED screen. Our show was in a public place, so I made an opening piece that slowly drew a crowd in. It was a mashup featuring images from remote Western Australia, iron ore trains, ships coming to China, the people of China, all to Monkey Marc’s beats. OTE MC Mantra did spoken word over the top. He weaved in and out of the show with words, raps and some of his own music thereafter, the voice of the work. OTE The show was placed in a piazza within a big shopping mall. After an intro sequence, a calligrapher began painting in water on the ground. His calligraphy stick was tied via a wiimote to a synth patch, so he painted in sound as well as water as he moved. Richie Allen set this up. OTE The AV crew consisted of DJ Wasabi and Monkey Marc (pictured) and Robin Fox and I (seated). It was cold. They both rocked it throughout the performance. OTE Really cold. OTE My role after the beginning was VJ. I used Isadora and was really impressed with how sophisticated it was. It was very fun, throwing up content on such a massive screen. Some fantastic portraits were shot by Poppy van Oorde-Grainger, that went up as a database controlled by movement of the mouse. In the final show, in Chengdu, I jumped on the wiimote bandwagon and made with Richie an app that let people VJ as they danced, controlling the colour and size of a live camera feed of themselves based on their movements. OTE We did night time shows in Beijing too. OTE At one point Davros (stunning graphics/design/post-production man who also contributed heaps of fantastic visual content to the show) threw up work, again with Richie’s wiimote tool doubling their visual movement for sound. In Beijing, calligrapher man joined in, an amazing moment as it was his first non-calligraphy moment and he rocked it. In other shows, Tanya El-Gamal also joined in.

Towards the end of each show Rhys Turner rocked it with his iPhone audience VJ app – people could use an iPhone screen as a canvas to draw processing-style shapes and flows of images drawn by young Chinese people, and have it show up on the big screen. This is some raw footage of it in action as MC Mantra and DJ Wasabi freestyle to words that pop up on the screen.

OTE Robin Fox blew everyone’s brains at the end of each show with his audio-controlled laser work. This is in Chongqing, a small warehouse performance. I’m a fan of his emergency stop button.

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