laurel pardue is an accomplished violinist with an augmented violin. her work is all in the aim of making music using a beloved instrument with repertoire and musicians with lifetimes already invested in it. the grunt of her work, though, is engineering: designing sensors and processing to capture the dynamics of a violin being played – as if you could ask the violin itself. that sets an interesting dichotomy in demonstrating her work.

now an analogue instrument with a real-time data feed is attractive to me. having long explored realtime video, i’ve been wanting to work with the directness of lighting for some time. delays and something-one-removed so often seem inevitable for live video work, and here was a chance to get immediate data and direct rendering. so we hatched a plan, a simple but atmospheric visualisation of her playing, around her playing. four parallel beams of light behind, one for each string, and one moving beam for the bow. the trick is for the light’s attenuation and movement to be the music, so eliminating latency is the key: the sound and light are perceived as one.

and here we are, prepping on stage. at this iteration, i’ve got a mixer controller taking in OSC and driving DMX LED lighting. it all would be fine, but experimental hardware being experimental hardware, laurel’s system is needing some emergency attention…