X sl_owtalk






Intro

project type Multimedia Performance
year 2021



As part of CAKE theatre’s Running with Strippers music stage, I collaborated with this local drum and synth duo called ‘sl_owtalk’, who dabbles with oscillators and percussive rhythms through harsh aural dissonance.



When I first heard their music, the experience was rather intense due to their restless drumming and distorted synth sounds. The first thing that came into my head was an image of a man going astray with an intense emotion of being chased after with so much guilt.

Rather than showing visually impressive footages on a loop on a massive screen, I wanted to craft a story of a fallen man throughout the 30 minutes set.





Process
As I was pretty new to live performances, I had to learn how to do the VJing using a software called Resolume - which operates similarly to Ableton mixed with layered-based graphic applications such as photoshop.

After learning a bit about the software, I analyzed the music a bit deeper and started to write down what I ‘see’ in different parts of the music. Next, I searched for the videos that I could find on the internet, took out the exact scene that encapsulated the feeling, and made them into 3-4 seconds loops.

And treating them as an ingredient, or even a vocabulary to compose a sentence, I started orchestrating them under different songs to deliver the emotions. Working off from the setlist, the structure looked like this:

(I worked with a bunch of keywords as it is delivering the emotion, not logical storytelling)


1) 1212
A forewarning of what’s gonna happen.
Nightmares and church bells. Reminding of the guilt that one feels. The guilt is visualized with the footage of a bird and a man falling.

2) Perang
A desperate running fight. 
Feeling of being chased after something. A man starts to feel that he is worth less of a bug.

3) Sesat
Starting to reveal his past and his sins. 
Gambling. Casino. Prostitution. And about being addicted. How it slowly eats up.

4) 119
Him with a severe stage of addiction.
Gaming and how it conflicts with reality. Inability to see the reality. Feeling of being a cockroach. 

5) Anubis
Love, Jealousy, Murder, and Obsession.
Starts with a passionate kiss that keeps fading out into black, which reminds him it’s just a memory. Short clips of him murdering his partner’s secret lover.

6) Diamond Back
A severe paranoia.
All the things, reality, the imagination of him being a cockroach, and memories collide with one another, creating great chaos. End with the falling man again, reveals how he ends life.


I created my own score book to let myself know what visual flow I need to follow during the live performance. I connected the electronic keyboard that I use for my music to trigger the visuals in the Resolume app.

















Final

For nearly 2-3 months, I spent sleepless nights after work to finesse the performance. Throughout the entire process, the band and I had really good chemistry and were invited to perform at Esplanade, Theatres on the bay after a few months.

Jokingly, we talked about I am like the third member of the duo band - which is just a light-hearted comment - but this comment made me think of the potential of the visual instruments and how they could be used to deliver the vivid emotive experience.