Up and down the Metaverse – Rhizomatiks on synchronicity and multilevel experiences

In today’s mercurial, complex, and ambiguous world, our bodies oscillate between the virtual and the real more than ever. The world-famous collective Rhizomatiks is testing the web, presenting performances and experimental online-based systems, and approaching these situations from a variety of angles. Their collaborations with a diverse range of international performers, for instance, have created new visions of the body fused with technology, while their collaborations with scientists and researchers, including neuroscientists and astronomers, have enabled what is invisible to come within our reach through the visualization of data. Through R&D projects and creations, Rhizomatiks is bringing to both the real and the virtual dimension more cutting-edge expressions than ever before.

Rhizomatiks_multiplex, their first large-scale exhibition, is now held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and online, introducing a comprehensive archive of the cross-disciplinary work of Rhizomatiks, including a series of new projects. On view until June 20th, 2021, the exhibition offers two ways of engagement: offline enhanced experience in real space and online viewing of simulated, showcasing new works and archival materials. Their ingenious experiments seek out a sense of synchronicity with a constantly changing world through a hybrid, offline/online exhibition: while physical audience attends through a wired and “sensitive” environment, interacting and providing data from their experience, a website replicates each space in a 3D model so that online viewers can have a simulated experience of walking through the real museum.

By integrating computing, coding, and engineering technologies with the wide variety of communication hidden in modern society and human physicality including virtuality, Rhizomatiks has produced many works that reveal new aspects and give insights. A post-COVID19 society demands a shift online, and new possibilities surrounding human communication are being explored. Implementing numerous projects and technological proposals against this chaotic backdrop, Rhizomatiks will demonstrate the “new role of the artist” in the ever-shifting world of spring 2021.

In one of the new installation works, Rhizomatiks × ELEVENPLAY “multiplex”, physical performances generated by exemplary visual design and programming, through a collaboration with Perfume, are transformed into a medium that connects the audience with movement and space, thereby bringing a hitherto unknown version of the body into being. Here, projections create an immersive environment with seamlessly blended images and an optimized layout that heightens the sense of realism. Vice versa, the real space is integrated into a virtual one online, shifting the viewer’s perspective and provoking thoughts of a new humanity. Rhizomatiks research has always been focused on multimedia performative languages and their evolution live media shows: their sets and live performances continue to contribute to the construction of a post-human image of the bodies on stage, connecting software, hardware, gestures, music, natural and artificial dimensions.

In fact, last February the team has reloaded border 2021, a dance piece previously developed with ELEVENPLAY and MIKIKO in 2015. Always researching new possibilities in the realms of technical and artistic expression with a focus on R&D-intensive projects, they elaborated and updated their attempts to build a new expression model for both online and offline experience after COVID-19. They have created a viewing environment at an on-site venue where the audience can keep social distance to watch a dance performance integrated with mobility and mixed reality technologies from multiple viewpoints. In addition, the set up offered a new way of enjoying a dance performance by allowing online access and, most of all, it provided a unique virtual viewing experience, such as a bird’s eye view of the entire venue and the operation screen of controlling software, which cannot be seen in the on-site experience.

Recently, the boundary-breaking founder of Rhizomatiks Daito Manabe has partnered with Machinedrum to broadcast a unique performance on 24th April 2021. “For the A View Of U Live, the 4D shooting system, which Rhizomatiks has developed, was used to realize a new audio-visual work that goes back and forth between the real and the virtual world,” Manabe stated. As a true innovator in data analysis and data visualization, his practice is informed by careful observation to discover and elucidate the essential potentialities inherent to the human body, data, programming, computers, and other phenomena, thus probing the interrelationships and boundaries delineating the analogue and digital, real and virtual. Expanding on the technology used, the Rhizomatiks team explains that “existing Volumetric Capture systems cannot be used in a real-time setting, and it tends to be redundant when connected with Rhizomatiks’ visual system. So we decided to create our own Volumetric Capture system that can work both in real-time and non-real-time so that it fits in with Rhizomatiks’ expression. It doesn’t need the green-screen environment or requires complex setup so can even be applied to a live performance on stage when we restart concerts and live.”

Rhizomatiks | Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

Sat. 20 Mar – Sun. 20 Jun, 2021 *The museum is temporarily closed until May 31st. Please check the website for further information.




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