AATOAA studio is
Vincent Morisset and friends
In 2011, I met Aaron Koblin from Google Creative Lab at OFFF in Barcelona. We promised ourselves that we would work together one day. Last fall, Aaron and I started to ping pong some ideas. We were quite excited about the potential of connecting devices through web sockets. From the very beginning, we knew that we wanted to explore that notion of connection in storytelling. My genius developer, Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit, had the idea of displaying a tracker on the phone and use camera vision from the computer to track it. We pair this information with the mobile gyroscope and accelerometer data sent through network. This setup would allow us to know accurately where in the space we hold the phone and how we handle it. I didn't wanted to transform the phone into a remote control or a game pad though. I thought it could be more interesting if the phone became a source of light. Give the illusion that we have a small video projector in our hand, beaming images on the computer screen surface. There was a desire to recreate something that feels analog and optical. Bringing back the visceral pleasure of playing with a flashlight, a prism or shadow puppets.
Again, by a strange coincidence or synchronicity, Arcade Fire was recording at that time a song called Reflektor. It was the perfect fit thematically! The lyrics became the foundation of the project. For me, this song is a quest for truth. A metaphor about representation and identity. I thought about Plato's Cave. The actual interaction was now part of the message. We created an invisible wall in the physical space. The spectator on one side, the protagonist trapped in the screen on the "other side". Fiction and reality colliding. This was also another thing I wanted to explore. Combine documentary style shooting to an imaginary world. Create a clash between the first interactive half of the clip and the end where the spectator is invited to let go.
Caroline Robert, Brandon Bloomeart, Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit and I spent months in our studio in Montreal to figure out the interactivity, the esthetic and general story of the film. It was exciting. Playing with optical toys, coding prototypes, shoot ourselves, simulate interaction ideas in after effects... The pieces of the puzzles slowly snapped together and the storyboard was crafted through this process.
Haiti has always been a great source of inspiration for the band. It seemed natural to set the story there. Again, to create a contrast between our world and another fascinating one. We went to Jacmel, cultural capital of Haiti and host of one of the most exciting carnival in the world. Our journey there was amazing. We had the help of the local film school, Ciné Institute, who guided us in the city and gave us a big hand on the actual production. Axelle 'Ebony' Munezero is the protagonist in the clip and the choreographer. Through her dance and presence, she combined pure beauty and fierce passion. It was also a great honour to collaborate with the Google Creative Lab. Aaron Koblin is an amazing creative director that understands deeply this medium. He gave us a lot of trust. The dev team there helped with network and sound synchronization. They also built the user interface for the tech page. At London-based production company Unit9, producer Amelia Roberts and lead developer, Maciej Zasada, were a key part in the making of the project. Finally, the film shoot was taking care by Sach Baylin-Stern from Antler Films. I had the chance to collaborate with a fantastic team!
One thing I really like to do is to put the film on pause (by clicking spacebar) and to continue to play on the frozen image. Specially fun in the zombie scene... We hope that you'll like it!
A tour de force of digital art.
The Montréal team for the project was just incredible! Merci à tous!!
The web project was also adapted as an installation. It was presented at the Gaité Lyrique in Paris, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Cinekid Medialab in Amsterdam, Museum of Art of the Seoul National University, Montréal Créative exhibition, the Japan Media Arts Festival 2012 and Mutek. Here is a video about the creative process and the experience in Paris:
INNI is Sigur Rós's second live film following 2007's hugely-celebrated “Heima”. Whereas that film positioned the enigmatic group in the context of their Icelandic homeland, providing geographical, social and historical perspectives on their otherworldly music, with uplifting results, “Inni” focusses purely on the band's performance, which is artfully and intimately captured by French-Canadian director Vincent Morisset (Arcade Fire's “Miroir Noir”). Interweaving archive material from the band's first ten years with the sometimes gossamer light, sometimes punishingly intense, concert footage, “Inni” is a persuasive account of one of the most celebrated and influential rock bands of recent years. “INNI is the intimate in the middle of a big stage. It's the abstraction of the gestures and the magnification of delightful details. It's a tribute to the unique energy of Sigur Rós. INNI leaves room to all the beautiful images that come to our minds when we listen to their music.” (Vincent Morisset)
“haunting, emotion-drenched... soul-stirring fusion of joy and heartache... usher[s] the listener into a state of near-celestial rapture.”
“something stunning... one of the most engrossing concert films in recent memory. . . ”
“German Expressionism on acid… some sort of lost artefact… straight out of [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream… succeeds fully.”
“The ghost-like, ethereal quality of the visuals mixed with the otherworldly sounds can captivate in their intensity as well as carry you to another plane of existence. Let the music wash over you, enjoy the religious experience on screen, and convert all your friends into lovers of uniquely original music.”
Last fall, when Arcade Fire was recording The Suburbs, Caroline Robert and I started to exchange with the band about visual ideas that could be developed. Win wanted that we create a version of the artwork that would be relevant in the digital world. Most of us now buy, share and listen to music through computer and portable devices. It seems absurd that it is still a single JPG that is attached to an album in 2010. I thought about the relation we have with the vinyl cardboard cover or the paper booklet while listening to the songs. Flipping through the lyrics, looking at a band picture or a cool drawing related to a song while listening to it. With the mp3 player, we lost that. I wanted to find a way to get closer to that experience again. I finally found a way to do something similar through the limitations of the actual formats. I call it SYNCHRONISED ARTWORK!