When artists Hisham Akira Bharoocha and Santtu Mustonen teamed up with the amazing Imprint Projects and Dave and Gabe to present Metamorphosis at House of Vans, Brooklyn, they had one goal in mind: immersive interaction. The spacious, dark venue received an onslaught of interactive visuals, drumming, voguing, and even a live stream of 3D photographs pouring out of the photo booth. The night’s centerpiece was the 40-foot floating projection, made of two screens hung low above the audience in a roof shape, that beamed visuals that could be altered by sound, including the midi controlled drum pads the audience was free to use. “It felt like the whole world was moving,” says Santtu of the effect it created.
Theme and Event Production by Imprint Studios
Illustration by Santtu Mustonen + Hisham Bharoocha
Animation by Santtu Mustonen + Hisham Bharoocha
Sound design by Hisham Akira Bharoocha
Music curation by Hisham Akira Bharoocha
Installation design by Dave & Gabe
Art Production by Hugo & Marie
Hisham, who emerged as a drummer from New York City’s DIY music scene, and grew up a skateboarder who liked to skate only in Vans, had a vision to bring his cross-cultural NYC influences together in honor of Vans’ own underground skating origins. This was an opportunity to help the brand step out of its traditional street art space and cross-pollinate. “It’s easy to make a music event with visuals that play in the background of a stage,” he says, “I wanted to engage the space in a new way, so that the audience wouldn’t just stand around and drink free drinks. I love underground club culture and the dance styles that come from it, I wanted to show how DJ culture has influenced my music, I wanted all the elements to interact with each other.”
Eight sets of visuals were created for the drum-oriented live music performances, with eight sets of effects that could be applied to them in real-time so that each performance had a different set to work with. Sensory Percussion / Sunhouse collaborated with Hisham’s band IIII, where their drum sensor technology made it possible to not only affect the audio signal coming from a drum, but to have the drum hits affect the visuals as well. Dave and Gabe were brought in to make this programming come to life. “They worked hard on it, there was a lot of trial and error,” says Hisham.
Santtu says it was pretty mind blowing to observe people realizing that the drum pads were interacting with the sound, and that combining each one’s effects with other drummers made “the whole screen explode”. The interactive projection was brought to life with light sensor technology and projection mapping. The animations take inspiration from metamorphosis in nature: the changing light of the day, the idea of a mutation, and ever-evolving human beliefs and progress. “I also loved the colorful ‘metamorphosis’ that took over from rainbow to minimal black and white graphic shapes. It was easy to walk under it or circle around.”
As admirers of each other’s work, the two artists were able to connect easily. They worked with Gabe Liberti on visual assets and went through the process of making decisions on how the visuals would move, what would make them move, what kind of effects would happen when certain audio frequencies or midi signals were occuring in the space. “This was the longest part of the process,” says Hisham, “We worked together many hours honing the visuals.”
Thanks to Imprint, Dave and Gabe, Soft Circle, Dutch E Germ, Tygawpaw, IIII, DJ Mike Q and Qween Beat, DJ Tameil, Venus X, Brian DeGraw, Gamma NYC, A-1 Array, and Sunhouse Sensory Percussion.