Ars Electronica 2003
Festival-Website 2003
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Festival 1979-2007


Key Grip

'Justin Manor Justin Manor

The Key Grip project is an attempt to combine the entertainment and expressive possibilities of television, video gaming, and audiovisual performance into a single platform.The user can manipulate live and recorded media streams in a fully three dimensional environment via an arcade gamepad. Video and audio can be scratched, looped, and extruded into an expansive virtual space with the gamepad controls.

As the nature of visuals created for live performances becomes more complex and three dimensional, the use of a videogame input device becomes very natural and useful. PC and console games now take place in accuratere constructions of real cities, richly decorated landscapes, and across whole galaxies. And with this explosion of scale and realism, the ability of users to fluidly navigate and view their surroundings has blossomed with the advent of creative control metaphors and high-bandwidth input devices.

The player ceases to register individual button presses and joystick twiddles; they simply “become” the character in the game and proceed to jump, dodge, and shoot their way towards victory. This control transparency coupled with the ease of three dimensional navigation made the gamepad a natural choice for realtime audiovideo manipulation, or VJing.

By programming command over spatial and temporal presentation of live video into the Key Grip system, the control convenience of computer modelling software was combined with the expressive possibilities of direct scene manipulations. Key Grip users can loop interesting footage or zoom into a tiny portion of a scene from any angle or velocity.
With the ability to introduce time changes and three dimensional distortions to live video subtly or abruptly, viewers can be drawn into a world that is simultaneously real and unreal. The shared surroundings of performer and audience are easily reinterpreted at will to exaggerate prominent features or introduce new meaning.

Realized with support of the Siemens Artist in Residence Project at Ars Electronica.