Discotrope Almost Arrives! (The Future is Dead. Long Live the Future.)

We’ve got a new video! And some thoughts on the future…

The future ain’t what it used to be.
-Yogi Berra

Economies are dismal in much of the world; R&D budgets are slashed. The space shuttle is no more, joining supersonic transport in the annals of Cool-Stuff-That-Used-To-Exist. When Steve Jobs died, it signaled the final bow of something we already knew was coming to an end: the future.

Wait – what? Why? Money? Now we’re told even the Great Depression wasn’t this depressing.

The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive.
-John Sladek

But maybe the future’s non-existence isn’t fait accompli. Maybe it isn’t bankrupt. Maybe the future just needs “restructuring.” Perhaps we can glean something from the days when the future didn’t have to be so slick. When it was a little bit kooky.

When crazy ideas…

… sometimes worked.

Otto Lilienthal, ca 1895.

Otto Lilienthal, ca 1895.

And led to not-so-crazy inventions (that sometimes didn’t.)

Wright Brothers’ plane turning over, 1911.

Wright Brothers’ plane turning over, 1911.

What’s this got to do with us?

We’re inspired by sea balloon bicycles and cars on skis. Zoetropes and YouTube. Disco balls and Lucille Ball. We think crazy ideas just might work. That fun and meaningful are not mutually exclusive qualities. And that a solar-powered nightlife might be energizing – as well as a new approach to image, movement, and improvisation in audiovisual performance.

Introducing Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells. An audiovisual performance by Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst, with algorithmic sound design by Cristyn Magnus. Performances invoke both alternative energy and the curious history of dance in cinema – from backlots to backyards.

In the past few months we’ve made a lot of progress on the Discotrope hardware and software, as well as on structuring and rehearsing the Discotrope performance. We’re still putting some finishing touches on it, but we should be ready to perform in the not-too-distant future. We’ve made some new videos so you can check it all out and get some aural glimpses of Discotrope’s new real-time generative sound design by Cristyn Magnus. Check out our video page here. And, while we have your attention: If you know of a place that would be perfect for a Discotrope performance – from urban dance party to intimate white cube – please let us know!

The future is dead. Long live the future.
-Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst