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Science Experiments Create An Artwork In Two Countries At One Time

Using custom devices and lab equipment, Manuel Chantre and Maotik created a transatlantic digital performance.

A virtual bridge has been created between the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) in Montreal, Quebec and Le Diapason in Rennes, France, through the equilibrium-seeking properties of science. Miscible is a groundbreaking audiovisual experience that smashes the walls between performance and installation through the simultanous, bi-coastal handling of laboratory materials. Created by Montréal-based new media artists Manuel Chantre and Maotik, along with a team of researchers, chemists and electronics technicians, the exhibition creates what the artists call a "telepresence"—a homogenous connection between two separate locations. 

Last night, The Creators Project was invited to participate in the one-shot presentation of Miscible. Aided by the use of Arduino-connected scientific glassware, the experiments that took place generated sounds and visuals in both Canada and France. “There was an important challenge on the conceptual level, we had to approach telepresence in an innovative way, to give it a unique sensorial dimension by offering an experience going beyond what's possible with current telecommunication tools,” Maotik told the Creators Project. “It's also the first time that I'm collaborating with people not directly involved in new media, which is pretty unsettling at the beginning, but we quickly realized that our experimentation process is very similar,” he explained. 

Miscible from Society for Arts and Technology on Vimeo.

Miscible was created with the help of Scenic, a custom-made broadband device developed by the SAT team. Scenic acted as a liason between the two continents, as data collected from the science experiments was processed in Max/MSP, and synchronized with TouchDesigner and Ableton Live. “I took my inspiration from the sound that can be produced by a liquid's different forms, like raindrops, the stream of a river, emulsion or ocean waves. The sounds that you can hear are musical sounds or come from the chemical reactions happening live,” explained Chantre. Three of the sonic voices were controlled in Rennes, and the other three in Montréal.

On either side of the Atlantic, audiences interacted with Miscible until a sort of equilibrium was achieved. Each side was regulated by the interactions of the other, creating a shared energy between the two disparate places. It's an exhibition that brings the beauties of science to light through miscibility: two materials coming together to create a balanced new form. 

Below, check out Miscible in action:

Miscible took place last night at the Society for Arts and Technology in Montreal, Quebec and Le Diapason in Rennes, France. Click here to learn more. 

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