Creating live visuals for a dance performance

Tool: TouchDesigner

Mosaïco is a dance performance with interactive visuals created with choreographer Audrey Gaussiran and percussionist/composer Joannie Labelle. It is centered on themes of personal and collective identity, and how it is shaped by our geographical, cultural and digital environment. The show will premiere on February 7th 2023.

Photo: David Wong

For this project, my role was to create and design visuals that will be displayed on stage and will interact with the dancers’ bodies and movements. Movements are mostly captured using standard and infrared cameras.

My creative approach here was heavily inspired by nature. My goal was to try and mimick behaviors and patterns found in nature: the way liquids interact with each other, shapes found in flowers and insects, colors found in sunsets, etc. I was also making a conscious effort to try and avoid black entirely, and instead rely on a more varied and creative color palette to convey depth and tension in the visuals. This was my second project ever as a visual artist, Fish Eye (2020) being my first foray into the world of digital live visuals.

Photo: David Wong

From March 5th to March 11th 2021, Audrey and I completed an initial creative residency at the Petit Théâtre du Vieux-Noranda in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec. We used the opportunity to flesh out some initial visual ideas and start sketching the initial structure of the show.

A second residency took place between October 17th and October 21st 2022 at Maison de la culture Pointes-aux-Trembles in Montreal, Québec. We used this time to finalize the structure of the show and test out some new visual ideas. This was also the first residency where we could bring together the various aspects of the show (live dancers, visuals, music and lightning) and see how they interact with each other.

Photo taken from Mosaïco‘s second residency in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

A third residency took place between January 10th and January 14th 2023 at Salle Émile-Legault in Montreal. This time, my work was more focused on improving specific visuals and testing out new ideas and a new show progression.

A fourth and last residency took place from December 18th to December 22nd 2023 at the Maison des arts de Laval. This time, the goal was to put the final adjustments to the show: tighten up transitions, clarify cues, debug malfunctioning effects and make sure that the visuals, music, lightning and dancers are all tightly integrated together. The residency concluded with our first public preview of the show, presented in front of more than 150 people.

The official premiere will take place on February 7th 2024, at Salle Émile-Legault in Montréal.