Guest Artist Feature #2: Joshue Ott
New York-based visualist Joshue Ott creates cinematic visual improvisations, performed live and projected in large scale. Working from hand-drawn forms manipulated in real-time with superDraw, a software instrument of his own design, Ott composes evolving images that reside somewhere between minimalism, psychedelia, and Cagean chance, delivered with an inescapably human touch. Supple yet digital, ephemeral but instantly memorable, Ott renders sound into vision, yielding an immersive multi-sensory experience that is at once immediate and synergistic, a unique visual narrative born in the moment.
Performing with musicians from all genres between classical and avant-electronica, Ott’s visuals have been featured at Unsound festival NY,Biennial of the Americas, Mutek, Communikey, Plateaux festival (Poland), GAFFTA, Yuri’s Night Bay Area, Le Cube (Paris), the Playgrounds Audiovisual Art Festival (Netherlands), and the 2006 Ars Electronica Animation Festival. He has performed with the American Composer’s Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; with Son Lux at MASS MoCA; with Gina Gibney Dance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center; and frequently at venues throughout New York City, including Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, the Knitting Factory, and the Stone. Recently Ott released an iPhone/iPad app with Morgan Packard called Thicket, which allows users to experience a taste of his live interactive visuals on a portable device.
superDraw is a platform for visual expression using drawing. At the most basic level it is a simple line drawing program. The aim is to give the artist super powers by enabling them to do things impossible with pen and paper while retaining the basic idea of a drawing interface. superDraw explores the idea of storing animation within a single line. The artist has complete control of all aspects of the line and it’s visual representation.
In its current iteration, the program is being used as a visual instrument, providing visuals for live music.
The artist is encouraged to respond to what they hear, rather than rely on automatic processes. This allows a greater freedom of expression and deeper collaboration between artist and musician. SuperDraw becomes an instrument itself, adding to the overall performance.
Possible future directions for the program include interactive video installations, dance performances, physical computing, and games.
superDraw was originally created in flash – but as the program gained complexity flash’s speed limitations quickly became apparent. after some experimentation I ported the program to processing. Processing is a fantastic alternative, for many reasons – the most important being support for graphics hardware acceleration via openGL. As the program has grown in complexity, it has outgrown the simple nature of the processing “sketch” format. The current version of superDraw has been completely re-written in Java, but still uses elements of the Processing core.