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About

ABACUS is a performance piece that involves a large, six-screen display used primarily for video and data art. We created the system so that it would allow a single presenter on stage to control all of the media in realtime using mostly gestures and one button. We also researched, designed, and created the visualization the content for the system, all of which is executed in runtime code (rather than displayed as video playback) using the Processing programming language.

ABACUS is the brainchild of designer, researcher and lecturer Paul Abacus and multi-platform writer and director Lars Jan. Paul and Lars invited a small creative team, known as Early Morning Opera (which includes Cousins and Sears) to join them for part of the summer as visiting artists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Experimental Media Performing Arts Center, where the piece was developed. They describe the piece as follows:

"ABACUS is a baroque presentation delivered by Paul Abacus, supported by a sculptural media surface (inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s fabled Geoscope) and a chorus of two Steadicam operators.  An associative pitch-cum-sermon, ABACUS argues the obsolescence of national borders and proposes their dissolution while simultaneously acting as a study in two dominant forms of persuasive discourse today:  the TED-style presentation and megachurch media design."

Other artists closely involved in creating this piece are composer and sound designer Nathan Ruyle, video designer Pablo Molina, and lighting designer Chris Kuhl.

Trailer

Images of ABACUS at EMPAC







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