The evolution of music has become quite a phenomenon in the recent decade.
No longer is music limited to a physical instrument. Heck, with the boom of the internet’s greatest innovated website YouTube, we’ve seen the iPhone capable of playing Beethoven’s classic Fur Elise and floppy disc drives melodically beeping and clicking in rhythm to the Imperial March.
The sky is the limit.
Why am I saying all of this? Well honestly, I didn’t think much of it until I was doing this write up.
It wasn’t until quite recently that I found out my neighbourhood contained a secret bigger than that of Wysteria Lane. A secret that if put in the wrong hands, may do more harm than good.
Since moving into my current flat early this year, I’ve felt I’ve been living in an average surburban neighbourhood. I wasn’t wrong – a close-knit family lives to my left, an elderly couple to the right, and everyday people can be seen walking their dogs until the absence of the sun – the good ol’ traditional suburbia.
And then there’s Chris Vik.
Chris lives in a granny flat in the backyard of our elderly neighbour’s house. Where we have our gym/shed, Chris lives on the opposite side of the wall – housed in a detached unit of its own. Little did I know, that on the other side of that wall, is a technology so innovated that I may be tracked down just for writing this up.
But I digress…
It was a cool Sunday night, heavily sedated by the smell of wet grass from the rain the night before.
A few days prior, I received an invitation to attend a musical event hosted at the Melbourne Town Hall. It read “Chris Vik vs. Melbourne Town Hall Organ”. Interested and intrigued, I clicked on Attending – curious to learn what the fuss was about.
Came 7:30pm, we rocked up just in time to watch last-minute preparations before the performances. The hall was large, softly lit by chandaliers that emulated a fiery sky. Across the floor was a sequence of neatly arranged seats. It was an atrium capable of catering a thousand.
Upon taking my seat, my eyes widened in awe. Stationed infront of me was a Grand Organ, standing just 4-stories tall, exuberating an endless charm of superior magnificence. This instrument had to be
over a hundred years old. It was erected in 1929.
In minutes, the show began. What proceeded was interesting, to say the least. Each performers composed an organic piece tailored to a lightshow that was projected onto the Grand Organ ahead. The combination of an organ accompanied by stimulating screensaver visuals was a concept unknown to me.
Did I like it? It was trivial. It was like listening to your favourite song on repeat. At first, you’re happily singing along while your body rocks in excitement. On its 30th rep, even the Nyan Cat song was preferable.
Performances were lined up one after another. This went on for a little under an hour, by which Chris’s anticipated performance felt like an exhilarating wait for Michael Jackson to return from the dead to give his one final show.
And it was worth the wait! Chris started with a brief introduction explaining what he does, followed by a short poetic brief of his witty artistic form involving a classically arrangement piece centered around a Beer-themed composition.
He then lifted his hand into the air like a conductor. The room fell silent.
As soon as his hands dropped, it emulated a direct response of melody and rhythm that projected through the surrounding speakers. His hands moved slightly higher, to the right – another instrument was played at a higher pitch. He repeated this process, waving on a different command of musical instructions through bodily movements.
The sight of Chris making music was spectacular beyond belief. There was no orchestra. There were no instruments. What was there was a computer to his right, and a tripod stand housed with an XBox Kinect directly infront of him.
I could not take a video of his performance. It was dark, and I barely pieced together the photographs I took on the night.
Below is a video of Chris Vik performing on his Kinect (seperate from the event above). This is a MUST SEE!
Chris Vik is a studying sound artist from Melbourne, Australia. Currently 3rd year Fine Art (sound) undergrad at RMIT, Chris specialises in Immersive Environments (multiple speaker configurations and human interaction) and Sound Design, having worked professionally creating sound and music for game, animation and live performance art (circus and theatre). Chris also produces electronica under the name Synaecide.
You can check out more of Chris Vik’s work on his blog: http://chrisvik.wordpress.com/
Check out his videos on vimeo and follow him on twitter @kinectchris.