HENNESSY ARTISTRY PRESENTS: VISUAL SYSTEM
For years, the art world has wondered whether it’s Visual System’s naïveté or the childlike and overwhelming enthusiasm that they bring to every one of their hugely ambitious projects that put them on top of the game. Thanks to the collaboration with Hennessy Artistry no one needs to wonder anymore.
The Paris-based collective, composed of several multidisciplinary artists, outdid themselves with their latest creation: an installation that erases all boundaries. Since 2007, Visual System has been reinventing the links between innovative techniques and visual perception, creating immersive environments that explore the relationship between space and time, nature and science, dream and reality. Guided by an aphorism from the American composer John Cage “Let the music be seen and the light be heard”, Visual System sculpts geometrically shaped spaces composed of LEDs and sounds.
In one of the spheres in the Atomium, Brussels, an immersive digital installation combining light effects and electronic music was enthroned, giving a preview on what the collaboration with Hennessy Artistry will be about. Visualised by the collective – uniting artists from the fields of architecture, music, programming, and design – the installation is a sort of hide and seek between light and music. "The project initially started before the lockdown, and during the creation we went back and forth a lot. We like to do things right away but here we had long discussions which we are not used to," they confide.
with clean lines...
guided by the sound...
Visual System’s installations usually plunge the spectators into a world of sensations, which they must freely explore. Composed of some sort of digital totems, with clean lines, shaped, no doubt, by the hand of man, the LEDs harmonise with the shades of the instruments – white, icy, then coloured. The palette traces an abstract story, immersed into a creative bubble, guided by the sound and light. “What attracted us to work with Hennessy Artistry is the program itself; it’s a very creative one and comes with possibilities to express ourselves creatively.”
Imagining the Game On concept
Visual System specializes in the use of LEDs, a fascination that began a long time ago. “Everything started in a club in China 2006 when we saw tech LED lights and enormous LED screens that were incredible,” explain the artists. "As for inspiration, we are often inspired by science fiction. And the concept Game On was no exception," they continue. In this hybrid space that they’ve created, the spectator becomes an actor, and imagines his own scenario. "Game On was the first concept that we created for Hennessy. It is a project that speaks to everyone, without the need for explanation."
Imagined in the manner of a science fiction tale revisited, Game On intend to move away from the conventional and create a language of its own. "When we created Game On, the ambition was to create a community for people out in the nightlife, one that has to do with games and gaming,” they say.
Once at the venue, guests are invited to enter a virtual world, led by Vera, an androgynous AI playing the part of a MC, enticing them to incorporate dance and play. “We chose to have an AI as a MC because it’s the future. It’s very innovative and engaging for the guests to have a MC that is a virtual one,” the artists say.
Throughout the night, Vera encourages people to engage in a quest, forget the outside world and own the night. “Game, interaction, futuristic; that’s how Game On is best described,” Visual System adds. The guests are plunged into a unique sci-fi world, where gaming takes over in the shape of a tap game that interacts and unifies them. “Gaming is something that we find in our everyday life, and it’s present everywhere, especially during the night. With Game On we are just integrating the game on a more global level,” they say.
Game On is easy to play: tap on the screen and wander through parallel, rugged realities, perform jumps and other stunts to collect points, race down different worlds and across parallel universes. Along the way, Vera challenges the players to increase their strength or speed, keeping them pumped up all night long, and making their tapping skills come to good use. “You came for the simplicity of tapping, but what you’ve been given is a game that is all about having a different vision. It’s interactive and fun, and we created it with a lot of passion,” the artists say.
Unique as it may be, the concept is in constant transformation and it is no secret that it’s transcended by the public, as well as by the artists. “Interactivity and nightlife are the future, and this is how Hennessy is translated into the future.” This right there is Visual System forte: huge, dense, ostensibly scenes in which narrative is stubbornly elusive; moments taking place in what seems like a parallel world, with a great portion of futurism. Just as imagined by the collective.
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