In January, Nosaj Thing (née Jason Chung) will release his sophomore album, Home, more than three years after the debut album that made him a phenomenon. This week, Chung and Japanese artist Daito Manabe released the first single from the album by uploading a video of a remarkable projection-mapped dance performance choreographed to the track, “Eclipse/Blue” (featuring Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino).
You probably remember Manabe from his solo work, much of which involved hooking body parts–his own, and others’–up to electric stimulation devices, causing the muscles to involuntarily twitch. A 2008 video of his own face, transformed into a “living drum kit,” has been watched nearly 2 million times. Earlier this month, Manabe directed a video for FaltyDL in which dozens of participants are zapped in time with the music.
But for “Eclipse/Blue,” Manabe forwent the human instruments, working instead with choreographer MIKIKO to create a five-minute-long dance performance. “We were inspired by the structure of an eclipse of the sun,” he tells the Creators Project, which partially funded and debuted the video. “One dancer who dances in front of the screen is the sun, and the other who is behind the screen is the moon.”
Using a super-precise Point Grey camera, which is much faster than systems like Kinect, Manabe was able to track the dancers as they moved. Thanks to increasingly sensitive sensors, motion tracking can now be used in a far more spontaneous way, without pre-planning with the dancers. Manabe says the video was inspired by Klaus Obermaier’s performance at Ars Technica Futurelab earlier this year, which used similar technology.
Home comes out in less than two months, so hopefully Nosaj Thing will end up using portions of the piece for the visuals on his forthcoming tour. Sophomore album slump be damned.