Commissioned by CTM Festival and transmediale for their joint 2016 editions, "Still Be Here" is a unique collaborative performance that draws us into the multiplying realities of a 21st century pop star, and traces the dynamics at play between fans, corporations and social desires.
Since her 2007 launch in Japan, Hatsune Miku (whose name means "first sound of the future") has become the ultimate pop star, developed from a vocal synthesizer product into a globally adored and collaboratively constructed cyber celebrity with a growing user community, countless stadium performances as a virtual 3D projection and more than 100 000 songs released worldwide.
"Still Be Here" explores Hatsune Miku as the crystallisation of collective desires, embodied in the form of a teal-haired virtual idol, forever 16. In watching the deconstruction of this perfect star, the audience comes to the uncanny realisation that Miku is simply an empty vessel onto which we project our own various fantasies. In this void, the topology of desire within a networked community becomes tangible and Miku becomes an allegory of the commodified female body as governed by corporate regulation and normative social etiquette. The performance critically deconstructs this body and speculates on opportunities to transgress it through means of appropriation.
Following an idea initiated and conceptualised by artist Mari Matsutoya, "Still Be Here" is collectively created with music producer Laurel Halo, award-winning choreographer and visual artist Darren Johnston, virtual artist LaTurbo Avedon and produced by digital artist Martin Sulzer. This project presents a unique arrival of aesthetics between the participating artists, in their search for the identity of Hatsune Miku. The performance / installation employs a collage methodology with user-generated lyrics, referencing many other contributors and countless online authors and creative commons users, whose works will be further interpreted and given new meaning.
"Still Be Here" was in part developed at a residency at Metal this November 2015, and will travel to Donaufestival and the Barbican later in the year, after its premiere as a joint highlight of the CTM / transmediale 2016 festivals.
Commissioned and produced by CTM Festival and transmediale, in collaboration with Donaufestival, the Barbican and Metal.
This work features adaptations of Hatsune Miku, a character originally created and copyrighted by Crypton Future Media Inc. 2007. Hatsune Miku is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC.
Heavy, mutilated strains of electronic music: Laurel Halo's productions are shapeshifting messes, moody and ecstatic, with flashes of rhythmic brilliance mediated by modal simplicity.
Darren Johnston is a multi award winning choreographer, sound and visual artist working across gallery spaces, large theatres, outdoor locations and site specific/ found space. Technology and experimentation remain at the forefront of his development creating a seamless fusion of different artistic forms. Human interaction, perception and immersive experience are key facets of his work, blurring the line between visual art and performance/ dance aesthetics.
LaTurbo Avedon is an artist and resident of the Internet. Without a real world referent, LaTurbo is a digital manifestation of a person that has never existed outside of a computer.
Martin Sulzer is an artist working and living in Berlin. In his work he frequently uses 3D technology to help immaterialise and translate performers’ movements into motion data.
Born in Tokyo, growing up in London and currently residing in Berlin, Mari Matsutoya’s work often reflects on the mediation between these cultures and languages and focuses on the miscommunication that occurs in their transfer from one to the other.