My mind was blown away by Ryoji Ikeda when he performed "datamatrics [ver 2.0]" at the Brighton Dome on Saturday night. The show was an hour long visual and sonic performance visualising datasets with a mixture of high contrast motion graphics and minimal computer generated sounds. The graphics warped from 2D lists of numbers to 3D scenes displaying every star in our universe.
High frequency visualisations filled the whole of Brighton Dome's stage. The animations had a silky smooth feel, even if it became hard at times to follow a particular animation as it shot across the screen. Numbers, barcodes, black and white boxes, star locations and DNA, all drawn from mind boggling large datasets flashed across the screen at epilepsy inducing speeds drawing the audience deep in to a world made up from data of our own.
The audio was extremely loud, fast paced and addictive. The visuals and especially the sound would be nonsensical on their own, but together a scene is created that has unlimited depth. The combination of Ryoji Ikeda's ear piercing sounds and sensory take-over visuals is the closest experience I have had to feeling the scale of the universe.
Ryoji Ikeda pushes the hardware at his performances to the limit, the Brighton Dome performance was no exception. The performance certainly was not for everyone as a few audience members left early, but for those that stayed a mind bending experience ensued that left the crowd buzzing.
An article by Michael Miller describes Ryoji Ikeda's installation “the transfinite” with fantastic detail. A quote by Ryoji Ikeda from the article sums up my experience entirely, “Lights and sound, the music and the visual, they melt together."
Having experienced the work of Ryoji Ikeda I firmly believe there is a place for digital art to teach us concepts that are impossible to describe in anything but high levels physics. I was transported to another world and came back feeling enlightened.