Robotic architecture, light, and dance combine in an immersive show at SonarPLANTA 2017

At SonarPLANTA 2017, Fundació Sorigué and Sónar will debut their immersive, interactive “phosphere” show, created by Daito Manabe, a leading figure in digital art, and his technology-based creative “new media” art studio, Rhizomatiks.

The “phosphere” (“sphere of light”) installation is a monumental work of robotic hybrid architecture, in which synchronized mirrors, smoke machines, light beams, and even 24 video projectors come together to create an create an unprecedented experience: an immersive environment augmented with three-dimensional elements that change according to the vantage point of the spectator, who can modify the sound and the image by manipulating ball that contain light sensors.

Using the most advanced digital technology, “phosphere” reproduces, in a physical space, the crystallization processes of certain minerals, thus making a connection with the geological world that frames the PLANTA project undertaken by Fundació Sorigué in Balaguer (Lleida). The movement of the work also takes its inspiration from data gathered from the magnetic fields surrounding the Earth.

The Japanese new media art studio, Rhizomatiks, directed by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi, was selected this year to produce the work to be unveiled at SonarPLANTA. Rhizomatiks Research, based in Tokyo, is a laboratory dedicated to exploring new artistic possibilities based on technology. The studio works within the scope of new media, data art, and other research and development projects that have not yet made their appearance on a world scale.

The founder of Rhizomatiks, Daito Manabe, is considered one of most renowned digital artists in the world. As a creative programmer and interaction designer, his work always pushes the limits of these disciplines into yet unexplored technological and creative territory. Manabe was chosen as one of the 11 key personalities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Mac, a list that included figures of the stature of graphic designer John Maeda and soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer.

Daito Manabe has been awarded prizes such as the Prix Ars Electronica, several Lions at the Cannes Festival, and is the three-time winner of the Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival. Manabe (who will also participate in a concert and panel discussion at Sónar 2017), is also a composer and DJ and works on a regular basis with dance companies and artists such as Björk, Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Squarepusher, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, among others. His is especially well known for his regular collaboration with the ELEVENPLAY dance company and the Japanese pop group PERFUME.

SonarPLANTA is a joint initiative of Sónar and Fundació Sorigué that began in 2014, and whose purpose is to promote and celebrate research and experimentation in the creative languages that revolve around technology and new media art. SonarPLANTA invites well-known artists every year to present a large-scale new media art project, to be unveiled during the three days of Sónar in Barcelona. SonarPLANT grew out of, and draws its inspiration from, the PLANTA project promoted by the Sorigué business group and the Fundació Sorigué “Earthworks”, the work presented by the British studio Semiconductor at last year’s SonarPLANTA, was recently included in the contemporary art collection of Fundació Sorigué to form a part of the PLANTA project.