Deeply fascinated by the intersections between art and technology, Philippe Dubost has always tried to balance technical research with creative endeavour. With a Maths and Physics engineering background, he started to create and organize an array of multimedia projects, which led him to an internship as an Interactive Designer at MESO, Germany.
Now researcher and developer in interactive design at Moment Factory, his work has been featured in projects such as the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Nine Inch Nails world tour and LIGHT-Cirque du Soleil. Everyday, he tries to push and develop project ideas and prototypes that stir the imaginations of his colleagues to bring the concepts to the real world.
Philippe will be presenting We Do It In Public at FITC Toronto April 27-29, 2014. Thanks for taking the time for us!
1) Tell us about your early beginnings, how did you get your start?
I had been spending a lot of time in highschool making animated movies and stop-motion with my friends. Quickly we discovered how to automate the process of making an image per image movie with some video tricks and smart programming.
Later I started using programming toolkits (especially vvvv.org ) to make these movies happen live and somehow I created my first VJ / interactive installations like this.
2) Can you share with us your latest project?
Lately I have been involved in very diverse Moment Factory projects. Recently I worked with the band Nine Inch Nails who invited us to create mind-troubling visual effects for their outdoor and indoor world tours. It was a great challenge to design and implement something that fits NIN's artistic direction. Among other inputs, we used live cameras, silhouette tracking and light reactive effects.
I also try to keep my personal explorations as active as possible working with friends in Montreal. We worked on some installations recently with technologies as varied as black tape and lasers.
3) What do you think is the biggest challenge our industry faces right now?
In the last four years, digital arts have become more visible than ever on the web, and it's easy to jump-click through 10 amazing projects in seconds without really connecting with their essence. Because our audience is more and more educated about technical trickery, I guess our biggest challenge is to make them forget about the technology behind the magic. I have the feeling this explains the recent return to more analog techniques. Artists seem to be rediscovering the physical/tangible aspect of their installations that are just as capable of challenging their audience's perceptions and feelings.
4) Within your Industry, is there someone that inspires you?
I've been amazed lately by a lot of simple but memorable lighting design for shows, from humble DJ sets to arena rock shows.
I really admire what AntiVJ has been up to in the last months, especially their projection work O (Omicron). I also love the french duo Adrien M / Claire B who are so ahead of their time in terms of performance and creating emotional visuals.
5) Do you have any future projects lined up, and can you share them with us?
Our latest explorations with synchronized projections and lasers were very promising. So I’m looking forward to spending some time building an installation based on perceptual illusions with physical light beams and dynamic digital projection.
I also have been spending time designing simpler, more poetic and less technically spectacular setups with text. I would love to create an installation for a kids museum, for instance.
6) For those new to the industry, how do you recommend they break in?
Don't spend too much time learning technology or programming in an academic way. Focus on your projects and ideas, and implement them yourself. Actually commiting to the concepts’ development will widen so much its potential.
7) Favourite cartoon character or superhero, and why?
The main character Colin in Boris Vian’s book L’Écume des Jours. He’s like anyone, he cares for his friends and dances to jazz music. He does all that in such a poetic and altruistic way.
I jump through many different styles according to my mood from the quiet XX to the energetic Techno of Bromance Records (France). Highlight of last week: Sampha - Without and Kiites - Indian Skull (Lo Fi Beats Remix) and also the very strong track from the hidden Caribou: Daphni - Ye Ye.
9) What else do you do during a typical week?
I try to get away from the computer when I don’t have a specific project to achieve. I feel it’s mandatory for a healthy life-balance. I'd rather play outdoor rugby than videogames and spend time with friends instead of web-chatting, plus I’m not good with my phone.
Cheers, Philippe. Can't wait for your presentation at FITC Toronto 2014!