Feral Five and Francis Bitonti

World-leading 3D designer Francis Bitonti has collaborated with electro duo Feral Five on the unique ‘Rule 9’ film, which uses his design algorithms to ‘grow the images’. To make the music he made sounds from his Rule 9 algorithms, and Feral Five crafted synths, beats and vocals in nine languages to make a hypnotic electronic dance track.

The next step was to create a video which harnessed the incredible programming skills of Studio Bitonti’s Li Chen and involved many hours of processing of footage through a design algorithm that represents simple life forms. As the video progresses, the cells multiply and take over. The original footage was filmed by the video’s director, leading audiovisual artist and VJ Michael Hodgson and then handed over to Bitonti’s team to grow the ‘cells’ in it.

New York-based Bitonti has a background in architecture and is known for his 3D printing work, including prosthetics, furniture, accessories and clothing such as the famous Dita Von Teese gown.

East London and Kent-based Feral Five write songs about the future, including about #3dprintinghumans, get BBC Radio 6 Music play, have performed with a 3D printer at Music Tech Fest, and have been picked by The Human League / Heaven 17 founder Martyn Ware to play his Picasso-inspired artists’ colony night at the National Portrait Gallery in London on 20th January 2017.

Francis Bitonti explained: “We developed an Algorithm that could process the raw video to produce the visual compositions you see in the video. In much the same way we used algorithms to generate the sounds you hear in the audio tracks.”

“The algorithm used to process the video can be understood as a digital representation of simple life forms collectively performing intelligent and complex behaviour. In this case the computer program just gave minimal instructions to the digital cells, while the emergent nature of the algorithm makes it possible to produce highly sophisticated network patterns.” said Programmer Li Chen from Studio Bitonti.

Louder Than War favourites Feral Five added, “Francis helped us create a unique video with a kind of post-human organic form. There are echoes of the human in there surrounded by what resembles a collective of cyber nematodes; as Nathan Cobb, the father of nematology, said in 1914, “..if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable”.

Video Director Michael Hodgson explained, “To create this video we processed some video clips through the simulation system to see what effect it would have on video, once this was done and we had some idea how the software would process the video we spent a night shooting Feral Five around their local East London hood to create a series of video edits. These were then processed to give us the final files for use in the video edit. The music video only uses video that has been processed by the system.”

The Feral Five Soundcloud site is here: soundcloud.com/feralfive. They can be followed on Twitter as @feralfive and liked on Facebook.

The Francis Bitonto website is here: studiobitonti.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @francisbitonti and Like on Facebook.

All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

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