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Tube Surfing with Muti Randolph

Tube Surfing with Muti Randolph

This past Saturday morning in São Paulo was unsuitable for the popular Brazilian sport of surfing – the forecast was cloudy with a likelihood of rain. However, nothing could prevent event-goers from literally riding a tube – or at least experiencing the sensation of being inside a wave. All thanks to the installation that creator Muti Randolph developed exclusively for our São Paulo event. Randolph’s Tube is a cylindrical metal structure lined with LEDs which, synchronized with sound, create incredible combinations of images and music that the artist intends to suggest the thrill of riding a wave. We chatted with him a bit about his creation.

The Creators Project: In the installation, the colors change along with the music. How does that work?
Muti Randolph:
In fact, it’s the sound that follows the images in most scenes. The audio is generated in real time according to the position and color of the pixels using software created especially for the installation in a processing language I wrote in collaboration with Dimitre Lima. Some scenes are animations made specifically for the installation using the program Adobe After Effects.

Now that we’ve heard about the digital, can you tell us a little about the creation of the physical parts of the installation? The Tube itself, for example —what’s it made of, and how did you put it together?
Beyond the software there’s hardware too, which in this case, is a structure made of LED tubes, metal, and mirrors. The design of this construction was just as important as the design of the contents. One can’t happen without the other.

How many combinations of color and music are possible?
The possible combinations are infinite. There were six scenes created for this version, some generated by software which, despite obeying certain parameters, never repeats.

You were influenced by your passion for surfing…
Surfing, yes. Riding a tube is one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had. This installation simulates a tube wave with a diameter of five meters. Some of the animated scenes simulate the movement of a rolling wave. Obviously, it isn’t quite the same – and it’s not supposed to be — but there’s a relation of space and movement that is reminiscent of riding a wave. In other scenes I was looking to explore the sci-fi side of the work a little, so that is the second thematic layer, taking a journey into a tunnel of light.

Do you usually think about the reaction the public will have when you present a creation?
Generally I think of myself when I create a space. I create in order to experience a powerful and new sensation. If it’s new and powerful for me, then that’s the best bet I can make that it’s going to end up being like that for other people too. I really like watching children interacting with the work. They let themselves go much deeper into the experience.

P.S. If you’re wondering who that is voguing in the Tube in the slideshow above, wonder no more. It’s Carôlina Gold and Pitty Taliani, the lovely ladies behind Amapo.

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