“Audience participation is at the center of our work in many levels,” says Daniel Iregui, an interactive designer with a decade’s worth of experience, accrued before forming his own firm Iregular along with François Loubert-Hudon and David Surprenant in 2010. “We do interactive experiences of all scales, from public spaces to mobile devices, and create audio-visual systems and environments with infinite combinations,” Iregui continues. The 31-year old Bogotá-born, Montreal-based artist lives and breathes installations–on a daily basis conceptualizing and designing lazer-loving immersive environments for art galleries, music festival stages, and hell, even for websites. “Our work is in constant evolution,” he says, “and doesn’t repeat itself.”
Most recently, the studio devised Centros, a huge installation that illuminated the Mutek Mexico stage on November 17 as a 15’x15’ wood grid of cascading RGB lights, hooked up a video-source that was manipulated in live time. From a viewers’ perspective, it was an ocular explosion of pretty bursts of neon that were in tune with the musical parade happening onstage on the second night, which included Actress and Mount Kimbie. Those who saw it latched onto its power. “We are in talks to take this project to other festivals early next year,” says Iregui, “someone even offered us to create a solo exhibition in Berlin with our interactive work.”
This isn’t the first time that Iregular has screened the stage—they often showcase the same work around to different festivals, although for Control No Control, an interactive LED sculpture, “we have presented it many times allowing us to experiment and elaborate more on the graphics and audio,” explains Iregui. “Recently at Glow, in the Netherlands, we used an analog synthesizer for the audio instead of digital sounds. With this final touch the piece feels done—for now at least!”
But the work is never done, as Iregui points out, “lately we have been asked to design scenographies.” Big word, but really the concept is rather visceral—literally. In turn, scenographies are merely structural objects that employ gear and lights to change an environment—a small deviation from Iregular’s desire to create installations that actively engage with the audience. “Our work is complete when someone is participating—without this our work is a projection or a sculpture,” Iregui contends, “so even though scenographies are not interacting with the audience, it is organic for us to create them. It involves structures, the influence of the piece on the space, creatively using gear and giving away the control.”
And losing or containing control, after all, is key in the experience of so much of art and music. Hint: it’s not just the DJ or, um, the cerebral supplements. “Everyone has a unique path of exploration, a different memory and a different story to tell,” admits Iregui. Such insight is easily identified in the studio’s other projects, such as Wake Up, a vertical light sculpture that illuminated when a body’s presence is felt show at Montreal’s MLK50 memorial celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. in February 2013; or Waterfalls, which synced kinetic sculpture boxes of LED light and bells with fountain waterfalls outside Montreal’s Place Des Arts in October 2012 that were activated when passersby walked on the boxes’ pressure points. “Interactive installations disrupt people’s normal flow of through a public space, gallery or wherever,” muses Iregui, “they invite the audience to be active and not observers—and to give.”
In an age where the threats of passivity haunt both the creator and the participant, Iregui thinks, “these days anyone can walk into the museums in the world and see works hanging on the walls, or watch a video of any existing performance. By including the audience in our work, we are opening a dialogue and allowing the audience to create and surprise us as well.” While community and “sharing is caring” mentality adopted by so many new media and technology-focused creators these days, it cares nary a surprise when Iregui shares the studios goal: “We dream to create an experience with an artist, Radiohead or Plastikman, where the hole show is generative and the 20,000 audience can have an input too.” But for now, Ireguar is “doing a lot of research with the kinect and depth cameras to create our next piece,” reveals Iregui. “We are also collaborating with Moment Factory in a couple of interactive installations.” Considering the latter studio last created with Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, Iregui and the gang may just becoming to a mainstage near you.