Interview #001 – Florence To.
A couple of weeks ago we went to Sepalcure’s debut live Glasgow show at the inimitable Sub Club. The performance was that little bit more special due to the involvement of visual artist Florence To who, in collaboration with Produ[k]t, had created a mesmerising installation at the front of the stage.
We caught up with Florence before the show to ask her about her work and the Sepalcure piece in particular….
Hi Florence. Can you give us a bit of a background as to what it is you do?
I create live projections and visual installations for events. I began working regularly with events over a year ago…more so on art and underground music events. I only started working in clubs a year ago. I began using transparent screens to create 3d layouts within spaces, so generally whenever I had a gig I would pre-cut the screens and lay them out to compliment the space. I’m now working on creating hand made shapes, tailored to the event, that work with the dimensions of the space.
Does your Fashion and Textiles background filter into this hand made approach?
Yes it does, especially working on the installation for the Sepalcure gig as it relied on the skills I learned in tailoring. When creating patterns for clothes, you would adjust and create darts to fit the body, where as in the shapes created for the installation I had to measure the darts to add a deeper dimension to fit with the size of space.
The problems you encounter with anything design related are very similar when finding methods trying to solve these problems. As with using the mesh screens, I would have to make sure to cut them on the grain so when I suspend them they would hang straight otherwise they would look distorted. In relevance to textiles, I would search for materials that reflect well with light and surface. Through sourcing materials for designers and past collections, I can usually tell whether a fabric or material is worth using in terms of quality and production cost, otherwise I would test small samples.
You seem to have been doing a lot of visuals for club nights recently. How does the music inform what you might produce for a night?
Working regularly for the Sub Club has allowed me to build a library of visuals pre-synced to different rhythms. They all move according to different levels of frequencies. Depending on the design of the visuals, each frame moves to a certain type of rhythm, for example lines would work with dark and deeper sounds and ambient sounds would work with vectors of transparent gradients. All the visuals are worked live, however depending on the size, space and general mood of the music, I change the output-delay and gain levels to ensure the visuals don’t move too fast or too slow. My work is quite abstract, it’s how I build up the frames to the music that I feel works with the music.
Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the Sepalcure piece?
I had been working on the idea of creating portable shapes for the past few months but had not yet been able to show them, so when Marco (Produ[k]t) asked me if I would do the visuals for Sepalcure I thought here’s the opportunity to make an installation that could work well with their sound. Having done live visuals with musicians who play different genres of music, I find my visuals work best with artists who have a darker and experimental sound, especially with high pitch melodies and low frequencies.
I’ve worked in a lot of small spaces with low ceilings, so to plan the overall design in advance would be pointless. There is always the element of restriction such as rigging points, projection shadows, allowing full room capacity for the audience etc. It was how the shapes where laid out on the day that would be the final design element, as the installation was made in parts so the separate parts could be easily repositioned.
All Photography // Blank Inside
Florence’s full website can be found here: florence-to.com