Desert Improvisation Experiments – Day 2

On the 2nd day we scouted some areas we could potentially project down onto a dune from above. This seemed like a good strategy to get a more even projection. We also prepared more for all the sand by doing some plastic wrapping:

Unfortunately, there was very strong wind during the night. We went to our selected spots in the evening but the wind and resulting sandstorms were too much for us and our tech. We’re determined to return and try again on Day 3.

Strong wind:

One of our selected spots for projecting down:

A beautiful full moon though:

The dune sea is alive and moving:


Lat/Lon: 23°03’50.5″N 53°46’36.7″E

Desert Improvisation Experiments – Day 1

Objective – Kiori Kawai and I are in the UAE desert for 5 days to improvise in our respective artistic mediums. The plan is to project on dunes, live code sounds and visuals, and dance in the dunes and projections.

Location – UAE empty quarter (part of the largest dune sea in the world):

Scouting – We rented a 4×4 and go out during the day each day to scout locations to work with at night. The landscape looks like Mars:

We have to be careful not to get stuck:

Set up: We marked some spots on google maps and then returned at night. We brought a deep cycle boat battery and an inverter to run power for the projector and sound equipment.

All sounds are generated in real-time with my bansuri flute going through the live coding sound environment Tidalcycles. I love Tidal, it’s really easy to improvise in and generate some amazing sounds quickly. It’s built with Haskell and uses Supercollider as a backend. I’m using the great tidal-looper library to sample my flute sounds in real-time to manipulate them in Tidal.

Results Day 1: The results were not very great for day 1. We learned that projecting upwards towards a dune slanting away from the projector is not such a good strategy. We experimented with projecting some water video as well as just the code. Because of the angle of the projector and dune the results didn’t come out very well:


Lat/Lon: 23°01’59.9″N 53°46’49.6″E

Hardware: Bansuri flute w/ contact mic; Art Studio V3 preamp; Apogee Duet audio interface; Macbook Pro; Xiaomi – Mi Laser Projector 150; Black & Decker 500w inverter; deep-cycle boat battery

Software: Tidalcycles; Supercollider; Atom; Atom-Hydra; Tidal-looper; Mutable Instruments Ugens