HAAi baby, we’re in the ascendant A video that combines choreography and artificial intelligence

Dancers transform into birds and trees on a soaring journey through time and space.

In the video for HAAi’s ‘Baby, We Ascending’ – the lead track from the DJ’s debut album and producer, made in collaboration with Jon Hopkins – the sweeping melodies, soaring vocals and hardcore-inspired rhythm are brought to life through a blend of realistic dance and AI technology. Designed by Akira Uchida and animated by Tom Force, the visual is a diverse interpretation of the track and a stunning technical feat in itself, as three dancers morph seamlessly with flowers, birds, and trees.

“I’ve worked with Tom across my entire album, including the video for ‘Purple Jelly Disc,’ pulling AI on my digital album cover, my Mixmag cover, and now for this,” says HAAi. “He’s also designing some custom visuals for my big shows this year which I’m really excited about.”

“I almost met Akira as he was designing a dance piece for an older track of mine called ‘Feels’, which blew me away. His interpretation of my music and translating it into movement was really emotional to watch. It just didn’t make sense for me to work with both Tom and Akira on the video.”

Force is best known as a member of The Horrors and as a solo musician in his own right, but lately he’s been inspired to try to use artificial intelligence to create visuals and animation. “I’ve seen examples of technology before with things like the popular ‘avocado chair’ but after hearing about VQGAN+CLIP on the Interdependence podcast, I woke up later in the morning and thought ‘OK, I’ll make this go today’. That morning, my entire creative practice opened wide. I just don’t play music anymore. It also changed the way my eyes looked at the world.” When Force first heard the track, he wanted to convey the feeling he says he gets with a lot of HAAi music, “a kind of rushing feeling, the feeling of rushing through the atmosphere with power.”

“So there’s really that sense of flight, and when I married with thoughts of ascension, it seemed natural to explore bird shapes. Across my work thus far, there’s been a lot of botanical exploration, so I’ve also incorporated that into my AI stimulation knowing I’m going to get some exciting results. Interesting as he tries to figure out if any part of the dancer is supposed to be on a bird, or a flower, or something in between. But also as Akira explained to me, ascension is also about change, and the flower’s life journey illustrates change very poetically.”

Uchida had a similar response to the path he wanted to convey through choreography. “The first thing that hit me when listening to the song was how it felt celestial and ethereal. The climax of the song gave me a very specific sense of falling into the sky and beyond (not to be confused with flying) which inspired a few visuals at the end of the video. There is also a tremendous amount in the sound that I felt it was important to capture it as well as the strong feminine energy I wanted to channel into the movement.”

The video production was a collaborative process, with Uchida shooting dancers in front of a green screen in a studio in New York, and Force processing the footage by traditional means before running each scene through a machine learning synthesis process called directed propagation.

“This is still an emerging technique, and I think it’s probably the first time it’s been used on this scale,” says Force. “I’ve watched 5-10 second clips before, but it’s a very time consuming process and I’m not sure if anyone really has the freedom to take the time to compose anything longer. Personally, I can’t wait to get started and see this storytelling process The most traditional narrative. It has so many possibilities.”

“Cooperating with Tom was a really enriching experience,” says Uchida. “Even though I had worked with green screen before, working with AI in this way opened up a whole new world of possibilities and challenges as well. As we were doing a new process our own way, I work with AI and I work with Tom with Dance, and it was A lot of our collaboration is about solving problems and coming up with creative solutions.”

Although Uchida and Furse were in close contact throughout the process and communicated about revisions before getting to the final edit, the unexpected nature of the AI ​​show presented some challenges in developing the choreography. “We ran some testing throughout the process, so I had a reference for what might work better than the other options, but in the end I was working on the choreography without having an exact idea of ​​how that might happen,” Uchida says. “I knew we wouldn’t be able to see some of the finer details in their expression, so I focused on creating big powerful movements that convey strong intensity, focusing on form, so the feeling would still translate and remain present regardless of the outcome.”

In its early iterations, the results of machine learning algorithms trained to create images created some strange and variable results, but recent developments have allowed Furse to create images with a certain degree of predictability. “The results can be unpredictable, although not sufficient to be completely non-reproducible,” he says. “The details may be different each time but your overall output will still be in the same world if you formulate the claims and process well enough.

“I would like to train my models but there is some very serious time and processing power to do that and get great results, so I used various open source models for this video. The publicly available nature of this technology is an interesting component, it is just waiting for people to use it. Who’s going to come out as Bach in AI stimulation and image synthesis? Someone is bound to come in and really blow some minds, and I’m excited for them.”

Baby, we’re in upward mode now available on Mute Records – order and stream over here. Follow HAAi on Instagram And the SoundCloud.

Follow Akira Uchida at Instagram Find out more about his practice at website.

Follow Tom Force Instagram Explore more of his visual work Establishment And the Copy.

Baby, we’re going up the credits:

Video directed by Akira Uchida & Tom Force
Choreographed by Akira Uchida
Animation Tom Force
Production Executive Fund Artist Management / Ben Toti
Product Assistant – Julia Norman
DOP – Ethan Stop

spit:
Taylor Graham
Lucy Valelli
good Chantelle

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