Perhaps best-known for their aesthetic merger of strong mystic symbolics, glyphs, fluorescent, kaleidoscopic, interactive structures, and shapes generated using both digital and analog technology, MSHR, the Portland-based collaborative project between Brenna Murphy and Birch Cooper, have taken over the tenth room of LaTurbo Avedon's online gallery, Panther Modern, with a brand new series of digitalized visuals. On view since this morning, Room Ten explores an out-of-this-world realm at the cross-section between physical and virtual reality. MSHR bring and adapt their uncanny creations to Avedon's screen-formatted art space, questioning the boundaries of creative practices rooted in both IRL and URL environments.
By adapting to the format and requirements of the web-based platform, the duo succeeds in keeping the signature look and feel of their mesmerizing physical installations, which feature wired-in 3D-printed and laser-cut sculptures embedded with DIY analog synthesizers. In these new 3D renders, they transcribe the multisensory experience offered not only in their installations, but also in their theatrical sci-fi performances, providing viewers with static, hi-fi scenes and points-of-view on their distant, future civilization-esque light and sound creations.
The Creators Project spoke with MSHR to gain insight into the project and to better understand how they were able to adapt their work to the online platform.
The Creators Project: Your Panther Modern series retains almost all of the aspects of your physical works. How did you manage to bring your work from IRL to URL?
Brenna Murphy & Birch Cooper: Actually, our work is constantly flowing between digital and physical space, so making this show similar to our physical installation work wasn't much of a stretch. We design most of our sculptures digitally first anyways, and then build them using digital fabrication techniques like laser cutting and CNC routing.
Of course the electronic music side of our work originates in analogue hardware—this was the main inversion in our Panther Modern show. We normally have instrument cables plugged into our digitally-fabricated sculptures, so for this show we digitally modeled useless instrument cables to come out of our digital sculptures.
Did you have any difficulties transcribing your work? What was the biggest challenge in order to keep the main “essence” of your physical work on a virtual platform?
Our work is quite at home on the digital scape, so it wasn't difficult, conceptually speaking. Actually, the construct of the gallery brought things more "down to earth" than we would typically go for digital work. We normally use a lot of unrealistic perspectives and more abstracted landscapes.
Can you talk a bit about the creative process behind this series?
We used the same software to design the sculptures in this show as we would a physical one (Adobe Illustrator, Cinema 4D). Often in our installation work we have live analog electronics that allow a musical composition to unfold either through visitor interaction or by a generative process.
In this case, the audio composition was made as a concrete music-style recording. Sound and sculpture are closely linked in our work so the sound is meant to reflect the characteristics of the different islands in the installation.
What was your workflow like, and how did you divide the work?
In MSHR all the work is considered collaborative. We each generated a lot of sculptural pieces and textures and then integrated them, morphing them until they reached a state beyond either of our individual visions. Together, we composed the space, modified the lighting, and chose the camera angles.
As we work, we draw from the shared MSHR world that we've built, fortifying and complexifying as we add more facets.
What's next for you? Any upcoming projects?
We're very excited about what we have coming up. Next week we will release our new album, Resonant Hyper Scape Modulator, on our label MSHR Media, and then we'll begin a two-month US/Canadian Tour.
We'll be doing the west coast with our friends The Tenses (Ju Suk Reet Meat and Oblivia from Smegma) and then we'll continue on by ourselves. This will be the most extensive tour that we've done in North America, so we're really looking forward to it!!
Click here to visit MSHR's room at Panther Modern.