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The Light Surgeons operate on Super Everything
SATARUPA PAUL  5th Feb 2012

The Light Surgeons at work

ast Thursday, the British Council auditorium in New Delhi was transformed into a multidimensional landscape of sights and sounds that was different from the regular music performances we see. The occasion was the opening of the four-day design conference, Unbox Festival and a British audio-visual collective called The Light Surgeons. They have brought to India, for the first time, a cross-disciplinary performing arts project called Super Everything.

Operating in the grey area between film and club visuals, The Light Surgeons have been constructing interdisciplinary narratives for over a decade now. Besides motion graphics, installations, photography and live performances, the collective has also worked with the likes of The Rolling Stones, U2, Fat Boy Slim and others to develop visuals for their music. But their most distinguishing brand of work is that their diverse talents come together to create Super Everything, a 'live cinema performance'.

Commissioned by British Council, the film explores the relationship between identity, ritual and place. It was shot across Peninsular Malaysia; the interviews, news clips, graphics and even live-generated tweets from the audience are mixed and presented together across different screens. "A live cinema performance is different from a regular movie screening. We constantly improvise on the visuals and weave in music and narration to present a complete narrative as we go," says Christopher Thomas Allen, founder-director of the collective. And all of this is done live, right in front of you!

Their next performance, in Mumbai and Bangalore on February 11 and 12 respectively, will showcase another live cinema project called LDN-Redux. "It is a visual portrayal of 24 hours in the life of London, where we remix the video and throw in a live electronica score," adds Allen. He opines that the beauty of live cinema evolves during the performance and often presents a philosophical commentary of a situation through music and visuals.

About performing in India and the interdisciplinary performing arts scene here, he says, "If you trace the origins of live cinema, you may be surprised to know that it originated in India. Shadow puppet theatre was the first form of live cinema and it is a great source of inspiration for me to be performing where it all started," he explains.

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