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The concept of live cinema is still a fairly new and developing genre within media art that brings together experimental approaches to narrative and non-narrative film making, with live music and the performing arts.

Rather than screening a traditional, linear edited film, a live cinema performance allows artists the freedom to experiment and improvise within a selection of different material, prepared video clips, audio visual samples or more generative code based plugins that can be run in VJ software such as VDMX.

This freedom allows the artist to present their work as a fully live and interactive performance, adding different audio and visual effects to their material on-the-fly. These different feeds of video can be distributed across multiple screens, layered, looped and edited to create immersive, three dimensional works that are very different to a traditional cinema experience.

Although live cinema works such as SuperEverything* rely on cutting edge technology, this project is also consciously looking back to its roots in cinema and the tradition of shadow puppet theatre, or Wayang Kulit as it is known in Malaysia. This ancient tradition is the original live cinema and is very familiar to millions of people across the world.

Wayang Kulit was brought to South East Asia by Hindu traders from India and utilises very ornate shadow puppets made from animal skins to tell the mythical tales from the Hindu Ramayana epics. These performances can last for many hours and are normally accompanied by a Gamelan orchestra who play alongside the “Dhalang” or puppet master who animates the puppets and provides all the voices and sound effects in each story.

This tradition of shadow puppet theatre is still very vibrant and alive in many cultures around the world today and its roots undoubtedly represent the beginning of  the cinema as we know it today. We hope collaborative, live media projects like SuperEverything* can harness some of the same energy of these ancient traditions and help to develop new forms of storytelling for today.