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04.20.2010 Yuri's Night Bay Area

    It's a herd of flying stegosauruses!
            — Jordan the Janitor [Lux Capacitor]

Our triumphant return to NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett field! Constructed in collaboration with Radiant Atmospheres, and featuring the unmistakable woodwork sets of Symbiotic Creations, tonight's rig is a poignant tribute to the raw optical power of Clay Paky disco lights and gloriously arching circle truss segments.

Here's the line-up in our hangar: The Glitch Mob, Beats Antique, Hamsa Lila, Random Rab, Savage Henry, Vibesquad, Flying Skulls, Dyloot, Majitope, and Barb.

Elsewhere on the tarmac you can catch sets by gorilla-pig-man Les Claypool, the venerable DJ Q-Bert, Common, The Black Keys, and N.E.R.D.

Thanks to shooters Eddie Codel and Matthew F. Reyes, who generously added their photos to our YNBA gallery.

09.17.2009 4th Quasi-Annual Symbiosis Gathering

In collaboration with RA, we're handling two stages for this luxurious outdoor music festival at Camp Mather in Yosemite Valley. Both areas are gorgeous.

Our first stage stands in a forest clearing. The set was designed and built by Brent "Shrine" Spears, who recently constructed the centerpiece at Burning Man. It's a life-sized, hand-painted pagoda made from reclaimed scrap metal, supported by a truss skeleton, and festooned with mobiles and wind chimes. The notorious Lux Capacitor has filled this pagoda to the brim with high-sat conventionals, blinders and mini-movers — then the whole scene is draped in classic Optikinetics Solar System effects driven by K4 projectors. Looks like we can expect a lot of oozing jam bands, acid jazz, trip-hop, and downtempo acts at this location, including but not limited to Bluetech and The Flying Skulls.

Our second stage must be seen to be believed. On a peninsula between the lake and two lily ponds, The Do Lab has built a monstrous set from hundreds of mutilated forklift palettes. On top of that, they've raised a vast garden of immense shade sculptures from even more wooden palettes. The stage itself looks a lot like a decapitated whale cast in shredded wheat.

We stuffed this bizarre creation with many layered effects: strobes, centerpieces, old disco lights, multiple lowrez LED arrays, foggers, and Martin moving heads. Then we surrounded the whole area with beefy pattern projectors — Mac 2Ks, Spot 575s, a herd of Cyberlights — not to mention Studio Colors, LED multi-beam projectors, maybe a dozen S4 pattern wash units, and the customary rack of lekos to bathe the the surrounding forest in color.

The net effect? Blazing camouflage. Totally cryptic. In the cross-fire of strobes versus this palette monster's 3D breakup, drape the scene in squirming animations, and it's hard even to keep your eyes pinned on a single object.

The Lakeside line-up is looking good. Some highlights: Bassnectar, Beats Antique, Ott, Treavor Moontribe, Kox Box, Ido Ophir, Craig Kuna, Babylon System, and Simon Posford (with special guest Outersect on vintage Korg). The festival runs for many days, so check official sources for the complete schedule.

Join us by the lake for a lights-and-fog secret/silent after-party from 2AM on closing night. (This will be your last chance to witness The Do Lab's palette creature before it permanently retires.)

09.17.2009 Sunset Campout

Join Coil and Radiant Atmospheres at a sunny riverside resort in the mountains of northern California for three lazy days of swimming and sun — and two nights of music and light art.

Our piece is a towering scrim cone tensioned between two wheels of truss. Within each wheel are multiple rings of lowrez LED pixels, wide angle effects, strobes, and mechanically animated, teleoperated light fixtures.

These scrims and structure are tricked out with real 35mm analog film projections from seven independent angles, courtesy of our old friend Madeleine the Beer Hunter.

To enhance the perspectival dynamics of the composition, we chose Chameleon for our scrim. Chameleon is a spun, fibrous material designed to diffuse images while retaining the directionality of each passing beam. The upshot: our seven overlapping film projections look very different from different angles, somewhat resembling a hologram.

Out in the surrounding field are stationed several 575W moving heads, and Skippy from UV99 just installed two full color lasers to garnish the sky.

As always, we planned this piece to appeal equally from the inside, from backstage, and from frontal perspectives.

Especially for Sunset Campout, Coil has even cooked up a new, custom animation plugin for drawing clockwork-style motion, pixel animations, and blinding stroboscopic effects onto the structure.

01.14.2009 The Resources section is now open.

A catalog of examples, white papers, art and software tools of special interest to designers and engineers who work in live entertainment.

01.07.2009 Riots in downtown Oakland!

This evening we returned from The Crucible's fire ballet only to discover that a riot had swept through our neighborhood! Protesters blew up a reporter's car outside Coil's office, but the building survived unscathed. Other local merchants were not so lucky.

01.01.2009 New Year's Eve at SOMARTS Gallery

Radiant Atmospheres has invited Coil to the main gallery to double the size of our design from December's show with Venetian Snares.

Maximal Dan has promised us a dual dose of Clay Paky Astroscans. These are rare and dangerous helicopter style lights with 1200W sources and unique dual-axis pyramid mirrors. Of course, the Strobeflowers must also return to lock horns with our rack of AF1000s at midnight for a four story tall confetti fusillade! And if it's NYE, there's got to be a ball drop, and so an Alpha Spot is actually going inside RA's Brain Strainer centerpiece for a raining effect like a shower of sparks.

UPDATE: Dave and Goolie just pulled out our Optikinetics K4 projectors and loaded up both of the Solar Systems. SOMARTS is suddenly becoming a museum of rare lighting effects.

UPDATE: Oakland LD Jordan the Janitor has returned from the Beijing Olympics with a road case filled with the latest Asian LED disco lights. Join him in the SOMARTS black box to see how he runs a complete light show with just 100 pounds of instruments that can run on a single circuit! The quality of these "cheap" lights has improved dramatically in recent years, and the price just keeps going down. This will make decent party lighting accessible to a whole new slice of the market, and it gives independent LDs a way to light small gigs without a lot of AC power and backbreaking labor.

12.13.2008 Venetian Snares at Historic Sweet's Ballroom in Oakland

Tonight, Coil and Radiant Atmospheres light up a crazy breakcore party full of anarchist clowns!

Also featuring music from Otto Von Schirach, Cyrus Rex, and NAHA. VJ Dizypixl join us for the main stage video show.

Maximal Dan just picked up a very rare case of Optikinetics Strobeflowers, and they're sure to massacre this event. The lamps for this fixture are nearly extinct, so don't miss this chance to witness the full seizurescopic power of the disco era.

11.01.2008 Our Gallery is now online.

Here you can find photographs of selected works.

10.31.2008 Annual Halloween Party at Coil's West Oakland studio

Tonight's show includes the debut of our new VJ clips, featuring the photocollages of Madeleine the Beer Hunter as well as several short pieces taken from our ongoing macrophotographic binge on dead wasps, cats, cadavers, and craneways.

08.01.2008 FnF XII in NoCal

The second site-specific outdoor installation in a series emphasizing tensile structures and translucency.

Like last year, this piece highlights the fibrous optical properties of Chameleon scrim. Madeleine returns on the analog slides, and of course we feature the fine art props and sets of Minx from RA.

A special guest is installing the latest build of his digital video beam effects engine, driven by a wireless gestural controller. High-contrast motion graphics beam effects are totally unlike anything you can squeeze out of mechanistic visual animation systems.

This piece will be produced in conjunction with Radiant Atmospheres.

07.15.2008 Design and previsualization for FnF XII are complete.

Rather than use an expensive and error-prone commercial previsualizer, we chose to model the whole show in Blender. Blender is an open source 3D modeling, animation, and rendering tool. It emerged from the movie industry, and it is an exceptionally active project. It works great, runs on any platform, and costs nothing. Best of all, it's got an embedded Python interpreter for rapid tool development.

04.12.2008 Amon Tobin at Yuri's Night Bay Area, NASA-Ames

Amon Tobin is one of our favorite electronic musicians, and so we are very pleased to announce that Radiant Atmospheres and Coil will produce and perform a light show in the air sherriff's helicopter hanger at NASA's Moffett Field.

For this special occasion, Coil debuts the latest beta of our lighting controller. This version is a mutant dev branch that we specially modified to generate monstrous breakbeat visual fx across a retina-mangling array of moving lights, high power strobes, and LED pixel cans. We trust this will provide ample camouflage for Mr. Tobin's acoustical invasion of Mountain View's federal airbase.

UPDATE: For this show, Maximal Dan from Seattle will arrive with his whole arsenal of classic Clay Paky disco lights: Astroscans, an Astroraggi centerpiece, and four Atlas fanlights. Now if only we could find a Venus for rent...

02.29.2008 Liquid Concrete Air Band at the West Oakland facility

Terbo Ted originated this event to commemorate his birthday many years ago. It has evolved into a free-form multimedia noise jam with no director, no script, and no featured artists. You are expected to arrive with drums, strobes, foggers, tubas, cymbals, electric guitars, synthesizers, and/or concert-scale subwoofer arrays. All hell breaks loose.

It is nearly impossible to photograph Liquid Concrete because whenever this happens, we burn $200.00 of fog juice and haze fluid in a 3500 square foot room. Some performers feel forced to leave their own show because it is too intense! For your protection, we urge you to bring sunglasses, gas masks, earplugs, and shooting headphones.

This year we built a 17 foot square tank trap out of aluminum truss. We festooned it with strobes and LED pixel cans, and we implanted a Coemar Alpha Spot in its heart. This climbable rig is secretly a prototype for our piece at FnF XII later this year.

02.16.2008 Ott at the Sanctuary for the Arts

In addition to lighting design, the client commissioned Coil to create a giant-sized abstract graphical work built as a photocollage of (a) architectural details from this antique venue, and (b) macrophotographs of dead peacock parts. We're tiling this crazy picture cylindrically around the venue's octagonal main sanctuary using a whole palette load of hacked Opti K1s we bought off Disney's imagineers down in Florida.

As if that weren't enough, Madeleine the Beer Hunter joins us once again on the analog slides.

Produced in collaboration with Koinonea and Radiant Atmospheres.

01.31.2008 Distributed video transcoding platform enters production

Coil just wrapped up a video transcoding platform that runs as an elastic, distributed Linux application on EC2, the new virtualization offering from Amazon AWS. By parallelizing video pipeline tasks, our simple framework makes it possible to render, transform, and transcode any reasonable quantity of video jobs in just a few minutes.

Depending on the load, the farm autonomously expands (up to several thousand instances) and shrinks, depending on the load. Imagine getting your 1080p test render back from the farm by the time you finish reading this page, for 80% less than renderfarms currenly charge.

A client in the video game industry has begun the commercial deployment of this framework.

01.01.2008 New Years Eve 2008 at SOMARTS gallery

Our partners at Radiant Atmospheres are determined to cram every scrap of our combined production inventories onto a motorized circle truss rig in the SOMARTS black box. We can't resist joining them for a night of audiovisual carnage, and neither should you.

11.01.2007 Soo-Hwa Yuan's Vortical at SFMOMA Sessions

This is a very fun all-local art happening built around a temporary stretch-fabric structure designed by our colleague, architect Soo-Hwa Yuan. Vortical looks a little like a spandex version of Bathsheba's topological nightmares. Guests are invited to crash out inside and enjoy a seriously distorted, multi-angle stetch-screening of Hitchcock's Vertigo while Coil's 16-point CK LED rig washes the structure with color.

For this event, Coil returns to SFMOMA for our third Session. In addition to our electrical duties, we'll supply the rigid portions of Soo's structure as well as custom software controllers for this bizarre hybrid of lounge lighting and architectural styles.

10.31.2007 Annual Halloween Party at the West Oakland facility

Presented by Oaklyn Records and produced in collaboration with Radiant Atmospheres, the lineup features hip hop from Azeem and Marc Stretch, fading into dark techno as the night progresses.

In addition to the lights, we've hung a flock of spandex vultures. See studio tests here and here. Credit to Madeleine for supplying her extensive 35mm slide library of samples and collages.

09.20.2007 3rd Annual Symbiosis Gathering

Symbiosis is the best underground-style music festival in northern California. It's way up in the mountains, and you have to be self-sufficient, but it is worth the trek.

This is the third year for which Coil leads the main stage lighting design, in collaboration with Radiant Atmospheres and other LDs from around the state.

Musical acts will include Simon Posford / Hallucinogen / Shpongle, Ott, Younger Brother, Glitch Mob, Zilla, Lotus, Spoonbill, Eat Static, Bluetech, Shakatura, Waterjuice, Ticon, Triptych, and countless others. The art, food and even vending is curated, and they're always good.

UPDATE: Symbiosis Events has confirmed that Adam of Symbiotic Creations will construct more of his enormous lightbox sculptures.

08.18.2007 2012 party at Dimension 7's studio in SF

It's great to return to the venue where so many fine VJs and projection installation artists got started. Some of Coil's very first lighting gigs were at Video Salon and Video Riot here at D7's San Francisco warehouse. Clearly we've got to do the place justice. Happily, Koinonea's army of artists are descending on the venue already.

UPDATE: Somebody just rolled up with a twelve foot tall metal sculpture of a tree that spits fire. It's got flamethrowers rather than leaves.

Produced in collaboration with Koinonea and Radiant Atmospheres.

08.01.2007 FnF XI in NoCal

This year marks the first in a series of site-specific projection art installations in which we emphasize translucency and tension. The top of the set is built from steel wire rope and tension fabric, and the bottom is carefully developed by Minx from Radiant Atmospheres.

The invincible Madeleine the Beer Hunter is centrally featured on eight analog 35mm slide projectors, include two high color temperature Optikinetics K2s for maximum fidelity in the blue range.

Unlike most "ambient" installations, this one is also full of hidden strobes and moving heads, and it will be the site of two consecutive all-night raging dance parties.

See it it to believe it.

Produced in collaboration with Maximal Dan and especially Radiant Atmospheres.

09.21.2006 2nd Annual Symbiosis Gathering

Coil spent all month on the design, programming, and control software for this event, and we are very proud of the result. The main stage integrates a giant living tree and features the brilliant Lumasphere centerpiece by Radiant Atmospheres, which we have dressed up with "Turbine Tunnel" fx from a pair of Optikinetics K2s

Produced in collaboration with Radiant Atmospheres and Symbiotic Creations.

09.14.2006 SFMOMA Sessions: Matthew Barney

Join Coil and stretch fabric architect Soo-Hwa Yuan as we return to The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with a special installation of Tokyo Metro by director Nate Pagel. Nate's piece unfolds in a spandex maze-lounge wallpapered by digital and analog projections. It includes a soundtrack by composer Miyuki Ito

This Sessions party marks the end of Matthew Barney's new exhibit and film, Drawing Restraint.

07.20.2006 SFMOMA Sessions: Xefirotarch

Join Lightrhythmvisuals and Coil at San Francisco's premier modern art venue for this special lounge event marking the close of Xefirotarch's new show upstairs.

This Sessions party features new video content by LRV VJs and debuts Coil's latest live performance algorithms and controllers for lighting.

08.11.2006 Survival Research Labs in San Jose

SRL calls itself "the most dangerous show on earth." By comparison, San Jose is doubtless the most boring and civilized place in the Western world. So why's this coven of killer robots and heretical pyromaniacs tearing up the tarmac in downtown SJ?

The 01SJ and ISEA2006 conference has already sold out this evening's headline event, and we will be there with Radiant Atmospheres to ensure the entire set, the wiring, and all actors are properly illuminated and choking on fog as they tear each other to pieces.

Tonight we fear that only twisted wreckage, smoldering gore, and pools of molten insulation may remain for the curtain call. In fact, Dave from RA has supplied a special expendable electrical infrastructure, designed with failsafe chains of fallback protection in the event of self-destruction or predation by lethal machines. Under SRL's onslaught, we prepare for the worst. Most of our cables, some of our par cans, and even a few of the outlying distros will, in the end, be fused together into sputtering masses of copper and rubbery gore.

Coil's spotlight and strobe ops teeter atop a rusted and rickety scaffold tower, audaciously near to a 30 foot tall Tesla coil (no relation). When operating so close to a raging coil, electronics have a mind of their own. No computers, no sophisticated controllers will survive. Instead, we're down to pure analog goodness: followspots and manually actuated in-line dimmers for direct illumination. We've also strung out a dozen Diversitronics heads on a 16-channel DMX board for strobe effects. Synchronization is automatic: when the Tesla coil unleashes lightning bolts on our tower, the strobes blink in sympathy with the electrical interference on their DMX line. If the faderboard crashes in the midst of this blitz, we'll simply toggle its power and charge ahead.

We are defended only by a flimsy phalanx of riot control barriers. If a raging battlebot rams our position, this may be the final log entry for the brave souls of Coil Lighting.

UPDATE: The fire marshall is standing by with a thickly insulated fire axe, in case our power source requires decapitation for the safety of bystanders.

UPDATE 08.12.2006: Special guest fog wagon driver Paterville belched so much smoke last night that SRL's bloodthirsty robo-jockeys stalked him from one end of the killing floor to the other in a frenzied attempt to put an end to his mad blasts. Happily, the human spirit triumphed over the plodding logic of machines, and his wagon escaped to spew smoke another day. With special pride, Paterville notes that our fog attack was too much even for the likes of Survival Research Labs.

UPDATE 08.13.2006: Scott Beale of Laughing Squid has generously supplied a series of photographs in which he carefully documents the crucial role played by fog in the creation of a photogenic event. Ignore the desperate pleas of hippies: you know you need the fog.

08.01.2006 FnF X in NoCal

See for yourself why we blew the whole budget at Optifanatics.

06.06.2006 Completed the level design toolkit for Electronic Arts

We just finished coding a pipeline management toolkit for the world's largest video game company. This platform manages the armies of 3D artists and engineers who build and maintain levels and 3D models in their online worlds.

03.31.2006 Lightrhythmvisuals presents mini6 with Koppe

Jon Schwark (VJ0N/Videojon), co-founder of the VJ label Lightrhythmvisuals, organized this party to introduce San Francisco to introduce Japanese composer Koppe to San Francisco. It will feature recent work by LRV artists.

Koppe's weirdly catchy music is the subject of some tasty videos by Ben Sheppee, LRV's other co-founder.

UPDATE: Scott Draves will join us to screen some truly mind-boggling "crazy cowboy" sequences from the Blueberry movie, which Columbia TriStar recently released on American DVD as Renegade. These scenes make extensive use of Scott's well known Fractal Flame algorithm. (Make your own with Electric Sheep.)

Coil will supply lighting design, photographers, and stagehands for this event.

09.30.2005 1st Annual Symbiosis Gathering

Lighting and projections by Coil and Radiant Atmospheres. On Saturday night you're in for a special treat when a renegade nocturnal kite brigade brings their flying creations to our soup of F100 fog and Optikinetics patterns over the main stage, which we've installed in the skeleton of an air-drop Quonset hut from the Korean war.

08.28.2005 Art at Burning Man 2005

In late August and early September, Coil joins Radiant Atmospheres in the Black Rock Desert, where for one week we will install a site-specific concept piece.

This installation is rooted in architectural (rectilinear) geometries, with a base area of 2500 square feet. It distorts and extends these physical geometries through the extensive use of projections and beam effects. The total visual footprint is 40,000 square feet of painted desert floor, with an immense crown of beams stretching many hundreds of feet upward into the dusty sky. Under the right conditions, we expect it to be visible from 2-3 miles away.

UPDATE: We are proud to announce that Chad Renard and noted ambient composer Robert Rich have contributed music for this piece. Reid Oda of Aranji has produced a soundtrack which we have synchronized meticulously with our optical and mechanical animations.

08.01.2005 FnF IX in NoCal
07.23.2005 Phoenix Festival in Washington

Maximal Dan has invited Coil and Radiant Atmospheres to join him at the main stage, situated amidst a forest of burnt trees in Washington's eastern desert.

11.07.2004 Video RIOT! in downtown San Francisco
08.01.2004 FnF VIII in NoCal
06.11.2004 lightrhythm:R2 at AVIT VJ Conference

Join us at San Francisco's Cellspace for the official afterparty for this week's AVIT VJ Conference. We'll supply moving lights and pattern washes to supplement large-scale video works by many of the world's top VJ animators and projectionists, including VJ Culture, Ben Sheppee, C-TRL Labs, D-Fuse, Scott Draves, Nate Pagel, VJ Kevlar, VJ0N / Videojon, Control Machine, and Emmett Feldman, a.k.a. Suryummy.

UPDATE: Don't miss the AVIT appearance of The Light Surgeons when they perform their new piece, The Fountainhead, earlier in the week!

10.10.2003 Video RIOT! in downtown San Francisco

Once a year at Video Riot, Video Salon breaks free of Dimension 7's studio and invades the vast parking lot at 150 Folsom. Over a hundred projectionists, lighting designers, laserists and volunteer stagehands descend on the site to plaster the four story tall concrete wall of 365 Main's data center with projections and lighting effects. When this happens you can see it from across San Francisco, and it looks as if a Lovecraftian horror is devouring the city. There's some good photos on Grant Davis' site,, as well as a time-lapse of the event's rapid construction and deconstruction. (Click "VJ Projects," then "Video RIOT!")

Coil brings multilayered analog oil projections to this event, filtered through interlocking large format color slides. Look for us stage left.