diving into virtual reality

KnoR’s latest EP “Don’t Go” transforms melancholy into a deep feeling of freedom and is enhanced via multimedia experiences.

/ How would you describe the full scope of what you do to someone that has never been exposed to any of your work?
I am an artist and a storyteller using the tools that are at my disposal an the different languages I have learned to tell stories about our world. Lately they turn out to be pretty dark. I hope you don’t mind. My latest project “Don’t go” is a song, a movie and a mobile application for VR to tell a story about freedom. Every media has a singular path and together they converge in simple message tailored for mobile and connected platforms.

/ With this release you dove into Virtual Reality – where did the idea come from?
I was working on the concept of my new movie. The new music video gives depth to the lyrics of the song “Don’t Go” and depicts a surrealistic and nostalgic dream where I look back on the past and question the future and the fate of freedom. I like metaphors and I was looking for something to depict the process of an idea or concept nesting in a brain. 
The following day I went to see the show of my friend Mativa aka Matthias Moos. He was presenting his audiovisual generative piece “The Purest of All Sounds” he developed actively in London’s noise scene in 2015. The effect on the audience was dazzling. In a few seconds everybody was completely focused and immersed in his show. I had found my metaphor and opened the door to our first artistic collaboration and to our first VR production.

/ This VR experience is about creating a safe haven from the media noise and manipulation, right? Do you really use it to cut off?
Yes, that’s the role of the VR App in the storyline I developed. And I think it works. It will transport you in a very abstract place and disconnect your brain from its human condition. But basically you can use it to entertain yourself. We adapted Matthias’ work to VR platforms and, basically, you have full access to a very impressive audiovisual performances right out from your pocket. It’s a unique experience of immersion between audio and light, signal and noise.

/ What's the longest stretch of time you've immersed yourself in this VR world?
The update we have released a few days ago features longer animation and improved sound quality. I have spent about 30min into “The Purest of All Sounds” just later today. Being pretty minimalistic in terms of design, the virtual world turns out to be surprisingly immersive and rich. It’s a piece of media art in virtual reality and it is pretty unique. I am very proud of it.

/ How did it feel? What happened?
I think the disconnection takes place. But I am probably not the good monkey to ask. We did so much testing that it already fells like a pretty natural environment to me, a part of my real life. You should try it out and tell me what happens.

/ Do you think you're gonna stick with Virtual Reality for the next release
Movie is going to be the constant for the next releases in 2016. I already have the track and the idea. I may add some other interactive media in my next stories too. Diversity is the key and you should never say never. We’ll see where it gets.

/ But if you had unlimited resources to pull off the project you wanted, Hollywood type resources, what would you do with the format?
Let me think. I would produce an adaptation of the indie game “This War of Mine”. Just to remind people how important it is to remain tolerant, open minded and help each other instead of living in constant fear and competition.

/ Your whole output as an artist has a political / social backbone – do you feel that it's your duty as an artist to work for political and social awareness? 
I wouldn’t say that everything I produce is and will be political. Right now, I just feel there is a need for diversified opinions and reflection on hot topics like society models, identity, nations. I hope that we remain open-minded and that we will realise that there needs to be a change of some core concepts and incentives in our society and economic systems.

I have another projects where I essentially play drums. “RizzoKnoR” aka “The Greatful Dead of Disco”. It’s all about live Techno, improvisation, dancing and living in the moment. We turned 10 in 2015!

/ The "Borderline Syndrome" tour is all about this, right?
Somehow. It kind of points at a social issue in a metaphoric way. Borders are a very abstract construction. We feel that they have always been here. But they haven’t. Borders get really annoying when they get politicised. When nothing else works, the economy is broken and all arguments are getting weak, politicians tend to find it very comfortable to use this abstract concept in their discourse to level their chance of success. It’s absurde. I think that one of the main reasons of the resurgence of such politic demagogy can be brought back to borders. We are stuck in a loop. I think it’s time to break out.

/ Do you think you'll be adding more dates to the tour? Or possibly targeting some of the border crossings that are currently the focus of political, social tensions? 
We tested our audiovisual setup in a first location last week. It’s working great and we are looking forward to our next gigs in Switzerland and Germany. We will try to play other locations focussing on spots at the border and would love to spread the show throughout the continent. It would be a good start, We submitted the project to different festivals and museums and are looking forward to see what will happen this year. Fingers crossed. 

/ Did you think about reaching out to Banksy's affiliates? It would make sense..
No we didn’t. Do you have his number? I’d love to inform him about our project. Just wrote an email. I didn’t seem to work…

/ What are you working on right now? 
I am doing some exercise and get ready for the tour. We finished our audiovisual setup last week. I will finish the tracks for my next release - Planet - and for the first proper RizzoKnoR release. Life goes on and it’s beautiful to get back to creative work.

/ Really looking forward to the next chapter sir.
Thanks for taking the time to do this.