Meet Knautwerk’s Tetracluster & Trydra

This past month, while playing a set at  Wordly, a “cross-cultural mashup” event featuring World Bass djs, tabla players & live interactive visuals at Underground in S.F., I was treated to an unusual and engaging 3-d projection mapping visual display from Daniel Andersen, the VJ and the project known as Knautwerk.

What first drew my attention to the visuals, aside from the elaborate 3-d geometric screen setup, was that the giant eye-animal on one of these geometric shapes seemed to be breathing as it looked around, and changed skins.  At one point, a tentacled sacred geometry jellyfish-type image emerged and threw its “arms” up in a perfect dance to the music.  I scanned the booth to see who else was looking so I could give them that “hey, wow,  look at that!” face, and that was when  I noticed a long haired figure in a corner of the dancefloor waving their arms around, mimicking the movement of the tentacles – like a magician casting a spell, or perhaps doing his Tai Chi exercises.

This was, of course, Knautwerk & the creature/setup/symbiotic light-being known as Trydra. Trydra is described by Daniel as “a sci-fi take on the Eye in the Pyramid meme… it has a vertical eye that blinks and scans the crowd.”  And he hadn’t been mimicking, but rather controlling the arms of the octopus.

I caught up with him after the show and he explained his process:

“The project k̄nautwerk consists of a series of projection-mapped, travelling art installations. They’re designed for live interactive art and VJing.
There are two installations running right now: Tetracluster and Trẙdra. Both are composed of three-sided pyramids (tetrahedrons). Tetracluster expands across walls infinitely, and it’s arranged differently each time.”

“All my work is interactive and real-time. I don’t use video clips usually. Everything is either generated by code or is manipulated by effects live.”

He also explained the aforementioned arm-waving:

“I’m not satisfied with traditional controllers, so right now I’m developing a wearable interface with twin Myo Armbands. The gestural control is detailed enough that I can cue presets, modulate effects, change layer sources, and switch color schemes on the fly.

The goal is to make the interface intuitive yet powerful. The show at Worldly was the first time using them in a club setting—sort of a dry run. They seemed pretty dynamic, both as visual input sources and to physically use. It suggests some kind of physical performance. This is an area I’m really interested in exploring and pushing further.”

There are several clips on his Instagram page which give a small idea of the feel of this project:

Testing with hydra tentacles

A post shared by ̄knautwerk (@knautwerk) on

#projectionmapping at Supernatural Factory

A post shared by ̄knautwerk (@knautwerk) on

And here, from his website, is a shot of him controlling the visuals with the MYO arm bands:

And of course, here he is going full-butoh as “Blondknaut”

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About the author

San Francisco Producer, DJ and instrumentalist El Diablo is a certified bass sorcerer & party rocker. A powerful and energetic force on the decks, El Diablo is currently signed with MalLabel Music in S.F. His first release for Mallabel, the hit “Rollin With My Crew” hit number 5 on Juno Download charts for several weeks and is currently featured in the German film "As if We Were There".. His release “ Devil in the Machine” has debuted with support from Liquid Stranger & also topped the Beatport charts for several weeks, getting solid support from Excision on his famous Shambhala Mix. El Diablo was also recently hand-picked by Bay area Legend, rapper Too $hort, to be producer on his first EDM release for MalLabel & continues to be one of MalLabel Music's most popular artists.

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