Tracy Cornish  in collaboration with Todd Margolis and Naruwan Taiko

ESSA! was a live taiko drumming performance by Naruwan Taiko with high resolution visualizations by Tracy Cornish and Todd Margolis.

Taiko is a style of japanese drumming, first introduced to the United States in 1968 by Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka. Traditionally, these types of drums were used on battlefields, in temples and at festivals. In the last 60 years, Taiko has evolved into an energetic and athletic performance art.

Wanting to spread the wide array of physical, mental, and social benefits of taiko to her local community, Diana Wu founded Naruwan Taiko and in early 2008, with the help of her collegiate taiko friends, she held a community workshop for San Diego.  The word “Naruwan” (那魯灣) is a Taiwanese Ami greeting, meaning “welcome, for we are all in the same family”  conveys Wu’s mission for  Naruwan Taiko to be  a place where anyone could learn taiko whether or not they were of a certain ethnic background or had a certain level of music experience.  Today, Naruwan Taiko has grown to over thirty performance members and is planning to establish a Taiko Center based in San Diego.

ESSA! took advantage of the available technology at the Qualcomm Institute at Calit2 UCSD. During the performance, the audience could see 4K  (Ultra High Definition) visualizations. Each piece in this performance was accompanied by a different realtime 4K visualization, including EEG brain wave data, point clouds, and computer graphics that respond to the performers striking the drums.  Through these realtime visualizations  Cornish and Margolis hoped to provide audiences with a novel experience of Taiko that not only compliments this energetic artform with high-resolution imagery, but also show how the body and brain function during a performance.






ESSA!  was co-produced by UCSD Visual Arts adjunct faculty Tracy Cornish and Qualcomm Institute’s Todd Margolis through a grant by the IDEAS initiative at Calit2, UCSD.

ESSA! June 29 2013, Calit2 Auditorium, UC San Diego

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