Among the reasons that make technology hostile and repulsive to many - as is happening with artificial intelligence software, which for months has divided creatives into techno-enthusiastic and techno-afraid - there is the self-referential use made of it by its first interpreters: as if having an avant-garde and its tools necessarily means using them to create scenarios and products that seem designed by and for a circle of adepts.
"And instead the beauty of technology, including digital - says Arturo Tedeschi, architect and computational designer - is that it works best when more than a thing it becomes a how, when it opens glimpses of new worlds without frightening and lengthens everyone's vocabulary without adding incomprehensible words to the majority".
The latest work by Tedeschi, a professional who adds the vocation of popularizer to his curriculum as a designer, goes in this direction.
It is a hyper-technological project and, at the same time, with a strong narrative imprint that brings design and its most recent digital frontiers to the service of live music, that dimension whose now abused words and concepts such as experience and immersion rediscover their truest and deepest meaning.
Let's talk about the stage set designed for the world tour of Illenium, an American artist among the major talents of contemporary electronic music.
To design the stage for the Illenium tour - which will arrive in Italy, at the Fabrique in Milan on October 13 - Tedeschi employed artificial intelligence tools to generate the initial concept, developed and detailed later through algorithmic modeling and digital fabrication processes.
In practice, the whole project has become a sort of compendium of digital technology developed in recent years, without however resulting in something extraneous or alienating: indeed, the very fact of being designed for the live dimension has exalted the active ingredients of AI software by dissolving them into an impactful narrative.
Tedeschi explains: "What Illenium tells through its tour and its music, a sort of electronic dance with a melodic cut, is a profound story of rebirth and healing.
The production therefore wanted to convey this story through an engaging multimedia experience capable of creating a truly immersive atmosphere for the audience even before the start of the musical event: an atmosphere, that is, capable of 'set the tone', to amplify the audience's reaction, to create a subliminal connection".
What is relevant to Tedeschi's project for the debate on the use of AI is the way in which the software was used on this occasion by the Milan-based designer.
And this way draws directly on the Italian 'art of engineering', because it grafts digital into the lessons of great masters such as Pierluigi Nervi or Sergio Musmeci.
"The design of the stage" explains Tedeschi "in fact incorporates large monolithic elements interconnected and characterized by simple and bold geometries, which act as a fascinating extension of the visual language of Illenium and of the artwork of his new album.
The components of the set form a three-dimensional background rich in references and symbolism, as well as techno-primitive architectures: they not only add visual interest and depth, but primarily evoke a sense of archetypal architecture".
The psychology of space plays a crucial role in musical scenography, even more so in this case: "The use of archetypal volumes, rough and multifaceted, but made with contemporary techniques, is a way to project the audience towards a distant or parallel future, a dimension that prepares them to listen to a story transmitted through sound and light.
The result adheres to a style that blends stylized primitive elements with advanced technological systems, what we generally define as a fusion of past and future, avant-garde and collective memory".
An important, perhaps decisive lesson remains for Tedeschi - and not only for him -: "I could have designed a stage with an ultra-futuristic language, instead AI prompted me to retrieve archetypal forms that belong to a deep memory , as familiar to me as to many.
With this project I stepped out of the digital designer's comfort zone, to explore a symbolic and narrative dimension. It was an unexpected way of thinking out of the box, a stimulating opportunity to make the avant-garde a tool and not an end".
And, we add, to also try to move the debate of recent months to a more challenging and, above all, constructive level.