Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Winter 2019

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Page 32 of 55

31 Ask Ezra Miller '15 to define what he does, and he is momentarily flummoxed. He doesn't fit into the neat box of what is traditionally thought of as a designer, artist, art director, coder or web developer. "I struggle to describe myself because I do so many things, all under the umbrella of software." Miller writes software code to produce graphics and websites that are interactive. Miller also uses software to produce artwork and visuals for live performers. "I'm using the computer in new ways to create digital art. But it's more than that because I'm writing the programs that produce the art," he said. At 22 years old, Miller is young, but he is already making a name for himself. Miller recalls a point in the summer of this year where he was stressing over a project. He was commissioned by fashion house Balenciaga to create a video for Paris Fashion Week that would be displayed on the floor and walls of a giant tunnel made up of hundreds of LED panels. The idea, a brainchild of Canadian conceptual artist Jon Rafman, was that models would walk through the tunnel for a 15-minute performance. Rafman wanted to create an immersive world for the audience who was seated inside the tunnel. But first, he, Miller and a team of artists working at The Mill in New York had to tackle multiple technical hurdles. These included creating a video at a massive resolution and sharing enormous files between New York and Paris. The team did not receive the music until the project's deadline, making it difficult for them to choreograph the art to the soundscape until a few days before the show. When they arrived on site, the team needed to make multiple adjustments to the video. After rehearsals with the models two days before, Miller was thrilled when the project was finally unveiled. "The video took us about a month and a half to produce, working almost around the clock. It took over my life. But it was worth it," he said. Miller's work transects various industries, including music, consumer goods and even the tech industry itself. He created images for Adidas for a pop-up store in Times Square in New York that were displayed alongside the sportswear brand's newest shoe. He has worked with various musicians creating websites, album art (and collateral pieces such as posters and t-shirts), and music videos. Miller has also carved a niche creating live video art during concerts and music festivals. Three years ago, Miller met and became friends with electronic artist Suicideyear (born James Richard Prudhomme) and became a fan of his music. After Miller worked on Suicideyear's website and a music video and designed an album cover, the artist invited Miller to produce the art that was to be projected during his performance at the Sónar Festival in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. Miller was backstage with his laptop, controlling the videos that played on the screens flanking the performer. Miller acknowledged that the process is easier because he is familiar with the music. "I have to be in touch with the work so that everything flows," he said. He chose images that complement the music, some of which included footage of burning forests and other scenes from nature. In November this past year, Miller returned to Barcelona and London to do a similar set of two performances with Yves Tumor, another electronic artist. "I used a live camera feed of [Tumor] on stage. I used this input with my software, then I manipulated this on the fly," he said. "The music is harsh and abrasive, it's almost noise-music. And " I struggle to describe myself because I do so many things, all under the umbrella of software." Photo Credit: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images LATIN MAGAZINE » WINTER 2019 31 LATIN MAGAZINE » WINTER 2019 31

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