Live visuals are jumping off in Vietnam. And leading the way are the constituents of Vietnam’s first visual collective, LAV [Live Audio Visual] Syndicate.



Thanh Tung Le — Crazy Monkey — got into live visuals after working as an illustrator, graphic designer and an animator. He looked up Cao Hoang Long — now Syndicate fellow LongX — for help on an interactive visual to be projected over a dancer via Kinect, at institute of Lower Learning’s July 2013 event Come to Daddy 6 at Yoko (22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Q3, HCMC).


“People stick their mind on how [dancers] interact with the visuals,” Monkey says, “as just like Beyoncé’s performance. It was Beyoncé and her sexy dancing, interacting with the visual in the background. But that visual is pre-rendered.”


Monkey’s visuals follow a different rhythm. “What I’m doing is the dancer interacts with the visual live. Whenever you move, the visual will follow you. Everything is rendered in real time.”


Space Panther visualiser and the third projectionist in the Syndicate, Daniel Day Long, came to live visuals in a different way. “Bryon [of Space Panther] asked me to do the visuals for his show at Geisha (defunct) and I had played with the programme only one day before the actual show. It was really weird and looking back at it now, probably the most creative I’ve ever been. I figured, hell why not, we get free drinks right?”

Standpoint Theories was both Monkey and Daniel’s second show — an interactive dance-music-projection-spoken word performance, which required their ever-transmuting lustre to pull off.


Over the time since, they’ve taken on several equally unique challenges. Just this month, Monkey will have some projections to lay up at the ASEAN Pride Music Festival (a CAMA Vietnam and US Embassy Hanoi joint venture), while the rest of the crew is launching a new model Mercedes at Saigon Outcast (188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q1, HCMC). Open-participation workshops are upcoming.


“If there’s an electronic show going on,” Daniel says, “we wanna be part of it. If there’s a DJ playing some dance hits, we’ll be there.” 

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