The Nicofarre club, blurring reality virtually

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A live performance venue, but not as we know it, Nicofarre takes its audience into a quasi reality where the division between real life and what we see on the screen is blurred. The venue itself situated in Tokyo is a wall to wall and ceiling video screen; completely submursive, the environmental impact is enough to excite most people’s visual cortex to extremes, but it’s the content that keeps them coming back and like so many modern concepts, this one grew virally out of the web.

The idea was spawned from Nico Nico Douga, a highly successful Japanese video sharing website; the creative company behind it, Dwango, noticed that their bolt on live streaming service Nico Nico Live, where users can communicate and share emotions and opinions with other users, might easily transpose to a more direct model, and that’s exactly what they did, and on a massive scale.

The concept is simple enough; stage live performances within Nicofarre and share that experience not just with those inside the venue, but simultaneously stream it live over Nico Nico Live. Online viewers are able to interact within the venue, their responses streamed back through the walls and ceiling. Mixed and modelled, picture within picture, net-stream and live-stream, the sophisticated video control system makes for a heady and highly responsive real-time experience for everyone.

Such a cerebral visual force required an equally emphatic audio system at its heart; this could be no silent movie. Audiobrains Co Ltd, headed up by Mr Kong Imaoka was engaged to create a listening experience comparable to the 360° visual experience that surrounds the viewers. “We provided a high quality, powerful d&b audiotechnik PA system, but one that did not disturb the audience’s sight lines” he explained. The system design comprised eight d&b T10 loudspeakers for front of house, plus a further two for fills and four d&b Q subwoofers, all of which are driven by d&b D12 amplifiers. The cabinets have been mounted so that the sound is allowed to project over the entire audience. He then opted to install the d&b MAX cabinets as wedges due to their coaxial design and their ability to produce remarkable vocal presence, an important factor for Nicofarre. This combination of loudspeakers with their acute vocal presence proves as powerful aurally as the screens visually.

Even for Tokyo, a city accustomed to accommodating a virtual existence, Nicofarre is proving a magnet hub. Startling sights and stunning sounds spread in two-way communication with a wider audience; what could be more intoxicating?

With acknowledgement to Mondo dr for some of the editorial content and photographs.

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