Peter Martin on His M.I.A. and Janelle Monae Holographic Duet for Audi
Peter Martin masterminded last month's M.I.A. and Janelle Monae holographic duet, tied to Audi's A3 launch. "The first part of the process is ideation," explained the B&A newcomer. "I sit down with the clients, find out what they need, and tell them what I would do – and I'm only interested in doing things that haven't been done before – so, in this case, I didn't want to project characters onto a building or put a hologram on a black stage. I'm constantly trying to evolve the medium."
He first booked the musicians ("I tend to get very involved at every level") and decided to plug them into an immersive environment. "There's no one-stop shop for this type of project," Martin said, "so I formed a team of three companies." Obscura Digital filmed the holographic performance in Atlanta, which was then animated and given a projection-map background by New York City-based Dorian Orange. Vita Motus constructed the same set for Los Angeles's Quixote Studios (where Monae belted it out alongside a holographic M.I.A.) and N.Y.'s SIR Stage 37 (where M.I.A. Galang-ed alongside a holographic Monae). "We got all of it together in under four weeks," Martin noted.
He called the duet the culmination of his past work and an updated form of storytelling: "I'm focused on the experiential area because I can create original, dynamic, memorable experiences." Martin's now toying with the idea of a DJ who could spin in 100 cities, synchronously. "A century ago, people would watch a play with ten actors in it, and that was it; then we suddenly started filming these plays and it became cinema," he mused. "Today, there's 25,000 cinemas on earth, but you're effectively still watching a play – it's just advanced to this incredible mode – and you don't realize that the act of watching occurs simultaneously in the world. With everyone I talk to, I steer them in this sort of direction, compelling them to think, 'What's next?' "
Martin's career began as a journalist in the eighties, specializing in music and film, before moving into television production a decade later. In 2001, he became creative director of Ealing Film Studios and went on to create the cross-platform content company Zeppotron, later sold to Endemol. He then set up the film division of Done & Dusted with director Hamish Hamilton and produced the 2003 "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" for CBS.
Three years later, Martin founded his own production company, Surreal Films, and produced his first feature-length documentary, "The Workshop." In 2009, his and Jamie Hewlett's BBC television program "Phoo Action" won a BAFTA for Best Drama, and in 2010, he created and produced "Waste Land," which took home more than 35 festival awards and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Last year, Martin formed Virtual Artist Agency, a venture that already boasts an array of formidable partnerships with A-list talent and VFX houses like Digital Domain and Framestore, and he is also working on a six-part TV series about immortality and life extension.
Photographs: MKG: the blog
Production: Obscura Digital
Animation: Dorian Orange
Set Design: Vita Motus