Daito Manabe’s latest Squarepusher video hacks all the ad space in Tokyo’s Shibuya

The video for Terminal Slam uses an AI to automatically recognise people and adverts in live action footage, and delete and replace them with glitches and 3D textures.

30 January 2020


Long-time Squarepusher collaborator Daito Manabe has created the video for the artist’s latest track Terminal Slam, using live action footage of Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya as a canvas for chaotic, glitchy visuals. The video is based on a film tour of the district showing its famous crossing as well as its busy streets and warren of underground tunnels, and uses AI software to recognise and label everything in the footage, particularly the people and advertising space. The people start to glitch, then the AI appears to hack all the ad space, replacing it with pixelated, mountainous 3D textures that pulsate violently from billboards and screens in time with the track. This is all seen by the video’s protagonist, who views the city through alternative reality glasses.

Manabe is one of the directors and founders of Rhizomatiks, the Japanese collective of artists, programmers and DJs who have collaborated with the likes of Björk, Nosaj Thing and Apple, as well as creating the Squarepusher x Z Machines project in 2013 and live visuals for the artist’s Shobaleader One set at Sonic Mania in 2017. Manabe says the Terminal Slam video imagines near-future Tokyo, and how advertising might feature in that landscape, a theme of many a dystopian cinematic vision, from Terminator to Minority Report, via Children of Men.

“Squarepusher himself provided a lot of detailed feedback and adjusted the expression of the images,” Manabe says on the creative process. “His creative commitment to glitches and interactions was enjoyed by the entire production team. We found it very exciting. AI is used to automatically recognise people, objects, and advertisements contained in the video, and they are deleted from reality or replaced by other advertisements. In the near future, it would be exciting to be able to rewrite ads as freely as is depicted in this music video while wearing such a device and wandering around the city.”

Fittingly, the video was premiered on screens overlooking the Shibuya crossing. Terminal Slam is featured on Squarepusher’s new album Be Up a Hello, out Friday on Warp.

GalleryDaito Manabe: Terminal Slam for Squarepusher

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Daito Manabe: Terminal Slam for Squarepusher

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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