It's been just over a year since the first full-scale exhibition of Playces - and now I suddenly find that it's an award-winning project!
This week I was invited to attend the MIDI Innovation Awards 2021 live ceremony, after being selected as one of the 10 grand finalists for the event. Hosted by Music Hackspace - the MIDI Innovation Awards have been established to celebrate and acknowledge MIDI innovation. The awards enable winners to accelerate their product ideas through connections to the industry, as well as increase their visibility among musicians and the NAMM community of trade professionals. The MIDI Innovation Awards rewards products, prototypes, installations, or concepts that are thought-provoking and inspire new, creative use cases for MIDI. ...and what an event it was! I was in the fine company of 9 other outstanding talented grand finalists, an incredible array of judges, some amazing live performances, and a serious list of prizes from sponsors to boot. For this event I was asked to put together a 3-minute presentation VT on Playces, explaining the why, how, and what for the project:
There were 4 awards up for grabs - the public popular vote, and the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place judges vote prizes ...and I'm super excited to announce that Playces came 3rd in the judges vote!
I just can't fully express how much I appreciate the recognition that Playces has been given by the judges - especially given the sheer amount of talent that I was surrounded by that night. Every single finalist brought with them some seriously astonishing new use cases for MIDI - I mean - just see for yourself!
"Leigh, this is wonderful! It's just so beautifully out there, but also so beautifully accessible too... I don't think I've ever seen MIDI be so human before." Tim Exile, MIDI Innovation Awards 2021.
I'd also love to heartily congratulate Krishna Chetan and Kevin Chang for placing 1st and 2nd respectively. I'm a big big fan of alternative tuning systems within music production, so I was utterly thrilled to see two brilliant products breaking the westernised influences that have held such an iron grip over the configuration of MIDI hardware for so long. I sincerely wish them all the very best in taking their products forward for the betterment of MIDI creativity! (....also as part of the incredible prize pool - I CANNOT BELIEVE I WON THE SWAM ALL-IN BUNDLE! I've always wanted a great excuse to get a decent breath controller... and now I do! These virtual instruments are absolutely unreal!) The live-streamed awards event is now available via the Music Hackspace Youtube channel, which you can watch here:
Lastly - I couldn't have been more thrilled to have had the fantastic Helen Leigh announce Playces as the 3rd prize winner! (Diolch yn fawr Helen!!!) - and also -the incredible Yuri Suzuki himself ask me more questions about Playces during the judging process. I'm a big fan of their work - I'm sure I've said this many times before but the Pyramidi sculptures Yuri designed for Will.i.am are utterly out of this word! And it looks like Yuri has left an impression on me with his questions about scaling up Playces at the MIDI innovation awards... Fancy walking around inside a Playces sculpture anyone? Because the plans for a large-scale semi-permanent installation are now officially in motion...