Zieght: Setting a new standard in stage design
Because we're millennials and music and visuals just aren't enough anymore
If you’ve ever been to Wonderfruit, you would remember ZIEGHT from their extraordinarily unique stage installations that double as fully immersive art experiences. One year they did a collab with on a project called Secret Keepers and this past year the Bonafide setup gave the Quarry Stage a run for its money. The LED lighting installations have since been popping up all over Thailand lending the festival landscape a bright and geometric aesthetic from full scale productions like the Sunn Stage at Mystic Valley Festival with Sven Väth to Karma Kamp's more intimate camping affair.
Every project is different, every concept new and every one more spectacular and memorable than the one before it. ZIEGHT's signature style integrates traditional media, new media and technology delivered with an artistic flare and the result is an impressive and immersive experience that is changing the dance floor game and setting a new standard for production in Thailand because music and visuals aren't enough anymore. We spoke with ZIEGHT founders Mont Watanasiriroch and Jay Plodpai on how the concept was born, their proudest moments thus far and where they want to take the project next.
How was Zieght born?
ZIEGHT was born from a collaboration between SWERB.tv (a motion graphic design company based in Bangkok) and System Error (a party idea and organizer). It was back then when I (Mont) had this thought about extending motion design into a different medium and allow my SWERB team to have a chance to get their hands on tangible objects rather than just sit in the office and look at the monitor all day.
I met Jay in early 2014 and had an intensive chance to discuss this project with him during our summer trip to Secret Garden in England. I asked him if he would be interested in joining and eventually he become a partner.
Explain the technology behind your installations and how they all come together?
Originally, ZIEGHT was a light installation based on ‘Madlight'. Madlight is a term that was formed by a group of visual artists who has been building and developing an application called Madmapper. Madlight uses Artnet protocol to translate visual content from a computer into DMX language. DMX language is an industrial standard command for controlling the behavior of light.
As you can see, there is a trace of motion design at the beginning of the process. We use a computer to produce motion design clips and we use a light bar and equipment as the medium as well as a canvas to project those clips we made.
Every single installation you create for clients is different from the one before it. How do you come up with different concepts and find inspiration for your productions?
ZIEGHT is a combination of 3 words: SITE, SIZE, SIGHT.
The space or the venue that we will be working on is one of the most important aspects for us. To begin gathering an idea to design an installation, we would and get a feel the space and imagine in our heads what could be done with it. We would visualize and be the audience ourselves. We always aim to surprise the audience so that they go back home with a memorable experience. Almost every single installation that we have designed has had no actual reference that we can experience - they have never been done before. There have been so many times that we actually surprised ourselves when everything was done and fully functioning as expected. I think this part has given us the most satisfaction.
Often your concepts include elements outside of lights and music – like the Secret Keepers at Wonderfruit. When did music and visuals become not enough?
Very good question, I would say, right at the beginning...when we started doing ZIEGHT. That is actually one of the ideas behind ZIEGHT.
Swerb.tv has done countless music events and festivals so we felt that there were so many other things that we could explore so each project we move forward and keep ‘fresh’ on the table. We especially want Thai people to become more opened-minded.
Visuals and lighting don't need to always be revolved around parties either, they can be designed to complement conceptual art. It could work with theater performances, fashion or even sports. We are actually spending time looking for projects outside of the party context but we still need to slowly introduce what our potential is and the party scene has been great for our exposure. They are showcases for us, like a moving portfolio.
What installations are you most proud of?
We call it SPHERA and it's the one that we built for the first year of Wonderfruit at the ‘The Secret Keeper’ area. It was also the first one that we launched to the public and we had only one tested session in our friend's unfinished home gym. We have such long memories of all the trails and errors it took to eventually get it to work. Back then, we have to admit that we were not ready for an outdoor festival set up. We had this feeling that we wouldn't get it to work on time but in the end everything just came together. It wasn't the shape like we planned for but we are so proud of SPEHRA and also everyone in the team who faced the unknown at that time.
What makes techno and electronic music the perfect match for Zieght?
The minimalism in techno sound is perfectly complemented by the atmosphere that can be controlled by just using ZIEGHT’s installation - you don’t need anything more than that.
ZIEGHT also provides the feeling of an industrial look and feel and techno music is also a genre that echoes that experience. When they are fused together, it helps honor the underground culture.
How much planning, time, energy and manpower go into each project?
A project usually takes about a month and a half however it depends on how many people are involved in a project. There are times that we do collaborations with other artists so there is a timeline to consider. And we really love collaborations, it helps us say that ZIEGHT work with anything and with anyone, and that we don't just need parties to survive.
What one thing do you always dream about adding to your installations that you haven’t yet been able to pull off?
That would be interaction with the audience. We did a project with TCDC but it was still a prototype. We would like to learn and do something more like this.
You’ve grown exponentially and had a massive few years. What’s in the pipeline this year?
We are really keen to bring our installation outside of Thailand. Asia would be the target that we aim for in a couple years but if we have a chance to setup on another continent we would take it too.
What’s your five-year plan and aspirations?
Get recognized internationally. Get involve with fine and conceptual art. Pass this along to the new generation. Currently Jay and I just work as supervisors but it's very important for us to have a legacy. ZIEGHT is so valuable to us and we want to see it become called contemporary installation and design. We would love to see if ZIEGHT can function through a period of time, whether it's 5, 10 or 20 years from now, the concept should always work very well.
Connect with ZIEGHT and find their full production catalogue here