how it began
Illuminado is one of the earliest electroluminescent (EL) wireless lighting technologies designed especially for costumes and stage props. It began as an experimental art project at Tokyo Hackerspace (THS) back in 2009.
Jacinta Plucinski and Akiba, who were co-founders of THS (along with other brilliant people), were contacted by Frank Concepcion – a Tokyo-based dancer from New York.
Frank was a choreographer for the Tokyo leg of Michael Jackson’s This Is It tour. For the finale, Frank wanted to ‘wow’ audiences with something unexpected.
Together we began working on a system that could wirelessly control EL wire, opening up choreographic possibilities by syncing costume and prop lighting with music and the dancers’ movements.
When Michael Jackson (M.J) died, This Is It turned into a memorial tour. However, the Japan leg was cancelled and the project stopped.
A year or two later, Wrecking Crew Orchestra (WCO) – an Osaka-based street dance crew – and B-Boy Popeye were experimenting with syncing costume lighting to music and movement. Akiba contacted them about purchasing our excess EL wire, but conversations quickly turned towards a collaboration to revive the M.J system.
In 2012, Illuminado debuted at WCO’s Fakest performance in Japan and Hong Kong. The system has since been used in their EL SQUAD performances globally, with WCO pushing the technology to its limits.
We also teamed up with flair bartenders and circus performers to adapt the system for different genres of stage shows.
10 years later, the collaboration with WCO is still going. We’re currently developing the next version which will refine the technology, introduce new functionality and incorporate new lighting options.
We’re excited to see how far we can take the technology and push the artistic possibilities of lighting, music and movement.
If you want to be notified when the next version is released, join our mailing list here.
For information and enquiries please contact us here.
An early prototype of the system syncing with MJ’s music
Proof of concept and testing of EL wire options. Kudos to Frank dancing, all wired up and plugged into the power outlet.