Their very diverse backgrounds (video editing, web design, vjing, 2D-3D graphics, video post-production, sound design) and a powerful synergy among themselves, lead to the development of Pixel Shapes collective that aims to produce impressive video mapping, visuals and installations.
From traditional video projection techniques to the most complex forms of architectural video mapping.
Looking for new forms of communication through the use of multimedia technologies and nonconventional supports.
Design of multimedia scenography.
Sound department is handled by Giovanni Raniolo, established sound designer and music producer.
I have been exceptionally lucky to be able to pick Overlap’s Michael Denton’s brains with all of those nitty gritty questions about their career that every visual artist wonders about. How did they get to be where they are? What was the VJ scene like in the nineties? How is their relationship with technology and whose work inspires them?
Overlap are true veterans and represent original artists on the audiovisual live performance scene, not only have they experienced more changes in performance technology than I’ve had hot dinners, they’ve been up there with some of the most popular artists of our time, performing with the likes of Chemical Brothers and have animated artwork by Damien Hirst.
You have presented your work in some of the most prestigious international galleries around the world, including the Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern, and the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as done a VJ set with the Chemical Brothers. What is the project that you are most proud of?
Remixing and VJing The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour film for its cinema première at the South Bank with Noise of Art was a highlight.
We’re pleased with the editions on SeditionArt. They incorporate a lot of ideas from the past and are also feeding into some future shows. Musically, Greylight Green is something that works when you’re in the right mood. As these recent editions highlight, we’ve always been at the more arty end of the Vjing/music industry, and the more musical end of the art world. The music industry and the fine art worlds attribute value in such different ways. But twenty years ago, we were lucky to stumble into a certain era of EDM culture, it was like the early days of flying’s uncharted freedoms. In Turnmills nightclub in Holborn, I remember one of the guys from Reality Check, (the house VJ and AV team, for nights, including The Gallery and Trade etc), saying they showed art to thousands of clubbers every week – and they did. Hopefully for an audience the circling and repeating imagery of VJ-ing done well can create a kind of memory image burn effect – they go home with a ‘memory painting’
Fine art galleries and big projects have not necessarily been the most rewarding – the really interesting moment for us was being at clubs and festivals with a large amount of freedom, developing a style of imagery and delivery without record companies and DJ Managers controlling what we did. It was genuinely creative and new, yet fulfilling a need. This for any artist is a luxury.
Early on we’d be flown out to Creamfields in Andalucia with Microchunk, or wherever, and literally be immediately on stage with a 50k audience and the DJ, no pre planning or rehearsing, ” 5 mins guys”, maybe an artist logo at the beginning, then mix.
As Overlap you have experimented with the majority of the audiovisual art formats. Is there one in particular that you enjoy?
Long VJ sets are a nice journey, in medium sized venues with a few different feeds going into multiple screens and low lighting. AV sets are always a bit more stressy – as doing the visual/music/sound for maybe 40 mins, feels more contrived/pre planned and edgy. Multi screens can make things a lot more architectural/sculptural, with 3d projections on objects etc, and simpler more graphic imagery. So a mixture of graphic and more pictorial screens is a nice balance. Again we tend towards a more art bias, whereas a lot of club imagery is a fairly bombastic extension of the lighting show – think rising chevrons. Equally a very simple installation/projection on a gallery wall can be really satisfying. For AV sets, good acoustics and smaller venues suit the minimal music we make.
I’m sure you have collaborated and met with many of the world’s most famous audiovisual and new media artists on the scene. Who particularly inspires you?
Loads of things inspire me, from motorcycling to design and architecture. More recently though works/gigs by Ryoichi Kurokawa, Fuse, some of the things AntiVJ have done, Davide Quayola. Nils Frahm, Biosphere, through to more obscure music form France Jobin to gallery based artist like Mat Collishaw. But also painters like Nigel Cooke, with his circuitous multi picture planes that create a pictorial balance that your eye follows round and around – comparable to good VJ mixing. We were lucky to be part of a talented group of VJs represented by Microchunk in our VJing hey day – unique underground artists. I think we all inspired and motivated each other to push further artistically. Lady Pat and Grand Dame are two of Anna’s favourite, similarly self taught, audiovisual artists.
The art of VJing is a relatively new term for the art of live video mixing. When did you first become aware of the term and how has it changed for you over the years?
Firstly it was the definitive move away from the pop video, which had been: point camera at people singing the song, illustrate/narrative/advertise – ie. TV. So the culture of EDM remixing, had the authority to legitimize its visual equivalent and create the context for VJing. It’s a term I’m not overly fond of, but it does put you on the stage side of technician, ie you make and shape content – not to demean the amazing art, that is light mixing, house sound, etc. VJ content is a form of visual serialism, like music about patterns, removing the asymmetry of drama, its infinitely more complex in its potential multi layer/screen applications than linear media, maybe more so than music.
When I was at Chelsea art school, there was Glitch (first time around, VHS crash editing, late 80’s), video artist lecturers talked derogatorily of ‘club wallpaper’,meaning all things shallow. But I was interested in this form, that had a use and the public liked – unlike so much video art of the era.
The first time I got paid to show images in a bar – also in Holborn, was in 1985. The fee, one bottle of wine.
The first time I thought about something like VJing was as a very young kid, around the time the Beatles released The White album, in the back of my dad’s car one evening, driving along country roads in Dorset and thinking about ‘films’ that would be like the trees sliding past the windows. Non narrative loop structures – I certainly didn’t know what narrative meant at the time, but I did have this strange certainty of there being a future for this sensory/sensual idea. The first time I got paid to show images in a bar – also in Holborn, was in 1985. The fee, one bottle of wine. Then I showed an AV Album work called Open at Megatripolis, Heaven, Charing Cross around 1994. I met Anna in the late nineties we got invited to do stuff at the ICA and bars in Shoreditch etc. We formed Overlap and she learned a lot of the Adobe programmes very fast and we started to get paid to VJ, both loving the visual depth, luminosity and surprises that multilayering and keying threw up.
How would you define the difference between an AV set and a VJ set? Could you describe one of your set ups to us?
People I know who travel the world for major DJ acts are operating in a different world from small AV acts. There’s’ a big difference between doing multi screen VJing, with pre programmed triggered clips via midi, osc etc and mixing live on the fly, by feel. Ben Francis who does visuals for Calvin Harris, for example is taking code with BPM info etc, from the CDJ’s, but is also live mixing. Keeping the audio and imagery separate still seems to be an industry standard. The music driving the imagery, which makes sense in some ways, but is also strangely anachronistic. When we do an AV set we have married imagery to 8 bar loops, some elements are locked with time code if we’re using a separate music source, CDJ’s etc and some not, to make it more organic. Most AV performers drive Resolume with Ableton or code, or at least lock them. Unusually, we use Resolume a lot for sound.
AV shows can be done in so many ways. In the end it seems the content and the feel of what you’re doing is probably more important than how you’re doing it. How much do you want to do live – how much does the audience care how dexterous you are? DJ’s spend a lot of time dramatically illustrating that they’re turning a mixer knob, that appears to have the equivalent friction of pulling a ship back up a launching ramp, they haven’t got anything else visually to do. Where as, if you’re doing a multi 4 Bar loop AV set, five layers deep and you’re triggering them live, you’re busy with no time for the high friction mixer antics.
Recently we’ve been using performance tools like Resolume to create on as well as a performance tool. I tend to pick it up like a guitar and mess around, sometimes its a really useful ‘writing’ instrument too.
As a Barcelona resident, I can’t help but notice that you once had regular visual slots at Razzmatazz. Tell me more about that! How was the VJ scene in Barcelona back then? How is the scene in the UK these days?
This was VJ-ing with visual specialists/agency Microchunk , who were represented by William Morris, which meant we were well looked after. There was a core group of artists including Lady Pat, Mischa Ying, Ben Francis, Muthabored, Todd Graft and ourselves and we were lucky to perform and make installations everywhere from Norway’sHove festival, to Glastonbury. In Barcelona, we’d perform two nights, mainly at The Loft, Friday and Saturday from around 11pm till 6.30 in the morning, sometimes just Anna and I, but often other VJ’s. The local VJs were very gracious about us filling their slots. It was always full on at Razzmatazz, a really intense atmosphere. The club was always packed.We’re not really involved with the UK club scene at the moment, but friends who work for major acts seem to be far more controlled by a corporate plan.
You have both lived through a plethora of technological developments throughout your careers, starting with the use of VHS in your installations. What is your relationship with technology? Is it one of love and hate or it is a match made in heaven?
Anna and I are different generations – before I met Anna, I spent a lot of time blagging my way into analogue beta edit suites in Soho to make material – it was tricky, but looking back people were incredibly kind and helped me realise effecting footage shot on motorcycle trips with a clockwork Bolex. Anna and I started at the point of very low resolution VJ software – so we used hybrid mixtures of micro chapter DVD loops and Flash loops mixed with V4’s. I like the things that technology makes possible, but get frustrated with the art world tendency to think if you ‘paint ‘ with technology, that you should necessarily be using the very latest tech and trend. I enjoy mapping and responsive VR etc, but equally I like the confines of a rectangle and a painters vocabulary. Music doesn’t seem to have the same linearity, no one would think it odd playing a 1960’s Fender.
I enjoy mapping and responsive VR etc, but equally I like the confines of a rectangle and a painters vocabulary. Music doesn’t seem to have the same linearity, no one would think it odd playing a 1960’s Fender.
I notice that landscapes have been a recurring theme in your work, right up to your most recent project of Transitional Landscapes. What is it about landscapes as a subject that inspires you?
We all project memories and feelings onto our immediate surroundings. Landscape is a good genre to play with the relationship between still and moving imagery, the romantic v the analytical, the unveiling of narrative contrasted by the implicit ambiguities of painting (movies v fine art).
Mixing trees from around the world is strangely satisfying, they’re overlaying branches having a legitimacy. English copses with New World deserts keyed through wallpaper and fabric’s repeated motifs reference Richard Dadd’s The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke’s, heightened stillness, petrified trees and flattened nature, more tapestry than living environment. Then we can add other man made impositions, ghosts of utilities, power lines, imagined data paths, architectural plans, wiring diagrams and intimate blinking status LEDs. It seems to suite a first person view, apart from narrative.
What would be your advice be to young audiovisual enthusiasts who are keen to develop their careers in the industry?
Like the fine art world there are so many different strands of audiovisual arts. It will keep changing, entertainment will morph. How and what ‘artists’ do v creatives and ‘technicians’ etc is complicated. The EDM model was that music was the most important element – but now with performance more of an earner than record sales – maybe the creatives/technicians/, (not the artists) are the main act. To further confuse it all, AV is crossing over with fine art and stage design etc. So maybe listen to everyone and ignore them all.
Find out more about Overlap on their artist page
Born in the heart of the VJ boom in the 90s, after their own artistic experimentation, and Michael’s first ever (what we would call now) VJ gig in 1985, Michael Denton and Anna McCrickard formed Overlap in 1998. They are based in Hastings in the UK. Unlike some VJs, who purely focus on the visual side of the art form, Overlap are a an AV collaborative duo in the purest sense of the concept, who also produce minimalist music in parallel with their exploration of both moving and still image. They’ve also performed at many a festival, forming part of a collective of VJs represented by Microchunk.
Their work takes the form of live audiovisual performances, exhibitions, transitional paintings, installations, VJ sets and even prints, and takes on audiovisual culture from a fine art perspective, which makes their work both fascinating and unique in a wide variety of different contexts.
Overlap started VJ-ing and performing AV sets as regular guests of resident VJs Reality Check at Turnmill’s club (The Gallery, London Calling) in 1998, guesting with Reality Check at The Chemical Brothers’ headline set at Turnmill’s Millenium gig in London’s Docklands. The next decade saw Overlap’s visuals splashed across screens at major international festivals including Creamfields, Andalucia, Electric Picnic Ireland, Glastonbury’s Glade stage, Pete Tong’s Wonderland in Ibiza and Glastonbury’s Glade, as part of the Microchunk visuals boutique. They created visuals for for the Industrial Resolution installation at the first Manchester International Festival: performed live on the largest indoor screen in Europe, accompanying the world’s leading DJs including Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Laurent Garnier, Layo, Pete Tong and Sasha. Overlap also played regular VJ slots at Razzmatazz (Loft), Barcelona and Pete Tong’s Wonderland, Eden, Ibiza (Deadmau5, Groove Armada). Overlap were commissioned by Microchunk to animate Damien Hirst artwork for Pete Tong’s Ushuaia at Le Grand Bazaar, Ibiza in 2013.
Overlap also work with the Noise of Art collective as resident VJ-s and moving image artists. Their fine art single screen video works have been screened at the ICA, BFI and Tate Modern. Recent projects include:- a celebration of 100 Years of Electronic Music at the National Portrait Gallery London; Forest Tree limited edition for Sedition Art; audiovisual “painting” installations for the National Trust’s Fenton House and Calke Abbey; opening the Arquiteturas Film Festival in Lisbon with their Places that Dance AV set; short films “Returning” and “Switch” awarded special mentions at the Avanca and EMAF film festivals; an audiovisual performance in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Beijing. Recent art screenings/performances of their works have included Aquatint at Riders on the Mall/ROM, MUSZI, Budapest and Digital Graffiti, Florida, Forest Tree at STRP Biennale at Strijp S in Eindhoven and Cloud Edged at Light Fantastic, House of Nobleman, Frieze.
Perhaps one of the most poignant aspects of their audiovisual artwork is its accessibility and ability to be embraced and engaging in such an extensive mixture of spaces, including performances and installations everywhere from music festivals (Creamfields, Splice festival, Madatac, Fiber, Generate, Big Chill, STRP Biennale); and night clubs (Razzamatazz, Barcelona, Wonderland – Eden, Ibiza), to prestigious galleries (Tate Modern, Pompidou, National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum), as well as being featured in some important publications on VJ culture, such as Audio – Visual Art and VJ Culture (2006) They even remixed and VJed The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour film for its cinema première at the South Bank with Noise of Art at London’s BFI.
Their working process involves adding and removing layers, degrees of opportunism and systematised chance, creating generative combinations ranging from slow transitional paintings, to fast flowing AV performances.
Their most recent work includes Transitional Landscape, designed for exhibition and art installation, ‘Rooms’, which explores the relationship between indoors and outdoors, combining and fusing luscious wallpaper motifs with beautiful organic landscape scenes. It juxtaposes man-made life with that of the wonders of the natural world.
Find out more about their work here:
Bogotà, 13-23 February 2020
Bogotrax 2020 is a matrix. It is the multiple matrix of a mycelium. A constantly expanding network. Its flowers emerge whenever an encounter (between hyphae) happens.
That is the experiment: to interweave a network of partnerships where organizers and public, actors and spectators jointly participate in the production of social space.
Bogotrax Festival has been taking place in Bogotá, Colombia, for 10 years. From 2003 onward, during the month of February. Ten days of parties and workshops; talks, conferences, performances, activities in different locations, street parades, activities in different local prisons, exhibitions, graffiti, “raves”.
All this for free. Collectives and artists from different countries supported the festival with their participation.
The festival was never meant to promote brands nor it was funded by any institutions. The festival rebellious self-managing spirit led it to program the end of its first life cycle. Bogotrax restarted itself with a relevant topic: “Only in case of emergency.”
Berlin, January 24 – February 2 2020
CTM’s 21st edition launches with an announcement of new performances, special projects, and commissioned works.
Combining unique productions, concerts, and club nights with a dense daytime programme of talks, discussions, installations, and an exhibition, CTM 2020 proposes multiple entry points into thinking about this year’s Liminal theme.
Liminal phenomena and states are transitional phases in which a familiar order sees its values and symbols destabilised; norms are suspended or turned on their heads. We find ourselves in ambiguous spaces, somewhere between a past that is no longer valid and an ever-becoming future.
TM 2020 will again play out across some of Berlin’s most standout cultural and nightlife venues. For the first time, the festival hosts special projects at Radialsystem V and an immersive listening series at Silent Green’s Betonhalle, while continuing its close relationship with HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Festsaal Kreuzberg, and SchwuZ. A limited number of Early-bird Festival Passes are available now.
As always, CTM takes place parallel to and in collaboration with transmediale festival. The jointly organised Vorspiel 2020 Open Call is out now. Vorspiel will again bring together a wide range of Berlin-based artists, initiatives, and venues, hosting a city-wide programme of cultural events.
Moscow, 20-24 September 2019
The Circle of Light Moscow International Festival is an annual event where lighting designers and audiovisual artists from various countries reinvent the architecture of Moscow.
For a few days Moscow will turn into a universe of light while fascinating building projections will animate the streets and fantastic multimedia shows using light, flame, lasers and fireworks will shake the viewers to the core. As always admission to all festival venues is free.
THE ART VISION VIDEO MAPPING CONTEST RUNS UNDER THE AEGIS OF THE «CIRCLE OF LIGHT» FESTIVAL.
This year contestants from 35 countries joined the competition.
All entries will be projected onto iconic buildings in Moscow.
The organizer of the «Circle of Light» festival is the Department of Sport of Moscow. The coordinator of the festival is LBL Communication Group.
Circle of Light – Art Vision Contest
BARCELONA, 27-28 September 2019
The VISUAL BRASIL Festival will hold its seventeenth edition at Punt Multimedia. A dynamic center for multimedia projects and digital technologies, located in the Casa del Mig of the Parc de la Espanya Industrial de Barcelona.
Local and international artists will hold this meeting aimed at researching and experimenting within the Audiovisual arts: video art, mapping, audiovisual performances, workshops, installations, and VJs.
The event focuses on real time video production, the culture of free creation and new collaborative formats.
Visual Brasil is an independent project supported by several cultural entities and artists. VB fulfils thanks to the interests of the participating artists, whom are the core engine
Norbergfestival is a 20-year running festival, held on the abandoned iron mine site of Mimerlaven in Norberg, Sweden.
A growing group of artists presents contemporary music, performances, and interdisciplinary works. We make use of what the site provides and we sleep on the ground. We extract what we produce and leave the mine as it was left in 1981.
Norbergfestival brings experimental music and performing arts to the defunct mining site of Mimerlaven, centrally located in the small post-industrial town of Norberg, Västmanland, Sweden.
Three days a year, industrial concrete buildings transform into an international playground where festival visitors experience a multicolored spectrum of electronic music, sound art, and clubs. Norbergfestival offers a unique mixture of live electronic music at the spectacular location around Mimerlaven, an abandoned mining area in the small town of Norberg.
Since it’s inauguration in 1999, the festival has evolved from a utopian counter-cultural assembly to a national front-runner and internationally recognized platform for groundbreaking and unique musical experiences. Together with light and sound installations, workshops in the fields of audio and video and a friendly and creative atmosphere matched by none, this truly makes Norbergfestival one-of-a-kind.
In 17 years Norbergfestival has grown from being a utopian project for a handful of people into one of the most important annual events in the Scandinavian electronic music scene.
BARCELONA, November 05 – 09 2019
MIRA wants to bring the audience closer to several realms of artistic creativity through an event with two main objectives: to function as a platform for new creators as well as a showcase for world-renowned artists and to create unique immersive experiences through digital and technological innovation and the interlacing of live music and visuals.
MIRA is a digital arts festival based on three interconnected areas: exhibition, dissemination and education, and is held annually in Barcelona (since 2011) and Berlin (since 2016).
Focused on the intersection between arts and digital culture, the festival features a program comprised of audiovisual shows in both traditional and full dome formats, digital art installations, screenings, conferences, and workshops.
MIRA promotes artistic collaborations and boosts the creation of new projects, supporting the relationships between collectives, associations and artists from the fields of digital arts and technology. The associative and non-profit nature of the organization, aided by the participation of volunteers, guarantees that the results are reinvested in promoting digital culture in a sustainable way.
Fabra i Coats, Barcelona
C/ de Sant Adrià, 20
MONTRÉAL, 20-25 August 2019
MUTEK Montréal invites you to its 20th edition, running from August 20 to 25, 2019, with six days and nights of audiovisual performances, live electronic music and a full theatre of experiences that will push the boundaries of digital art and engage you in the playground that is our city.
This year, the festival week also integrates the 5th edition of MUTEK_IMG, a forum on current practices in digital creation, which runs three full days, from August 20 to 22. Covering mixed realities, artificial intelligence, and new iterations in audiovisual spectacle the event provides a high-level context for professionals, practitioners, researchers, and creative companies to reflect, exchange, and get inspired.
‘We live in an Ocean of Air’ is a virtual reality experience where the invisible connection between plant and human is revealed through breath. It was created by Marshmallow Laser Feast.
What happens is that the cutting-edge technology illuminates the invisible connections between the human and nature world. What you’ll see when the installation starts, is the giant Sequoia tree. You’re being transported into a world that’ll leave your jaw on the ground and eyes wide open- wanting to capture every detail you’re seeing. And as time passes, the scenery changes as well.
Breathe in and out and you’ll see you’re right in the installation. The color changes and you can even move it around as you breathe out. It’s done with breath and heart sensors that are tracking your real-time breathing and essentially put it in the virtual reality. Making it even more immersive than it already was.
It’s a magical world you’re stepping into and time will feel as none-existant.
The installation will embolden you to reflect on the reality that we, as human beings, aren’t the only thing on this planet. We share our planet with other organisms and it’ll make you cerebrate about the responsibility that we carry. And reflect on our dependence.
It is a great experience and it stays in your mind even when it’s over. Overwhelming and impressive! We need more installations like this.
AVC: Can you tell us something about yourself?
Mowgli: My first job out of school was DJ, I literally left school and I started working in a club fulltime as a DJ. One day I went to see my friend’s band play -they’re kind of a post-rock band- and he asked me after the gig what I thought about it and I thought it was great but it was quite boring to look at them. There was no frontman, and there’s no singer. They all just looked at the floor. They needed some visuals. And he said to me, “You do them”. And that was my first VJ’ing gig. That’s how I got into VJ’ing.
I mean, I’ve done visuals before but I never even thought it was a thing. I was just doing visuals with light projections but there was no VJ’ing. It was just ‘I’m putting a light projector in a club’. From there on I started to get into the VJ thing and I started doing visuals more and more. I started doing like corporate stuff and then I started coming to VJ London.
Suddenly it expanded and I realized that there were more and more people what I was doing and that it had a name. From there, in 2008, they did a VJ competition at the London International Music Show. Which happens every year. I was selected as one of the eight finalists of Europe for that. I didn’t win but it was a big thing at the time.
I played at the Big Chill festival. I play loads of festivals. Moving on from the VJ’ing, I started doing audiovisual performances. Which is what I do mostly nowadays. But I also started doing more interactive stuff. I had an award-winning installation at Burning Man, in 2011.
Marta: I’m a visual artist/ designer with a passion for performing arts. My artistic development has been initially shaped at The High School of Fine Arts in Krakow and later I mastered my skills in studying graphic design at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. I’ve got over 8 years of experience of creating video projections, mappings and LED installations for various music, arts, and events related projects. I’ve worked as a VJ at cyclical gigs in Krakow and London. During that time I collaborated with many musicians and artists from all around the world and I was a resident VJ at Prince of Wales, London.
Pete: I don’t think I consider myself a VJ anymore because I rarely do VJ’ing anymore for other people. I still love the culture and I believe that it’s something very important in my life, however, the last gig I did was like a half year ago in Brighton. It was a commercial gig and I completely hated it. Because basically, it was… I kind of forgot how the commercial part of VJ’ing looked like, so I was being asked to just show the logos. And people kept coming over to me that it was the wrong logo but they didn’t even bother me to give it to me before.
So I would say that a lot of stuff in my life happened because of the VJ’ing, but I don’t consider myself a VJ anymore.
AVC: What drew you into the AV culture?
Mowgli: I’ve always liked doing creative things but I’ve never had an agenda. I was never like ‘I wanna pursue that’. I’ve always been very open. So most of the things I’ve done, I’ve done because something’s happened. Something’s taken me down that road. But it wasn’t really a conscious thing most of the time. So getting a DJ job straight out of school, that was a complete coincidence. Like I used to go to this club with a friend of mine in Madrid, and it was a very niche club at that point in time. And then one day a DJ who worked there came over to us and said, “You two have got most of the records that we play here, right?” And we were like, “Yea, yea”. She told me that she wanted to go on a holiday but needed to find a replacement. She asked us to take over and we did. And she was never taken back by the club.
We basically stole her job. She gave us her job and then it was never given back to. But I never went out looking for that. It just happened. It’s the same with like doing VJ’ing. A friend of mine said, “Oh, you do it”. And then I was like, “Oh yea, I’ll do it”. And from then on, I mean that was the start really. With my friend saying that I should do it and then me getting more and more interested in it. And looking more into it and learning more things. Developing in that direction. And very involved in that use of technology.
Marta: In 2010, when I was living and studying in Krakow, I went to Jonsi’s concert during the Sacrum Profanum Festival. I didn’t expect that event to set a new direction in my life, I didn’t even plan to go there, it was very last minute, my friend gave me a spare ticket. I liked the concert a lot and I was absolutely amazed by the visual part of the show. Projection, lights, music and space, everything together was combined perfectly and it was a beautiful experience. I was so moved and inspired that at that moment I decided this is what I want to do in my life. In a very short time, I quit my job and I booked my first gig where I was going to do live visuals. It went pretty good and since then I worked as a VJ. I had a few other jobs in the meantime, but I never gave up my passion. I was lucky to meet many great people and we’ve done some awesome shows together. Three years ago I moved to London. I found the company that designed Jonsi’s live show that I saw in Krakow 8 years ago. It’s 59 Productions and another amazing part of this story is that now I work there.
Pete: Well, the thing is the VJ’ing is one thing and the audiovisual culture is some other thing. They’re not the same thing. They’re interconnected however, there are slight differences. Because for me it’s kind of the natural way of progressing from a purely visual side. Whilst to try to do audiovisual performances with people. Because I realized this is a powerful way of making people feel something.
However, my visual adventure started in coding. I was a programmer and I did graphics before it even was a thing and a name. I made the demos in 1996… 1998, I was sixteen back then. So that was my whole root of digital creativity. That’s where everything stems from. Because it kind of converted into the audiovisual performance group. They were playing the ambient music and I was playing the graphics. So my roots were actually in programming.
At the moment I mostly work as a creative developer. And I try to focus my activity on VR because I believe that is the next step forward. Because this is something that is the next level. You can not only the audio but also the visuals and movements, that gives you a very powerful storytelling opportunity.
AVC: What about your current and future projects?
Mowgli: I tend not to think about the future. As I said, I just go along and do things and keep evolving and suddenly… I’m easily distracted. I have millions of projects that I never finish. Like, I start something feeling excited, but halfway through I get excited by something else and pause the first one. And then sometimes I do go back to the previous things but not really finish them but utilize whatever state they’re in and doing something completely different. I recycle my stuff.
The thing I’ve been working on most in the last couple of years is an audiovisual synthesizer. Which sounds great but in reality it’s a mini-controller that’s mapped to both able in Live and Resolume. But I don’t need to look at the computer screen. It’s basically like a really big mini-controller with loads of sliders and stuff. And using that, I do audiovisual performances which are always improvised. It’s got generative visuals. And generative audio in a way. It’s about the interface. You just fiddle with the knobs and create visuals and audio at the same time. And I’ve been doing that for a while. So I’m starting to think I need to do a newer version of that. I got lots of ideas on how to make it better and whatever, so that’s one thing.
On the other side, I’m also getting more interested in doing just sound performances with no visuals. Because I’ve been getting more and more into them… I don’t want to call it music and call myself a musician. I don’t have enough musical training. I like making sounds.
It’s all just an exploration. Sometimes the stuff you stumble on and make is really bad and other times it’ll be really good. You just gotta roll with it.
Marta: Before joining 59 Productions I was working as a freelancer, mostly for music-related events, a huge part of that was live electronic music. My visuals were characterized by multiple dissolving and interfusing layers. With time, my work got more minimalistic and monochromatic.
I’m interested in creating interactive installations and audiovisual artworks that allows an audience to be a part of the performance, to experience sound, lights, and projections surrounding them. In order to achieve that I play with dimensions and visual perception, make projection seem 3-dimensional. I design shapes to project onto them or I use object and surfaces already existing in the space. My shows were never 100% planned, there was always lots of space for improvisation.
Currently, I am a part of a design team at 59 Productions– a company of artists creating video design for stage and live events. I assist with artwork and animation content for the show. Since joining 5 months ago I’ve worked on a variety of theatre, exhibition and VR projects, including an exhibition for Imperial War Museum in London, VR artwork ‘Nothing to be Written’ and ‘Deep Field’- a film inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope discovery. Most recently I was working on ‘Black and White’- a theatrical show produced by JACC in Kuwait. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know more about a narrative type of visual arts.
I’m looking forward to taking up new design challenges.
Pete: At the moment I’ve done some commercial projects for different companies. However, I have been getting more involved in tech. Because the big part of the whole audiovisual immersive business is knowing how to deal with tech. How to make tech do what you want them to do.
I found it really interesting to do this for a commercial purpose and reuse to my personal projects. So this year, because of my own personal circumstances, I was mostly focusing on commercial projects which might not have been that interesting. But one of the things I did this year that I want to continue with next year is an audiovisual look machine. That’s a project I’ve been doing for the last two-three years and with different people. We’re playing some events as well.
Hopefully, I’m going to reach a state where I go from software working progress and turn it into a hardware working instrument. And the other project is basically I want to explore more of the new technology with VR. With a new headset that’s cheap enough for people to buy it.
(edited 29.11.19 by Marta Minguell)
ROMA 29 November – 07 December
FOTONICA 3rd edition launches with new audiovisual projects of italian-based and international artists.
FOTONICA from photon, historically as light, from Greek φωτός (photòs), is a FREE festival that investigates art forms related to the light element, in particular, digital light. PHOTONICA wants to be a new project in a field where Rome has always been a reference, but today it suffers from the lack of an international event: the Audio Visual Arts.
Wants to be a project of the newborn roman network of organizations active in contemporary video audio to build a program that represents the various forms of expression: Audio Video Performances, Video Mappings, Light Installations, DJ-VJ Sets, NetArt, Workshops, and lectures.
The initiative is part of the program of Contemporaneamente Roma 2019 promoted by Roma Capitale, Assessorato alla Crescita Culturale and in collaboration with Siae. This 2019 will again play in the capital, specifically at Cinema Aquila in Pigneto area and at Fusolab 2.0 in Centocelle/Alessandrino in Rome.
FOTONICA is produced by Flyer communication, which in 2004 created the LPM Live Performers Meeting, the largest event in the industry. He came to his 18th edition, of which 11 in Rome and the others, thanks to the support of the European Community, Xalapa, Minsk, Mexico City, Cape Town, Eindhoven and Amsterdam. Since 2004, LPM has hosted more than 4600 artists, 2625 performances, workshops and showcases, with 72 participating countries and more than 1,500,000 visitors.
Microwave Festival began in 1996 as an annual video art festival of the local video art institution Videotage. As technology progressed and became more accessible, video art slowly evolved to involve other media; thus Microwave began to embrace the wider range of new media art. As the first and only art festival in Hong Kong dedicated to new media art, Microwave has steadily grown into a well-established festival that brings cutting-edge works to provoke thought in the technological hub every year.
In its 10th anniversary, Microwave Festival celebrated by becoming an independent organization, completed with a re-branding by design partner Milkxhake and a strengthened curatorial and working team. Microwave then continues the hard work to inspire Hong Kong and the rest of the world with pioneering media artworks selected to suit themes relevant to the society today, while also avidly supporting the exchange and dialogue between artists, professionals, and the general public.
They envision that through the Microwave network, Hong Kong artists will be introduced to international institutions and curators, working as a platform and gateway for them to develop their art and skills. Apart from the grand annual festival, Microwave also endeavors to nurture a rising local new media arts community, organizing various programmes such as educational workshops, seminars, forums, and exhibitions.
Mowgli has been passionate about all things creative since a very young age. He’s always painted and made things and he had the fortune of having DJ as his first ever job after finishing school. Mowgli graduated in Scientific and Natural History Illustration in 1996, a field in which he worked on a freelance basis for a short time.
Since then he had worked using a vast range of media. He completed an apprenticeship in the ancient crafts of Cordoban and Guadameci in 1997 after which he worked for Arte 2 on interior design projects incorporating the craft while also co-founding MIX, a Madrid based workshop and shop specialized in the upcycling of furniture and decorative objects, an endeavor that was way ahead of its time as the term “upcycling” wasn’t even in use then.
Mowgli started Vjing in 2004 alongside the band Detwiije, this led to more VJ gigs and visual creation for world-class artists and festivals including Above & Beyond, Astrix, Roisin Murphy, Infected Mushroom and Greg Wilson. He was classed amongst the top 8 European VJs in 2008 at the London International Music Show.
Soon after and as a natural progression from Vjing, Mowgli developed an interest in audiovisual performance which he’s been developing since 2010 when the show MAYA was created with producer Silverio Funk. It was premiered at the BFI Southbank as part of Dark Fibre and has since been performed at several venues in London and Rome. During this time he also developed a piece for the Musion holographic projection system which was screened at Kinetika Art Fair in London.
Throughout his career, he’s been involved in organizing and promoting various music and arts events including Stylistik, Sound on Vision, The Nozzle and AV Depot while also being a director of VJ London, a community-focused monthly event dedicated to the diffusion of audiovisual and technology based art forms.
Marta Radecka is a visual artist, VJ, surface pattern designer, graphic designer and an illustrator. Her artistic development has been initially shaped in an Art College and later she mastered my skills studying graphic design at university.
Marta creates video projections, mappings and LED installations for audiovisual performances, concerts or live DJ sets. She is a VJ at recurring gigs in Krakow and London. For her the starting point of any creative concept is always music.
She uses her own drawings, graphics and animations to design unique loops. Her artistic creations are characterised by multiple dissolving and intertwining layers and monochrome colour palette. Her live shows are never 100% planned; there is always lots of space for improvisation. She was born in Poland, currently live in London.
L’Aubaine started performing live visuals in 2005 while studying a master in Digital Arts in Barcelona. From her study, she got interested in real-time performances and exploring different forms of narrative.
All elements she uses in her work are self-produced, mixing different techniques, analog and digital, as hand-drawn animations, 2D and 3D animations, graphical elements, photography, and videos. Her creations have that handmade feel, imperfect, bold and very colorful. Laurie crafted her unique style over the years by superimposing layers, interlinking shapes, and colors, mixing elements from different techniques in an unusual and elegant way.
Her VJ sets are evolving compositions, audio-reactive, created live and flowing with the crowd and the music. Each set never look the same, she shares emotions, playfulness and she feels like a painter and his canvas. She is since 2015, part of VJ London, organizing monthly meet-up & showcase and bigger events with interactive installations and AV performances with artists based in the London area and international.
‘Interference’ literally means meddling, intervention, disturbance.
Interference Festival 2018 – 5th Festival of Visual Communication, it’s a one-of-a-kind event in the Pomeranian District which the main target is to popularize visual arts. The festival is focused on international short visual forms’ overview and on the Contest ‘Freedom of Form’ which the main aim is to emerge the best artists in categories Found Footage, Music Video, Creative Advertising Piece, and Experimental Short Visual Form
Visuals, music videos, teasers, creative advertising forms, jingles and video art, experiments on the border of art – that is what you’ll see during one of the most interesting events of the kind in Central Europe. Interference Festival equals a new, unconventional form of the open-minded festival in which one the most important aim is to discover and to look for the best video avant-garde artists.
Last but not least, there is VJ Battle coming during which the best 8 Vjs will compete on the screen. The main festival points during the fifth edition of the festival will be at the Academy of Fine Arts, Pionowa Gallery, and the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre.
This is how it all went down.
The article about our time at SIGNAL is here.
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