DEADLINE: August 3rd 2020 (inclusive)
Event: 8-11 October 2020, Vienna
Punto y Raya Festival, the “most abstract in the world”, launches its NINTH international Call for Entries open to Short Films built up ENTIRELY with non-representational imagery. Only Dots & Lines as ends in themselves!
Authors are invited to focus on the expressiveness of audiovisual art in its purest state: Colour, Form, Motion, Sound. Participation is FREE and the films can be submitted ONLINE.
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
One year more, Llum BCN Festival, has left us exhausted because of attending all the installations, but at the same time has left us amazed at the hard work of many artists that could transform their effort into beautiful light artwork pieces in the space.
On February 14th, 15th and 16th, artists transformed Poblenou in Barcelona into an experimentation between light, movement, and virtual reality, challenging the limits of our own perceptions. We found major names in the international scene such as United Visual Artists, Ouchhh, Luke Jerram, Antoni Varola, as well as artists from the national scene such as Monica Rikic, Anna Carreras, Diego Suarez, to mention just few of the twenty three artists participating in Llum BCN Festival 2020.
We will show you just few of all the installations that impacted us. We think it’s a good experience because it allows you to connect with Barcelona in another way, through light, digital technology and moving images being part of the cityscape without being at the service of its exploitation.
The installation “Fiat Lux” by Antoni Arola made us walk around in circles for a long time, in a contrast of a warm and cold environment composed by geometric sculptures made by lasers and smoke. It was like a theatre play, where we were the actors, as he desired.
The installation “Musica Universalis” by United Visual Artists, an imposing choreography of movement, light and sound that is inspired by the mechanics of celestial objects. We could perceive the light and the absence of light at the same time – it was surprising.
“Persopectiva” by SUMMALAB was an installation from “OFF LLum” inspired in the paintings of the artist Josef Albers. Pictorial pieces that play with the chromatic range to create a sense of depth. The students of the master of Audiovisual Innovation and Interactive Environments at BAU University, had the opportunity to help in the process of construction and we could see awesome results.
Another installation that captivated us because of the approach of playing with light and materials to create compositions in the space was “Instantes cromáticos”by Maurici Ginés in OFF Llum BCN.
But these are just few of all the moments we enjoyed getting immersed in the space, perceiving light, sound and movement from different unique perspectives. We look forward to attending again next year.
We couldn’t miss this retrospective exhibition about the father of Video Art and one of the main references in the history of art for Audiovisual experimentation.
More than 200 artworks ranging from TV screens, to robots, video walls and immersive installations. A must-go event meticulously curated by the Tate to give insight into the work of this game-changing artist and researcher.
The first thing that strikes in Paik’s work is his playfulness. No matter what device he uses, the outcome is always lighthearted and pervaded by a witty sense of humor.
His personal relationship with technology has always featured curiosity and optimism. In TV Garden he creates a surreal immersive environment where TV screens and plants aesthetically coexist harmoniously, although weirdly.
His attitude shows a deep connection with Buddhist philosophy. TV Buddha clearly states this. With Buddha watching the TV and watching himself at the same time, he helps us to realise that our body merges with the nature in the same way it merges with technology. One is all and all is one.
Paik embraces chaos and technology all together in his Zen driven artistic experimentation. In his Robots, wires, pins, knobs, every component is well exposed in his fascinating ironic mess. Paik’s playful approach intends to humanize technology bringing it closer to the people, easier to grasp and easier to intervene.
Paik manipulates analog technology not only for aesthetic purposes but also as a political act. His anarchist artistic experimentation counteracts the consumerism driven by the mass manipulation through the TV.
Audiovisual City top picks of Paik’s expo are undoubtedly the two spectacularly immersive installations: Video Wall and Sistine Chapel.
Video Wall is a mesmerizing live collage of multiple video feeds. It strongly communicates the instability of perception and lack of focus in the mass media world.
Our eyes restlessly bounce within the video space from one feed to the other. Only after thorough observation we realize each image is linked up with its surrounding revealing the artistic and rhythmic pattern of the artwork. Only going through these steps we manage to embrace the multiple inputs as one video totem.
The Sistine Chapel is a stunningly sumptuous Audiovisual feast. It’s a large-scale installation made by 40 video projectors exhibited in plain sight in the centre of the room as if they were musical instruments.
This baroque multi-projection is a pioneering experiment of video mapping. As it’s really hard to focus on the single video feeds, the viewer is lead to appreciate the overall immersive AVscape created by this chaotically symphonic orchestra.
Artistic expression and technological experimentation bound together and filled with Nam June Paik’s refined sense of humor. Art that speaks to everyone that has ears and eyes for it!
The post Exploring the art of the VJ pioneer: Nam June Paik @Tate Modern appeared first on Audiovisualcity.
The third act of the triology of Lapsus Festival 2019 welcomed Cuzanne Ciani, a pioneer of sound design and electronic music, pianist and powerful creative mind who opened the way to many other female artists.
Lapsus is the sixth edition and is divided into three special events. After ACT 1 in which the sounds of the Eastern Europe were explored through the collaboration with Unsound Festival in Poland; ACT 2, with multidimensional sounds of Moritz Von Oswald and Pina; and ACT 3, by the title of A Sonic Womb, a journey through the powerful beginnings of female electronic music.
In ACT 3, A Sonic Womb took place in CCCB with the performances of Suzanne Ciani and Eva Geist. Also Philip Sherburne talked with Suzanne Ciani about her life experience in the field and there was a projection “Circle of Light” by Anthony Roland with the soundtrack of Delia Derbyshire and Elsa Stansfield. This edition explored the beginnings of women in electronic music thanks to the immersive sound environment designed by Intorno Labs. In the night, more artists performed at LAUT.
EVA GEIST (Live)
Geist is a Vocalist, Songwriter, Composer, Synthesist and Sound Designer. She invited us through a cinematographic musical journey with peculiar melodies, warm rhythms and atmospheres with space disco – since 2016, Andrea Noce has been buliding recognised and respected work in the electronic music scene, publishing her work on record labels such as Macadam Mambo, Hivern Discs and Elestial Sound.
SUZANNE CIANI (Live)
After 40 years of professional trajectory, she has been nominated five times in Grammy awards, and her work has been important to understand the beginnings of the synth music. In her show at Lapsus she brought an exclusive performance with the modular synthesizer Buchla 200e.
Circle of Light (Projection)
This project is a film in colour of 32 minutes directed by Anthony Roland and developed through the photographic material of Pamela Bone. The soundtrack was signed by Delia Derbyshire and Elsa Stansfield. The composers had ideas that were innovative in their times.
Infinite Waves (Conversation between Suzanne Ciani and Philip Sherburne)
The well-known Philip Sherburne (Pitchfork, The Guardian) interviewed the American producer Suzanne Ciani at CCCB. Both talked about the professional career of Ciani, and of the female on the electronic scene in the 70s until the present day.
After attending ACT 3 of Lapsus Festival, with Audiovisual City, we felt kind of inspired and proud of Suzzane Ciani, a strong and brave woman who fought to work for what she loves doing despite the cultural circumstances of the moment. We also felt proud of Eva Geist, who made us dance and enjoy her incredibly special rhythms. In general, the work of the artists in this edition was impressive.
After seeing Shoeg’s project Infiltrate at LEV Matadero, we decided to catch up with him in Barcelona to find out more about his work, and to try and decipher the fascinating performance we saw that intrigued us to discover what technologies he uses to create his live AV shows.
Primarily I understand, you would consider yourself to be a musician, am I right? Or how would you label yourself? When did you decide to experiment with the A/V side of your show?
In the last years I’ve changed that way of seeing myself, so I would say I’m an artist. It’s not only sound anymore, I feel really that I am trying to express myself also through my code, my visual stuff, even my movements. I’m also collaborating with dance companies, where it is quite important to know how you move on stage, and this made me aware of that. So, for example I try to play without the table and computer blocking the visual line to the audience. I have also changed my relationship with sound, focusing more on textured layers instead of pitch.
I started as a “musician”, but my visual side has been always there. I’ve been working for 15 years as a video editor, and I always had this fascination about image and sound synchronicity and feedback.
Have you created the visual part of the show yourself or collaborated with a visual artist? (If so, who and why?) If not, tell us about how you developed the project and any challenges you faced in dealing with both elements of the performance.
I almost always create my own stuff. I’m not closed to collaborating with other people, but I tried to involve other artists in the past and for a reason it almost never happened, except for when I worked at the very beginning on the project with Ana Drucker, but after that I spent 2-3 years without a visual show, and I was really missing it. At some point, I wanted it back and I decided I had to refresh my coding knowledge to achieve what I wanted. I studied Computer Science for a couple of years, so at least I had a starting point – more or less.
I wanted to build a real time reactive visual system, that could be completely autonomous in a live set. The idea was to set up a bunch of rules, and do something sound reactive that could last 45 minutes in a live set without getting boring. So first challenge in this process was choosing which tools suited my needs the better. I tried, for example, Open Frameworks, which was a bit too complicated for my coding skills. Later, I knew about game engines like Unreal or Unity, which are free and you can do a lot of things scripting, easier to code. It’s also great to have this good amount of documentation and works done by other people online. I’m curious now about what Touch Designer can do, but for the moment Unity allows me to have a precise control of what I need.
On the other hand, I wanted to work with objects from the real world in 3D aesthetics. I could model them with Blender, but I have no idea. So I learned some 3D techniques, like photogrammetry or 3D scanning. I remember wanting something more “perfect”, but discovered almost by accident the beautiful imperfections this techniques introduce in the models.
We recently saw your performance of your latest project ‘Infiltrate’ at LEV Matadero. What tools and set up are you using for the show?
All the sound was generated using a couple of Etee sensors that the guys at Tangi0 lent me for a couple of months. These devices capture my hand and finger motion, as well as pressure data, and that is converted into MIDI signal through a Max MSP patch. Finally, MIDI is sent to the Virus and Digitakt. I had to bring hardware synths to the live sets, because I need a lot of polyphony to build these big layers of sound, and I couldn’t achieve it in virtual synths. Then, the visual stuff is a Unity app reacts to the sound mix.
How does the use of this technology improve, or add to the quality and experience of your show for you, as an artist?
It allows to express myself in ways I could’ve never imagined. I’ve never performed as comfortable and with wide palette of possibilities with an instrument until I discovered motion sensors combined with the computer. The ability to map any behaviour to any response allows you to optimize your abilities in order to get what you want. This can’t ever happen with “traditional” instruments, you have to adapt to the instrument rigidness and background. I also see the coding process as a prosthesis, an extension able to repeat mechanical operations while you pierce through them.
What does the future hold for Shoeg in the world of live performance?
In the near future, I have to improve a lot of things: I want to make my hands more prominent on stage and be less computer dependent. People keep asking what is happening with the sensors, and I want to make it a bit more understandable. I also have this long list of ideas to code which don’t have time to make, and I would also like to collaborate with other people. But before that, I want to record a new album. I hope I’ll be able to work on it in the next months.
You can find out more about Shoeg’s work through his artist page.
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The past week, 5th – 9th November, MIRA FESTIVAL celebrated its 9th Edition and Audiovisual City were present to enjoy the program that featured audiovisual shows, 360-degree experiences in DOME format, installations, workshops and conferences.
This edition rethought the combination of art and technology as tools of protest, to turn thinking into action, and invited us to interfere in a personal transformation to trigger a change in the future. In addition to this ingenious theme, the festival opened a new stage at Fabra i Coats, dedicated to multidimensional sound: the 3D Sound Room by Estrella Galicia.
For the live AV shows, we want to highlight some well-known artists that MIRA festival brought this year. Thursday Sam Shepert (AKA Floating Points) played accompanied by the visuals of Hammill Industries. Friday’s Av highlight was CLARK feat. Evelyn Bencicova and her show of a wide gamma of textures along with his characteristic techno. Alessandro Cortini also produced some emotional content through electronic sounds, with his warm and human visuals. On Saturday Biosphere performed a series of recordings and improvisations captured outdoors on the island of Senja, and Vessel and Pedro Maia presented the dualities of the human condition. But these are just some of the many artists who participated in this edition.
Some of the artists that surprised us at Audiovisual City were, on Friday, the Nihiloxica band, with their intercultural experiment, fusing the indigenous Bugandina percussion with dark European club music. Also, on Saturday, the duet of 700 Bliss, with who you clearly see a relationship with the theme of the festival, sounds and words are embodied in suffering and social alignment in an unfair world. And finally, Curl, on Saturday, where we could see an unexpected turn in the style of the band, showing a previous experimental work. The originality and strength of these artists left us astonished.
We show you some of the magical moments that we captured at the festival.
Fascinated by music, video, photo, and film- I dive into everything regarding audiovisual that interests me or sparks my interest. Same thing.
Social media is amazing, it is a way to connect and speak to people all over the world. One image can go through so many countries. It’s fascinating!
Earlier this month, we met with Marta Verde to find out about her performance with Tensal at LEV Matadero, and to pick her brains about all those niggling little questions we had after following her career for the last few years.
Who are the artists that you are most looking forward to seeing at LEV Matadero?
Myriam Bleau and Ryoichi Kurokawa.
How were you contacted about the project at LEV Festival?
They called me and proposed that I collaborate with Tensal for their edition at Matadero in Madrid. I had never worked with him before.
Do you ever find that some genres of music just don’t inspire your work?
Absolutely. In general I don’t work on the clubbing, or nightlife scene, so related styles of music wouldn’t be my first choice of project. I actually started doing visuals with traditional Galician music.
Do friends often come to see your performances?
Yes, it depends on the performance. These days they tend to film me in vertical, so I rarely have content that I can use other than for Instagram [she laughs]
How do you feel about being on stage as a visual artist?
I don’t really like that part at all, but of course it’s part of the job. I’m quit shy, really. My show at LEV Matadero is quite different from what I usually do – in terms of music genre, as well as the time of the performance – pretty late, since I’m on at 1am.
What is the most unusual project are you’ve worked on in your career so far?
A few years ago I worked on a project with a musician called Julián Elvira who built a flute that played different frequencies (I had no idea that this wasn’t already the case with flutes!) It was really interesting, because I learnt a lot about music and we were able to work very closely together for the collaboration. We premiered the show in Martin E. Segal Theatre, New York.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I’m working on a live performance with Madrid-based composer, José Venditti. He plays saxophone, and works on deconstructing sound through classical patterns.
What set-up will you be using for your performance tonight?
A couple of months ago I bought an analogue video synthesizer from LZX Industries. It’s really fun. There’s no preview, so anything can happen, and I also can’t save any presets. I also won’t be using any code for this show, which is very unusual for me. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of analogue video techniques, and don’t really understand why people go to great lengths to copy the aesthetic digitally, when they could just try to get a real one.
Do you use social media a lot to promote your work?
You can follow me if you like, my instagram account is mainly dominated by photos of my cat and screenshots of my work. I don’t really get work through social media channels, people tend to contact me directly. The work is really interesting and every project is completely different. Usually I’m presented with some kind of problem and I find ways to solve it.
Apart from doing visual performances, you are currently working at a Fab Lab, right?
It’s very common for freelancers to supplement their work through teaching, which I love. I find it really motivational and inspiring to work with young people and their ideas. I used to work as a coordinator in a Fab Lab, and I still give classes on programming and digital manufacturing there, but not on a regular basis anymore. I tend to work in different locations and on a more ad-hoc basis, that way I can combine teaching with my own projects.
If you want to read more about Marta’s work, you can check her artist profile page here.
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This week, we caught up with Huma about his most recent project ‘Eva,’ to find out a little more about how his musical project developed into a live AV show. Huma is Andrés Satué’s personal project, an evolution from his early musical days in a rock band to his more recent progression into the world of electronic music. He’ll be performing ‘Eva’ at Mira Festival, Fabra i Coats, Barcelona, Thursday 7th November
Tell us a bit about the visual side of your show. What can the audience expect in terms of live A/V performance?
The idea is to treat light from a 3D environment by making the light beams coincide, forming geometric figures in motion in the air.
Have your created the visual part of the show yourself or collaborated with a visual artist? (If so, who and why?) If not, tell us about how you developed the project and any challenges you faced in dealing with both elements of the performance.
I’m working with Jose Vaaliña from Eyesberg studio. It was a very natural collaboration, we met after finishing two gigs I did in Barcelona and we talked about the possibility of working together as we have very similar ideas about the relation between music and visuals, now it’s happening and I can say we are both really happy with the results.
What tools and set up are you using for the show?
We are using 5 powerful projectors, various smoke machines (fog and hazer) and also some visuals. The beams of light will react to sound to create a symbiosis between both. Also we will use some lights and strobes for punctual moments.
How do you feel about the importance of the visual experience in your projects past and present?
It is something I have always thought about as a very important element. Even when I played in rock bands lots of years ago we always carried a few lights to add impact to the final part of the show.
Since I’m working as Huma, I collaborated with Drömnu using visuals at the very beginning, then moved to colorful L.E.D.s, smoke and strobes working with Juan Pablo Larrazabal and now I wanted to try new things and Jose appeared. I like the idea of doing something immersive, not something that you have to look at the detail or that can distract the public but something that will enhance the music.
You’ve been making music for more than 10 years now. What is the project that you are most proud of, or have the most attachment to so far?
Well, I’m always more attached to the last thing I’ve ever done. Even though I really think that ‘Eva’ and this show is the project in which I have worked the most on and the project I’m the proudest of to date.
Got any questions for Andrés, Eyesberg, or just want to share anything with us? Jot down your thoughts below
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Presentation of the 10th Edition
After taking 2 years to convince Mutek Montreal, Mutek Barcelona was eventually launched as the first unique satellite of the International Digital Arts festival based in Europe in 2009. 10 years later, they provide Spain with one of the main references in audiovisual performance and digital arts in the format of a 4-day festival, with a wide variety of shows and venues.
Nonotak studio ‘Zero Point Two’
Nonotak studio, formed of two young creatives, Noemi Schipfer (FR) and the architect musician Takami Nakamoto (JP). They work together to create experimental audiovisual light installations that mesmerize audiences. At Roca Gallery, Takami explained how they project blue light onto yellow fibre optics in order to create the purest possible visible white light in an audiovisual experience. Usually the installation is covered from above, but on this occasion, they were so surprised by the way it combined with the venue that they left it uncovered, allowing us to experience the installation in a whole new light, literally.
Microfeel ‘Fractal Synethesia’
Microfeel (ES/AR) well known on the local scene as multimedia artist Sebastian Seifert, dazzled us with his latest project ‘FRACTAL SYNESTHESIA.’ Sebastian leaves audiences looking for the visual artist only to discover that Microfeel is a one man band, where Sebastian simultaneously projects and performs in an extremely colourful, psychedelic live A/V show. This year he gave it more energy than ever, making it pretty tricky to photograph the artist still in any moment. His performance filled the room with energy.
Article by Hayley Cantor
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‘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.
AV Link Jam / BYOB was organized by Crux, the hub for learning, experimenting, collaborating and entertaining, on Thursday, November 15th, 2018. It was their second edition and free for everyone who wanted to join.
When you entered the space, it all seemed very open and chill. People were drinking beer, talking to each other, walking around and admiring the people’s work. Almost every wall had a beamer projection on it. It was very diverse which made it refreshing. You weren’t looking at the same thing at every wall. Every minute it’d change so even if you’d be watching the same projection, you wouldn’t look at a video that was on a loop.
Because it was a free event, the genuinely passionate artists show up. It looked like a community, people know each other and talk about the same topic. When you would talk to the artists about their projection, you could see the fierce enthusiasm they had for it.
The soundtrack worked really well with the atmosphere. Many different things were going on at the same time but the music helped to keep you focused.
All and all, it was quite mesmerizing and hypnotic. It kept your eyes stuck on the all the projects you were seeing. It all moved fast, had bright colors, and had recurring movements. It’s a very fun night where you can chat and check out new and different artists. A good concept!
I studied art and architecture at The Technical University in Liberec. Students of my generation were influenced by conceptual artist Stanislav Zippe. Maybe for this reason, I try to combine architecture and multimedia in my work. Therefore, we have established two platforms that work in synergy Kolmo.eu and Loom on the Moon.com
We have recently worked on an audiovisual representation of historical topics for various museums and installations. We find challenging to use contemporary visual language to speak about events and moments in our distant and recent history. It is not our only focus, yet it is a territory we have been exploring for a couple years now. We do not look in the past scenes as into the hermetic events which do not have any correlation with lives we have today. We rather pick out those which do have relevance to today in our view.
Memory of the Nations is the organization focused on collecting of testimonies. It is a wide archive (7000 people recorded up to date) of subjective views on past events. The phenomenon of subjectivity was very attractive to us as it’s in contradiction with mainstream explanation of history. We, in collaboration with Pink productions (coauthors of the exhibition), have tried to avoid black and white viewpoint, therefore, we have focused on situations in which the human rights or human dignity were most violated. In those darkest places we could find bravery, humanity, and characters with strong moral principles.
We feel that everyone is tired by straightforward information oriented rhetoric, for that reason we have split the installation into two main parts. Almost like the two halves of the brain, one-half emotional and subconscious and the other narrative and rational.
It was challenging to cover such a long historical period of 100 years so we highlighted two totalitarian periods our nation underwent during this time. It is important for us to keep these past atrophies on the display so the public could be on guard when politics start to go wrong. Somehow the recent rise of populists and post fact demagogues in the world makes us believe that such an ambition is more relevant than ever.
When I returned back to the Czech Republic from Netherlands where I had lived for 5 years, I noticed that Prague scene around film, animation, and multimedia is full of skilled people who were great to work with. For that reason, I have been trying to promote this field abroad. It is fun to work with these people on some projects in Singapore or Hong Kong or elsewhere and bring our sensitivity, skills, and improvisation to the table.
SIGNAL festival invited us to come to the festival in Prague which was on the 11th until the 14th of October, 2018. We are very grateful to have been invited and that they have taken such good care of us.
SIGNAL is a relatively young festival but made a huge impact on the audiovisual culture since the very beginning. It has a great offer of video mapping, interactive installations, and generative art. The last edition attracted around 600.000 people.
Every year, SIGNAL puts together an audiovisual journey across the beautiful backdrop that is the city of Prague. It gives the chance to locals and international visitors to really discover the city under a new light.
This is what we saw during our visit.
Event feature here.
Rococo is a totem made of 124 projectors shooting light beams. As soon as viewers step in, they are bombarded by powerful audiovisual inputs transforming the beautiful ‘Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace’ in an ever-changing space. The surrounding soundtrack makes you progressively forget where you are, bringing you in a captivating trance as you stare at the beams.
An impressive use of video mapping projection to document amongst the darkest moments in the last one hundred years of European history. Avoiding the spectacularization, ‘Memory of the Nation‘ enthralled the viewers, thanks to clever use of real video and audio footage
3dsense offered an impressive projection with two synchronized screens. It showed a creatively put and well-thought-out black hole’s gravitational field in the universe. That mixed with an intense soundtrack displayed a complex unity that immerses you into the piece.
A wonderful piece of interaction design, where the users had the chance to create their own lighting performance by the simple motion of their hands. Highly involving and easy to approach. It created an instant connection with the audience and the art.
_STROY is a multi-creative studio based in the Czech Republic. In their pioneering project, they combine graffiti with video mapping and sound art. Aesthetically astounding and captivating, they’re taking video mapping to a whole new level.
Quite new to the scene, the AV collective Hotaru Visual Guerrilla managed to capture the viewers’ senses from the first instant. An amazing 3D video mapping, dragging us in a future world where microorganism, bioforms, breathes and expands from the façade of the surrounding space. A must-see in the audiovisual culture.
Hyperbinary proposed a very mature and cutting-edge video mapping made of pure lights. The building Kooperative has been animated from the inside instead of being projected on it using LED strips. A thoughtful investigation about how particles are set in motion and spread across the space creating energy. The result is a calm and monumental wave.
On the Church of St. Ludmila Ruestungsschmie.de delivered a video mapping masterpiece, empowered by a stunning sound design. Every single element of the façade comes alive under the audiovisual thunderstorm. Our senses are constantly tickled and moved restlessly following the projective narrative across the service.
‘Watch 2,1/18’ is an ambitious and innovative art piece picturing a dystopian future under constant surveillance. The immersive installation used moving lights across the Vinohrady square to track the viewers. Microphones recorded their sounds to eventually combine them with an eerie soundtrack. No matter where you moved, you were always watched.
Simona Chládková & Matyáš Skalický
Simona and Matyáš are two students of ‘the Czech Technical University’. They created an LED interactive gateway connecting the train station to their university. Enjoyable and effective. We hope to see more from these young and upcoming artists.
Organik triggers an intense dialogue between new media, art, music, and architecture, in the beautiful Salvator church. The gothic constructive elements are gradually revealed and enhanced by the moving lights, while the compelling music from the organ surrounds the viewers. Our senses are fully absorbed in this powerful audiovisual symphony.
Future Ruins, a beautifully crafted video mapping dialoguing with the LED installations which decomposes the architectural elements of the Neo-Romanesque church of St. Cyril and Methodius.
Ruins of a dystopian future lie upon us and come back to life through the use of lights and video mapping.
An interactive installation with mirrors following the viewers, bouncing their reflection across the space together with the beautiful decorations of the ‘Mirror Chapel’.
A buoyant interactive piece immediately connects with the audience of all ages and backgrounds.
An interactive simulation that shows the sea life under a microscope. It’s a never-ending generative art project.
An interesting representation of the natural elements using new media. A piece with stormy clouds made of foam, lights, and sounds.
An overall high quality and several innovative art pieces, setting new trends and standards in audiovisual culture. Congratulations to the organizers and see you next year!
This is how it all went down.
The article about our time at SIGNAL is here.
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This is how it all went down.
The article about our time at SIGNAL is here.
We look forward to visual treats at Barcelona’s ever-growing digital arts festival, Mira. Hosted at the old fabric factory in the Sant Andreu district of Barcelona, Fabra i Coats is the venue of dreams for many festival goers and organisers. Each year, we’ve seen the gradual addition of a full dome experience, more and more live visual performances and installations, with this year including an impressive new media art exhibition to get the old brain cogs turning. Let’s leave the work to speak for itself. We present you with our summary of our Mira experience of the Friday night at the festival in form of a photographic journey through new media art time and space…
Mira Dome by Adidas Originals
“Extraordinary Alien” by Fatima Al Aqdiri & Transforma
The Search for (Modern) Pleasure (Exhibition, various artists)
Keiken, Nati Cerutti, AGF Hydra, Suzanah Pettigrew and George Jasper Stone: Digital Pleasures
Visual orgasms – Faith Holland
Filip Custic – Cuadro Virtual
Esmay Wagemans – New Humanity
Carlos Sáez – Hardware Fetish
Field – Scan I-IV Collection courtesy of Sedition
Tangerine Dream (Live A/V)
Interactive lighting system using Cinema 4D – 3D sound room by Tigrelab
Call super (DJ set) with Natalia Stuyk (VJ Set)
All photos copyright Hayley Cantor
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