This has been my third Tourna thus far, not including the two tournaments that were held in Geneva during the Mapping Festival editions 2009 and 2010. My first experience with a VJ tournament, VJ Tourna Budapest 2008, was a revelation. I had very low expectations in a field that I thought, for the most part, was more community oriented and not about being competative. What made me change my mind about VJ tournaments or battles is what such an event demonstrates: what exactly consitutes the act of VJ’ing.
Our most recent Tourna was in Sao Paolo, Brazil. We were flattened and flattered by the energy of this young and energetic community. 50 VJ’s battling for the top 3 titles. Even as people were elminated, the majority of the participants were there to watch the drama unfold. I heard from one of the contestants that in the days leading up to the tournament the VJ’s from out of town would stay in their rooms working and playfully shouting insults at each other.
Of the group mentioned above there were a handful in Budapest. VJ Victor Robson, the winner of the tournament in Brazil came to try and retain the title, Erms with his live video feed mask dancing and his images of sexy inuendo, Rodrigo Saba with a darth vader like mask that barely hides his enthusiasm for VJ’ing and life in general, etc…
For me the highlight of VJ Tourna Budapest 2010 was the final deliberation. The numbers added up to Erms assuming the titles of VJ Champion and VJ Battle Champion. While the numbers from the jury voting stated that the top title was his, there were dissenting voices that felt that the work of VJ Victor Robson deserved recognition, as his work made serious attempts at transcending the VJ medium by incorportating clear and simple messages about monetary values. The example that moved us was a simple switching of two clips, the first of a rotating diamond and that of a person searching for diamonds, kneed deep in muddy water.
It was decided in the end that Erms should receive the title of VJ Champion, the big prize: flight and accommodation for the next Tourna that will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, and Victor Robson the title of VJ Battle Champion. The reason for this decision was to make a statement. Overall performance should be matched with the abillity to communicate ideas. The third place was clearly settled on the Hungarian contender Exlex. Also of mention was VJ Chico and the special award went to Rodrigo Saba for sheer enthusiasm.
While the overall quality of the work at VJ Tourna Budapest 2010 was not as solid and strong a showing as what inspired me back in 2008, the back story is that there were 3 editions prior to our attendance that year where the VJ’s and been coached via commentary by the jury. We had witnessed the product. In contrast, the now growing community of VJ’s from Brazil is relatively new. The work of fostering this new and highly energized community has just begun and I very much look forward to assisting, guiding and witnessing its evolution.