B-Seite2010 from pixelschubser on Vimeo. It is probably a bit too soon to start thinking about Spring. But it is never too late to find reasons to get together with your peers and present the work you have been toiling away at. After a one year hiatus, My friend Benjamin Jantzen has been working hard on providing an outlet for such things with his B-seite festival in Mannheim, Germany. He is looking for you to fill that outlet with your a/v sets, vjing skills and installations. It is not a VJ festival per-se just as much as Modul8 is not strictly a VJ tool. In the parlance of those days when music would be played using that medium now only favored by DJ’s and audiophiles, B-seite looks to present an eclectic side audiovisual exploration.
“Through a live audio associated with a performance video, Abstract Sound Project reveals a unique combination of sound and image. On a projection surface of 20m², they transport us into their world where electronic sounds blend with the graphic arts.
This structure helps to immerse 2 musician in various tables imagined realized by the video artist Diez.
One beamer, modul8, one bcf2000 , for live video , each screen is managed independently.”
Video Mashup from Zoo Usine, Geneva 2009 from Startsladd on Vimeo. Gothumborg, Sweden crew Startsladd gets teamed up with A-LI-CE at the Zoo in Geneva, Switzerland. A nice pairing I think as both entities are skilled creators of custom video footage that is always both engaging and humorous. Startsladd has also just relaunched their website with an updated VJ demo for the coming year.
Club Transmediale in Berlin was one of my first experiences of the European festival phenomena. I attended the 2004 edition as part of SHARE.mobile. It made a huge impression on me. Lots of experimental electronic music and art along with a public that was curious about such things. Modul8 did not exist yet.
(Using the speed slider) fast forward to now.
I have been attending the ‘MAO’ nights at club Maria. Some amazing performances by a variety of electronic musicians both new and seasoned. For those who are not familiar at all with club Maria there are as of this writing three major rooms. The first is the center stage. A very large space with a bar, lounge like seating area and dance floor area, its walls from the top of the emergency door all the way to the ceiling are entirely filled with projections that continue into and behind the stage. This room is the main stage. To the left of the stage, next to the end of the bar there is a passage way with a ‘smoke room’ on the right, leading into a smaller room that serves as ‘quiet’ space with a bar and another installation area. Turn right and then a sharp left passage into the smallest of all the rooms with another bar on your right, seating area and a more intimate stage.
It is here, during the two nights I attended that I became acquainted with vj teams Suicase on deck for Monday night and Tritamin for Tuesday night. Both happily running modul8.
Suicase oriented more towards using the transformer with the sphere with a lightly blurred matrix at low opacity. The performed for El Fog, NQ, Tillman Ehrhorn and Quip. It was mostly a blue mood but was a good compliment to the sound, especially with the vibraphone of El Fog.
The following night Tritamin provided a more image based accompaniment. Spiders were on order along with other organic matter. Again blue appeared to be a popular hue for this back room. As it so happens Visual Berlin member Jork who is a seasoned VJ and a constant at several clubs in Berlin was on hand and introduced me to Tritamin. They happen to be one of his favorites and he was eager to share his comments on what they do.
On Wednesday night this back room was occupied by Raster-Noton.Rhythm_Screen. After two nights straight I was losing a bit of pace with things and I am deeply saddened to have missed the audiovisual work of Frank Bretschneider who is apparently as modul8 user as well. I hope to be able to catch his next performance or at least get a chance for a personal demonstration of how he is using it.
Overall I had a great experience at CTM this year. Besides being on hand to see some modul8 users at work I saw a lot of fun performances and met up with some old friends and probably made a few new ones. You can check out some audio recordings of the festival at Samurai FM including the performance of Frank Bretschneider. If you were not at CTM this year or have never gone before maybe next year can be your first. I’ll definitely be there to say hello.
My first Avit experience and it took place in Berlin. One of my favorite cities in the world. While it was not the full blown avit experience that I have heard many things about and that I will be a part of in less then two days it was definitely a tasty preview. In fact almost every person who came to speak or give a workshop will be at the LPM in Rome.
As DMY is mainly about design and the Arena played host to industrial designers presenting chairs and other strange approaches to everything in the realm of ‘one day you will want to buy this from a catalog’ the Visual Berlin crew were provided with a corner that served as part presentation of the VJ medium and part visual entertainment in the couch/chill complete with DJ’s on rotation and a rather large refreshment counter.
A few photos from synesthete (aka Todd Thille) whom I met for the first time in another micro step of ‘here is another link in this network of visualists trotting around the globe.’ More on Todd shortly.
Some more familiar faces were around. Toby *Spark was in to do a demonstration/workshop of Quartz Composer. Admittedly I did not stick around for the whole thing but it was fun to see Toby deliver a very friendly introduction to the node based environment that was my first venture into the VJ laptop software world. As mentioned in my opening statement in this blog Quartz Composer was once Pixel Shox. As a note to those who don’t know you can use .qtz files (files created in Quartz Composer) in modul8.
Not immediately afterward I was situated in the same sofa unit as Toby for a modul8 user meeting. While there were only three official users in the crowd chief amongst them being cyper there were a good number of people just curious about what I was talking about and demonstrating on the screen above me. After the end of the meeting I was approached by Torge of Novamob who have been using modul8 for some time now with much satisfaction.
After witnessing all of the modul8 demo discs and stickers I brought and placed on the Visual Berlin table evaporate within two or three hours I was invited by Toby to join Todd and him in contributing to a ‘State of the A/V’ session. Todd had created a Keynote based presentation that just happened to contain almost every A/V act that I am inspired by. The highlight being The Big Art Group. Also talked about were modul8 sponsored Berlin based collective Transforma who’s ‘Synken’ is an esthetic and narrative step in the encouraging direction.
Finally we were all given a heavy dose of Live Cinema or Narrative Session or ‘How to make live video performance engaging by making some sort of story out of the mishmash of material that is being projected on many screens.’ This was provided by fALk Gärtner who created a very extensive and informative presentation on the history of synesthesia and some real concrete mechanics of how one could possibly build a narrative within the bump grind limitations of the VJ medium. While at first there was much eye rolling on my part in terms of outlining and defining something that is by its very nature is somewhat very open to interpretation I was pleased with fALk admitting how difficult a task it is to mount such a project. He himself admits that it is an extremely difficult task.
Need be mentioned that fALk added modul8 as one of the potential tools out there for doing this?
Later over beer at the nearby Heinz Minki all of us sat around the table pondering the many obstacles in regards to our expectation of the content we want to see in the medium. Beer may not solve these problmes but it definitely brings the good folks together who are intent on doing so.
This is confirmed now! Thanks to Toby and fRED who were so welcoming! fRED made the suggestion that we should make this more of a meeting then a presentation which is kind of a more laid back position for me then the usual ‘this is how it works’ kind of scenario. The date is definitely the 24th and the times is roughly from 18h00 (6:00pm) on.
<< I am going try and crash demo modul8 at the μ:avit scene in Berlin. If I am in the mood I might do a raffle of one license. Definitely will have demo discs and stickers.
Come if you can. If you can’t then cancel whatever you were thinking of doing and come anyway. If you are far away somewhere rob our grandmas piggy bank and purchase a ticket. Berlin is really beautiful this time of year and there are lots of parks you can sleep in. Totally worth it.
Will announce more details as they materialize. >>