i feel the screening programme made by paul and lara is a really important review of works to have come out of the “vj” scene, or rather the collision of vj practice with ideas beyond wallpaper. i’m also proud to be part of that, with rbn_esc and a hand in the story collector, but more so that such a programme has been assembled for posterity. bravo!

A specially curated screening and presentation by the Narrative Lab, inviting the Editors of the VJTheory book to show and tell some experimental works alongside screened material from artists all over Europe including Solu, Visual Kitchen, Girrafentoast, Ben Sheppee, Visualnaut, Oxygen, ZooZooZoo, Spark and Lucidhouse.
The Narrative Lab is a creative network and group of friends, who love to VJ and make moving images. Our work, and the work we love, use narrative techniques to enrich our work and bring emotion and potency to it. We don’t think VJing should be like film, rather we see other VJs and AV performers using narrative structures and devices in creative and unusual ways, and we want to showcase a cross-section of performers using narrative to create a language of VJing, and to engage the audience in alternative ways.We have selected a screening programme which will run as follows. Information on the artists, where given, is included below.
The Narrative Lab - Screening Programme - Av Social - Late at Tate
April 4th 2008 - Tate Britain - 6.30 - 9.30
Marginalia 2
Dur: 10.00
Embolex (2007)
Marginalia 2 is an audiovisual remix of footage from the films Bang Bang, by Andréa Tonacci, and A Mulher de Todos, by Rogério Sganzerla, creating a dialog between two characters that were originally in different films. Spliced into these are new scenes inspired by the films, which reinforce this dialog according to the interpretation that unfolds in the live remake. The soundtrack was produced using selections from the original films and their respective remakes in a way that blurs the boundaries between soundtrack and dialogs. Ideas of low-tech are also explored through effects and textures produced with diverse non-digital processing techniques. Marginalia 2 explores the possibilities for re-contextualizing by applying original and non-original samples to recreate a story/dream of visual and sound textures.
Dur: 1.15
Dr Mo (2008)
During his performance, Dr Mo mixes video generated by a novel stop-motion technique he terms ‘space-lapse.’ This type of photography continually changes camera viewpoints to produce breathtaking perspective shifts. Material for this sequence has been shot around the world and reflects Dr Mo’s interest in architecture and photography. His shadow weaves through the narrative reflecting traces of the protagonist. This is the story of a traveller - finding that which is constant in a continually changing environment.
Brilliant City
Dur: 13.43
D-Fuse (2007)
Produced during a stay in Shanghai with the British Council Artist Links program, Brilliant City was made with Axel Stockburger and the musician Matthias Kispert. The title refers to the location, a residential complex comprised of 25 high rises in the northern part of Shanghai, China. It is entirely shot from the 34th floor of one of the buildings and stages a peeping tom view of the city below, capturing everyday activities that can be observed from this vantage point, such as training soldiers, building activity, traffic, gardening. The camera hovers above the entire panorama and focuses on details in the everyday life of this rapidly changing metropolis.
Jack’s Back (Get Carter Redux)
Dur: 9.51
Addictive TV (2007)
Addictive TV are known for their audio-visual remixes and dynamic live shows. They’ve been twice voted #1 VJs in DJ Mag’s annual poll. The Addicitive TV duo were commissioned by The Northern Lights Film Festival and Arts Council of England to remix cult 1970’s movie Get Carter, one of the most celebrated British gangster films. Jack’s Back defies cinematic convention by applying audio-visual sampling techniques, creating a new breakbeat driven cinematic syntax.
Fire Organ
Dur: 6.37
Lucidhouse (2008)
Morris La Mantia, aka Lucidhouse in one of Brightons most prolific VJs working with imagery that is always infused with a sense of narrative. In this short mix Morris took a spontaneous, dirty approach making 4 live recordings and then remixing the entire sequence to create a piece with a frenetic life of it’s own: a split up, multi threaded, abstract narrative with an angry, choppy rhythm, that induces a bit of discomfort.
Mixmasters Submission
Dur: 10.00
Girraffentoast (2005)
Thumbnail Express
Dur: 6.12
Light Surgeons(2006)
The Light Surgeons debut documentary short film commissioned by onedotzero festival in 2000, the first chapter of “Gilligan’s Travels”, a series of experiemntal short films based around an interview with the Venice Beach street philosopher Robert Alan Weiser and his travels across America. This landmark project combines Super 8 and DV footage with motion graphics and has been screened as part of the onedotzero festival internationally. While Thumbnail Express is an old piece of work in our view it one of the most seminal pieces of narrative in live audiovisual performance to date, staking a position in this programme.
Dur: 8.55
Secret Films (2007)
Two separate video tracks edited and produced by Secret Films are remixed here ‘back to back’ for this special Narrative Lab screening. Together they form a study in both telephonic and televisual
hypnotism. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep but I have promises still to keep. I have miles to go before I sleep”
In Telefon a mass-hypnotism appears to take place via the telephone. Visual and audio phenomena act as forms of mind control. The riddle enunciated by a voice from afar acts as a potent trigger on those listening to it. It’s recipients seem under threat as something terrible is transmitted as if by a spell. Opening out to a void, the message becomes an undoing of the pleasure principle as the mesmeric voice evokes the links between sleep and death. In VERA there are further intimations of brainwashing and social control. Sound becomes the master of everything ..controlling perceptions of space, time and possibility. Man is mastered and
defined by his own technology in a succession of loops and fatal repetitions.
These themes are often explored by Secret Films in the format of a live AV show, usually ( as here ) through the use of appropriated film and sound. “Are you listening?”
Urban Nature
Dur: 10.06
Video: Olga Mink / Music: Michel Banabila & Eric Vloeimans (2006)
Urban Nature is an atmospheric audio-visual collage accomplished by visually dramatic movements and atmospheric sounds. Urban Nature observes public behavior in a post-modern urban environment. The individual almost becomes non-existent, whilst surveillance is part of a new social infrastructure. A ’sophistication of modern living’ becomes almost apparent, by use of images that appear as frozen moments over time.
Dur: 10:00
Video: Transforma / Music: O.S.T. (2007) Producers: Visual Kitchen
With a mix of abstract images, graphic animation, digital image effects and complex film sequences, Synken creates a fantastically spaced out, darkly romantic image-world. Forests filled with distorted organic forms are contrasted against an architectural abyss, as strange and fantastic characters try to make sense of their surroundings. A mysterious vagabond works as a medium between these parallel worlds, transporting artefacts that become recurring symbols in the dual system and means of communication between the creatures which inhabit them. As sound and image merge and fall apart again over time, they form a synergy that opens up subtle leads which can never be read only as linear. As plot fragments refract and reoccur, Synken continuously confronts the viewer with a modular narrative that can be potentially combined to create any number of interpretations.
Dur: 5.00
Spark Audio Visual (2006)
*spark is an audio-visual producer and performer, the alter-ego of Toby Harris. Spanning art, design and engineering, Toby is interested in anything that uses media to make people interact or think in unexpected ways.
‘rbn_esc’ is a project fusing cinema and live experimental visuals. presenting a series of character scenarios, it invites the audience to construct a narrative around the key theme ‘urban escape’. The clip library has been worked over in a Soho sound house, a soundtrack selected and resequenced, and the means to perform a refined, multichannel audio-visual whole developed. The resulting 45 minute performance work rbn_esc___av is an example of what ‘live cinema’ can be, and presented here is a five minute sampler.
Dur: 8:50
Labmeta / Paul Mumford (2007)
Paul Mumford is a director and designer currently working through the fields of VJing, motion graphics, animation and special effects across a range of music promos, live audio visual performances, short films and commercials with various London based companies. At the heart of his work though is a love for stories, people and dreams, something that has driven his research and personal work; manifesting itself as intricate, sensitive and contemporary motion graphics for live audiences and audio visual lovers. Building on early works and collaborations with the Narrative Lab, Paul’s intentions were always to continue building graphic narrative films. This is the first of his solo attempts to create a feature length audiovisual performance. Autometa is the story of a corporation, one that we see running a sinister machine, that operates upon the people of the city, taking their dreams and hopes, harvesting them and selling them around the world in a global economy. In a politically unstable landscape what happens when the public uprise? The world of Autometa erupts, forcing a world of the hybrids and dreamy constructions to collide and recombine in impossible ways.
Dur: 5:25
Video: Solu / Audio: Circle: Jäljet (Traces), Kontackto : Mustikkaa Silmissä (Blueberries in the Eyes)
Mika Vainio : Kotiin (On the Way to Home) (2008)
A journey into the heart of darkness. Kaamos is a Finnish term for the darkest period of the year in the north, when the light turns into shades of grey and sun is a rare visitor. Two women travel to a spring in the middle of the forest. This spring is known for its magical healing powers, that can cure from blindness. On their return it becomes obvious that the way back home is not what it used to be.
Dur: 3.43
Ben Sheppee (2007)
A tightly synchronized text based work based on ideas of modesty and genuiness. This hip hop electrock sound palette produced by “Back Ted n’ Ted” provides a rich audioscape for the evolving 3d graphic narrative executed by Tokyo based Ben Sheppee. A premiere screening for the UK - set for release on Lightrhythm Visuals label – Notations 02 - Autumn 2008.
Dur: 6:49
Rafael (2008)
In our view Rafael is one of the european stars of narrative performance, always witty, challenging, senstive and engaging in a way unlike anyone else we’ve ever come across. This is an extract from his latest audiovisual project that takes the form of an audiovisual puzzle. What more can we say apart make sure you see this.
Dur: 3.43
D-Fuse (2007)
Latitude [31°10N/121°28E] follows the emotive qualities of the space that surrounds us. Fragments of conversations, crowds, journeys, lights, deserted spaces, architectural contrasts are reconstructed to form a unique live performance that traces the multitude of paths, identities, encounters and influences that constitute everyday life in the city.
Les Projections Aléatoires
Stéphane Abboud - Le projectionniste (2003)
Les Projections Aléatoires (”the chance screenings”) are multi screen projection works made with several projectors (super 8 and 16mm). The movie combinations are realised live with found footage (family movies) and also original movies. Over the period of many years Stéphane Abboud has performed them with sound performers Plimplim and Philippe Fernandez.
The Story Collector
Dur: 15.02
Narrative Lab (2006)
The Story Collector is the project that originally brought together the Narrative lab group. The performance shows Blake, an urban city dweller whose alienation with his surroundings prompts him to start collecting stories. VJ-ed graphic overlays help to build and explore the new world Blake creates as he layers multi-sensory information over the gritty cityscapes that are his home. In the performance jigsaw pieces demand narrative interpretation, activate memory, search the mental database and compare structures to give rise to a periodically shifting map of shared cultural meaning. Follow his character’s growth through the development of a magical second sight through which all the events in his life become connected.
True Fictions - Organised Lies
Dur: 15.02
Light Surgeons 2006
The result of a year long digital performance art project produced and directed by Christopher Thomas Allen and commissioned by EMPAC, The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre in Troy, New York. The final piece was completed and presented in September 2007 and has begun touring to festivals internationally.
It is an audio visual spectacle fuses documentary film making, music, animation and motion graphics with cutting edge digital performance tools. A stunning collage of music and narrative film making which explores the themes of truth and myth through a multitude of American and Native American voices; with a original musical score created through the collaborations of 25 New York based musicians and vocal artists.