thats the invert button, in real life.
thats the invert button, in real life.
highlight of mapping was seeing franz’s ‘euphorie’ performance in the flesh, or rather, in the light. its yet to grow to a cohesive, flowing performance, but just to look into their laboratory was quite the experience. its the band you’d expect to see if a bladerunner nightclub scene were filmed, but that somehow makes it sound like its derivative: quite the opposite.
mapping finally broke beyond performances and gallery to make a serious go of some kind of joint project / residency. pitching up after the d-fuse performance, i got to hang out on the night before their big evening. the timeline stuck to the wall was a recent innovation, apparently… made me smile.
may wouldn’t be the same without the annual pilgrimage to the excellent mapping festival. fourth time running now, having played as part of narrative lab performances and workshops, then journalism, and last year doing a workshopped kinetxt performance. this time, its as part of d-fuse, performing particle.
nothing better than a week in and out of coding, performance and nightclubs, to see the night through to a beautiful sunny morning on the river. swimming in the crystal clear water was cleansing more than literally, even if for some it wasn’t quite the idea…
my first mapping was marked by meeting franz and pier of exyzt, and it was great to see them back with a facade projection piece. using some custom playback/pinning software franz had rustled up (pictured, franz aligning it up - the outlines are lit on the building), it was both refreshing and surprising to see a true audio-visual piece, where the graphics and audio were two sides of the same thing. surprising that at mapping, a touchpoint of curated vj/av showcasing, this was the first i’d seen that did it for me in that way.
beat torrent cancelled themselves in a fit of divadom, so enter “torrent de bites, un duo vj/dj aussi impromptu qu’enthousiaste” aka ilan and andré of le zoo. ably assisted by the vj exoskeleton craziness of vj lupin and oblivion, disaster turned to triumph and a real highlight of the festival. although it all pales next to this.
this installation - “inside out” by klif - was really nice, cameras and cathode ray tubes feeding back on themselves but achieved with a beautiful restraint of motion and palette. the key was in the cameras being mounted on slowly oscillating platforms, so that with the projector canvas spread wide, trails of repeats would swing across in slow motion. i also noticed some video level-adjustments boxes, which probably are essential to getting such a refined collage.
that was the positive, here’s the negative. well, it was an outdoor performance, and it rained. which sucks, and its a shame that because of rain cover the audience couldn’t crowd around us performing it, seeing the creative hub and being able to join in with our text clients and general heckling to do this idea or that. but that is life.
after three days of prep, the performance. to quote the internet:
from rehearsal to the performance proper. one of the challenges for us of projecting onto a building rather than a cinematic screen is that you don’t have the clear frame for your ‘canvas’, rather you’re just lighting up bits of a facade: type in the void. this gives a problem for making an art-pad the backdrop of your canvas: you don’t want a bright white rectangle somewhere on your building, you want the lit pen-strokes floating in the wider surface. so here we are for one part of the performance proper with our illustrators experimenting with black paper and tipp-ex (correction fluid) type pens.
and here is the kinetxt cut-out submitter app, one button to make the tethered camera shoot and load it into photoshop, and the other to drop the photoshopped image onto for submission to the kinetxt canvas.
its the day of the performance, and we set kinetxt up in one of the communal rooms of îlot 13 to rehearse.
the îlot 13 complex has the écurie bar, and what a perfect place. couldn’t resist this shot, seeing the guy reading the hardback comic they had lying there, roses behind and, well, it goes on. too perfect.
one of the ideas of kinetxt is starting off from a blank sheet of paper, story unwritten, and the way I see it one way of increasing the quality or interest in the resultant performance is using the context of the performance as catalyst or reference for whatever emerges. so mapping gave us a great hand in programming us as an outdoor projection in the courtyard of îlot 13, a place with lots of history and spirit. we were projecting on the back walls of one of the blocks, which instantly gives ideas of x-ray views through to the people living there, and the whole complex is a kind of utopia, being a former squat that came to an agreement with the city council, and instead of the standard cycle of demolition and profiteering redevelopment seen world-over, an association was formed to develop the block in the interests of its inhabitants. and what a wonderful job they’ve done, it is quite the urban oasis, both smart and informal.
after arriving at this year’s mapping festival and having the plan-the-week meeting with andrew, its the next day and we’re meeting the artists. mapping have curated seemingly a dream-team for us, which really fits the idea we proposed of emphasising the idea of a ‘band’ coming together to tell a story. we’ve always run kinetxt as a longer-form audience-led event/environment, and for this performance we’ve brought it down to 45 minutes and we’re really hoping to somehow create the equivalent of a band performance, but instead of guitars and drums, we have illustrators, a poet, and a backing setup of me, andrew and james of novak, and lots of laptops with lots of custom code and things hanging off them.
following teatrino were the erasers, which was a great thing to witness but fell short of the ambition i had for it watching the start. they had a great table full of things, all categorised into rows, and it started magnificently with a really nice motion graphic triplehead vj thing that looked like we were in for a real engaging narrative or development, and was all the better when you realised half the content was actually coming from live filming up front, with performers and cameras manipulating print-outs, ink and whatnot into a crisp graphic whole. trouble was, this was so perfect to my eyes that when their next ‘track’ was a real dive aesthetically and musically, and it became clear that it was going to be improvised chaos riffing against well-tread themes without saying anything new or interesting, i felt really let down despite many compelling moments of live action that followed.
great performance by teatrino elettrico on the sunday night, in the zoo nightclub innovatively cut-up sideways into an audio-visual theatre.
who would have known that this year’s fashion is to have your vj name made into a big blingin’ buckle. hi-res meet mxzehn, face-off (or rather, well, what xxx-off would you call that…!)
Mapping: VJing and Audio-Visual Festival; 10th-20th April
…struggled out of super-comfy last night hotel bed to the airport, to find the flight delayed by four hours. urrrrrrrrgh. anyway, big props to all involved for a really well run festival with many delights. i had a great week and things have been pushed forward. onwards!
every participant at the festival gets the in-house software, m8. in a box. proper.
cheaper than a laser engraving machine, you can get a machine that will cut paper as if you were just printing something from illustrator. pass t-shirt transfer material through it, and you can make custom t-shirts for everybody. which they did, supercool. and the left-overs make a nice sideline in their club nights too…
heroic all-day performance by ilan katin, based around live drawing. magic moments with with kids in the audience shouting out their suggestions and guessing the form taking shape, ilan writing and rubbing out responses… this dragon wasn’t a crocodile, but you had to be there.
a four hour talk by the man behind the core, yves, although my french doesn’t go that far by a long way. my interest is that they haven’t solved the magic ‘how do we deal with alpha in vj clips’ either, there just isn’t the right codec out there. an open source project for the mac vj world?
three days of share, open media jamming. part of the setup is a widescreen projection of three 4x3 projectors/screens, which you can drive from a laptop with a matrox triplehead2go… very nice.
geneva turns out to have wifi in its parks. fantastic… unless your battery is dead. just need to have a powergrid in the grass now.
some beers in a sunny park / swiss flags all around
four days in non-stop festival mode: time for a break. bus to the end of the line, cross the border, and up la montagne.
sunny lunchtime with an afternoon to play with, at the cafe alu. davide here saying goodbye to boris.
exyzt rock. period. more on them to come.
davide in audiovisual / electronicagraphic synchronicity.
five screens, two narrative lab navigators, and the night starts early at the contemporary arts centre. story collector is a beautiful set, david last and mr projectile crisp over the pa, the mix working well, tag team keeping the story and aesthetic tracked.
back to geneva for the mapping festival. a narrative lab performance a night for the first four days, opening with the premiere of autometa by paul mumford aka visualnaut. suffice to say, been avidly waiting to see this emerge from its year+ of production, and it didn’t disappoint. totally captivated for its hour run, like watching a film… but not a film. awesome.
mapping and modul8’s boris, letting it rip late into the afterparty
huzzah. the narrative lab proposal for the mapping festival has been accepted, and i was even in geneva at the time so had dinner with boris and ilan. there’ll be three narrative led vj sets and two big talks by us, so i’ll be performing ‘rbn_esc’ as the vj film example to my presentation on ‘live cinema and vjing’.