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<nettime> Solu Dot Org : Video artist Interview
jean_pD8D8le_:::::: on Thu, 6 Oct 2005 16:12:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Solu Dot Org : Video artist Interview

It's been a while since I've spotted a Netoschka Nezvanova thread in net-time... so it's
almost my duty to send in this video artist interview that cuts across various terrain...

(it's a longer, mildly edited version of a piece which had to be crammed into a tiny 3D
world column, and also published with links clickable to most names mentioned below at
www.skynoise.net )


Solu Dot Org : VJ Interview

Representing the Finnish Pixel, Mia Makela, aka SOLU, has been busy in Barcelona. Aside from
helping raise the live audiovisual roof in the last few years with performances, workshops
and writings, SOLU has dived into many music, theatre and dance collaborations, has had
experimental music videos screened in loads of festivals and added to DVD compilations,
helps out with femalepressure.net and recently launched dorkbot.org in Barcelona. An
apparent highlight of the recent AVIT-UK world VJ festival, samples of her work and writings
can be found at her site : www.solu.org

 >>What particularly interests u with live-video at the moment?

The potential this model of creation has. Watching TV nowadays its easy to notice how little
creativity is allowed in mass communication formats of visual creation. Iive found
inspiration in working with different kinds of music styles - I did visuals for a concert of
violin and accordion and it really changes everything in the visual thinking - the rhythm is
very different, the visuals should float through time, video poetry. Creating visuals for
dance or theatre pieces or in collaboration with other creative practices, which use space
more widely than a screen.  Iim quite bored of the one screen-one projector set-up and the 2
dimensionality of it all. Looking forward to when the prices of projectors go down!

I find most fascinating the E28098theoreticali interest shown towards VJ art lately - at
least 3 books look like being published this year. 

I guess it all comes from the need to define this scene better, to make sense of it to major
public, even though Iive liked the creative chaos weive been enjoying all these years, free
from the constraints of being definitely ART and being put into a nice package and sold to
public. Iim writing my thesis at the moment on audiovisual realtime art, and have found out
that there arenit really written history for all this, as the history is like a net of
influences, artistic and technical, ideas from synaesthesis to early video art and from
stroboscopes to gesamkunstwerk.

 >>What interests u about live audio-visual performance, as opposed to VJing to music?

My visual language is searching for similar musical language with a certain structure.
Lately Iive been thinking of making my own sounds as im more interested in soundscapes than
ready-made music or songs.  Iive done more Live Cinema than VJing, and am more interested in
collaborating with various musicians eg Dj Rupture - I made a video for him and now we are
planning to continue collaborating - though more like a design job, making visuals for his
music, rather than building an AVworld together, which is what Iim looking for.

 >>Whatis the Barcelona scene like for exploring video?

Thereis a lot of interest for video, this is the city of film festivals! Itis easy to get
big audience for almost any kind of digital art event-- sold out noise concerts etc-- there
was a live visual boom some years ago when everyone got a laptop and walked in front of
audience instead of staying at home nibbling with macromedia director-- The game
modifications visuals scene got particularly strong (glaznost, retroyou,jodi- click at your
own risk ) and also there were quite many Nato processors-- and of course now there is the
Pure Data generation who go through the same community gatherings as the nato crew did--
actually Yves Degoyan, developer of Pidipi lives in Barcelona as many other PDactivists. I
was part of creating the multimedia -AV scene in Barcelona around 2000-2003 as part of
(late) fiftyfifty.org, organising workshops of nato, hacker technics etc and audiovisual
events and exhibitions and parties.. a really exciting period-- now I continue organising
workshops on audiovisual realtime creation around Spain and Europe trying to help the next
generation getting E2809Cair under their pixelsE2809D. Telenoika organized the VideA
VJ-festival already for many years in Barcelona -- Its said to be the first VJfestival in
the world. There are a lot of VJs around but not so many live cinema changed.

 >>Whatis your general process in preparing for a large video performance?

For a VJ gig, Iill go through my video clip library, modifying my max/msp/jitter patch if
necessary. Usually I have some ideas I start with, develop videos Iive shot with DVCAM and I
start to process that material (after capturing and editing it into perfect loops).  The
best stuff comes out from doodling, just trying things out and then boom! something strange
starts to happen, thatis the joy of processing video signal. I very rarely use video
material as it is, I somehow tend to synthetize it, break it down into its most basic
elements and build from there. I have a need for processing as some have a need for patching
.. normally I do that on my own and then show my E2809CresultsE2809D to the public in the
format of live composition and some processing parts if it fits the show. For a performance
like E28098Hiding in the CloudsE2809D, the theme was a kamikaze lost in the clouds, so I
searched for visual material, scanned, captured, edited, manipulated and processed it in
order to show a E2809CnarrativeE2809D story. With these kind of shows the process includes
intense practising and collaboration with the musicians. I also included improvised live
speech in the show, and used photoshop live to draw directly to the screen. With a street
dance theatre piece, the process again was very different - I watched for days the dancers
practicing, imagining how the visuals would fit them on the stage and also there were a lot
of technical things to think about like the distance of the projectors if they should fill
the whole stage, also floor. etc etc. As u can see, different approaches depending on the
project --

 >>Whatis your connection with the notorious nato software?

Nato was the first software that gave me the push to start exploring the live visual world..
before that I did video art making analogue video, and imposing graphics with amiga. Then
multimedia and internet projects seemed to offer more possibilities and not until finding
Nato did I return to pure video. Fiftyfifty.org was distributing Nato in the beginning, and
invited Netoschka Nezvanova various times to Barcelona, my connection with Nato was quite
close but now Iim using the E2809CenemyE2809D software Jitter and sometimes Isadora.  Jitter
is far more complicated and more made for engineers/programmers than Nato, which was
basically a video object library for max/msp, and more fun - it seemed always so fragile,
and easy to lose.

 >>As a veteran of so many Audiovisual festivals, what interesting cinema hybrids do you
find unfolding?

The cinema context can actually block the development of new interesting hybrids - there are
many live cinema groups doing interesting works, but is the cinema the right context ? I
think the best things unfolding have something to do with space. I like Skoltz- Kolgenis
performance with 2 screens where the visuals E2809CfollowE2809D the audio from left to right
whilst the audio is E2809CmovingE2809D in the left and right loudspeakers-- even though
their performance is not very E2809CliveE2809D, it works. I like the stuff Dumb Type has
done in dance context, also Obermaieris work in Ars Electronica last year was fantastic,
with advanced sensor technology and minimal visuals, mapping dancers with different visuals
than their background, some other people have been exploring the same idea in opera, a
French group, Electronic Shadow, who have done projections for spaces, mapping physical 3d
objects with visuals. These projects are all quite complex technologically, mixing media
installation and audiovisual work in space with actors/ dancers, and using the visual
elements sparely, avoiding totally the normal E2809Cvideo bombingE2809D connected with
VJing. At the MAPPING festival in Geneva this year, the Modul8 crew changed the set up in
the club every night, filling the space with transparent screens which created incredible
E28098Alice in Wonderland stylei moments ( eg images here - www.mappingfestival.com/
mapping2005 ). It was great to try to find the style that would make the best effects in the
space, black and white minimal stuff worked well.

 >>Thoughts on DVD mixers in live video?

Iive never used one, but the technical quality of the videos can be better and that the
performance would be much more relaxing when youire not pushing small buttons of yr software
on the screen. 

Itid be more E2809CanalogueE2809D again-- but less control if you donit have monitors for
each dvdplayer, and if you do - a lot of equipment to carry along.

 >>What would interest you about longer-form videos/films?

Creating new narratives, touching emotions and creating different kind of cinematic
experiences, dreamlike journeys that would enter their receptors like sound does. People are
taught to be very critical with image and read images, their socio-cultural-political
meanings and even far too easily draw conclusions as fast as possible. Far too much they
think of the software, like it would be the answer to all, I donit know how many times Iive
been asked in the middle of the show E2809Cwhat software do u use?E2809D does that mean they
like the visuals? Does that mean they want to do the same kind of visuals ?

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