Tonight my workshop peers and I will be performing our works-in-progress at Diapason Gallery, the results of our five weeks developing our ideas about video composition, notation and performance thereof.
The VCW Performance
$7 suggested donation
882 3rd Avenue (map)
(bet. 32 & 33 Streets)
Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Subway: D, N, R to 36th Street/4th Avenue
The VCW Performance is a show of live video pieces created as part of the Video Composition Workshop.
The Video Composition Workshop is dedicated to writing performative video pieces. It explores how artists approach their compositions and how they notate the scores from which the videoists perform.
This show presents the completed compositions, works-in-progress, and experiments of six videoists and musicians resulting from the first six-week salon. Pieces include video paired with acoustic instruments, analog electronics, and digital audio. The evening will end with the VCW composers discussing their various approaches. (We’re as wary as you are of endless artist discussions. We’ll stay focused and concise.)
Live video has made some great advances in the past years. Technological capabilities and popular awareness are making it more integral to contemporary performances. VCW is happy to present 6 approaches to working with video as a dynamic, performative art.
Naval Cassidy (aka Jon Giles) (including performers Roland Brown, David Hainsworth and Jonathan Moniaci)
Nisi Jacobs (including performer Michael Schumacher)
Adam Kendall (including performers Christof Knoche and Eileen Mack)
Last night I checked out my friend Chris’s art installation Synopsis at the Leo Kuelbs Collection in DUMBO. Gorgeous work, elegantly executed. Here are my pics (click for the Flickr set).
relations between hardware and content/intent
The most difficult stage of preparing for a visual performance for me lately has been the process of preparing a ‘patch’ (lately a project file in VDMX) and deciding on connections between my hardware controllers (Trigger Finger, Xbox 360 controller, Wiimote), the patch, and the content (video files, animations, generative elements). Often I wish I could simply have a one click/drag connection between a particular controller and the effect or generator I wish to control: connect Wiimote to OpenEmu instance, done — not connect 7 of 15 Wiimote data sources to 6 or 12 effect parameters. Thinking about this tonight I was reminded of Lance Blisters, the audio/visual duo made up of Geoff Matters (music) and Ilan Katin (visuals), and what I learned of their working processes when I subbed for Ilan for several shows. Some aspects of that process:
- Lance Blisters (Geoff and Ilan) chose to use the Trigger Finger exclusively to control the visuals. Unless something went wrong, Ilan would not need to touch the mouse or keyboard during the show.
- Geoff controls the music with a MIDI guitar. After each song, he sent a MIDI command from the guitar (to his laptop > MIDI > WiFi) to Modul8 on Ilan’s computer, triggering the loading of the next song’s project file, using custom modules they wrote. Again, no mousing: just one MIDI CC command triggering the next song’s visual setup. (And one song’s visuals (Grindcore?) were entirely controlled by Geoff via the MIDI guitar.)
- The controls for each song’s visuals were fitted to the capacity of the Trigger Finger, not the other way around. (And they chose the Trigger Finger because it has 16 pads, matching the 16 slots in Modul8’s media bin.) If a song had more than 16 media in it, a row of pads was often used as a bank switch. Chorus: tap 12 pads to switch animations in time with the music; bridge, tap one pad to switch to another bank of media (reflected onscreen in Modul8), tap the same 12 pads to bring up different media. Again, custom modules were written to make Modul8 fit the songs, not the other way around, e.g., to change the MIDI mappings on the fly, sometimes a module for each song.
- Each song was practice-practice-practiced to get it into muscle memory.
What is there to take away from this? Obviously the last point is the strongest. Fit the software to the hardware; fit the patch to the song. Whatever you decide to do, practice the heck out of it to make it second nature, making the set tighter and freeing you to play, even improvise. What else? I’m thinking of rewriting all my qcFX (most of which are wrappers for v002 plugins — thank you, vade :)) so that they fit to my controllers, instead of experimenting with different controller mappings during shows. Maybe get more use out of the Trigger Finger’s pads by creating different ‘stab’ behaviors in the different FX/generators, e.g., use the 16 pads as a spatial grid, turning on and switching the direction of particle systems that stream from/in the four quadrants of the screen. We’ll see.
More on the One Step Beyond show soon, hopefully. In case it doesn’t happen, some thank yous: to vade for his plugins, to Momo for his “Momo particles” QTZ and his four-layer setup, to Benton, Owen, Jasmine, Reid, Emily, SeeJ, Peter, and the museum crew, to Chris Covell for his NES demos, to No Carrier for glitchNES, and to Vidvox for VDMX. 🙂
Next week I’m flying down to Austin, TX, for South by Southwest 2009 to play the Austin Museum of Digital Art’s Laptop Battle, a head-to-head competition for electronic musicians from all over Texas. I’ll be doing live visuals for part of the night, followed/preceded (not sure yet) by Video Jamz 2012, who are — I’m told — a somewhat absurdist VJ duo (Tom Blackburn and Chad Archer who like to abuse antique video hardware. There will also be a wide assortment of video art by other AMODA-curated artists to see, arrayed pleasingly about The Mohawk, a highly rated venue. It will be hot, hot, hot.
AMODA Laptop Battle
The Mohawk, 912 Red River at 10th St
Friday, March 13th, 9pm-2am
$9 General Admission
$5 for AMODA Members, Free for SXSW badge holders
AMODA posted more details about the show, which I thought I’d share. I’ve been listening to the laptop battle contestants’ tracks on their MySpaces — not done yet but I would already recommend The Mysterious H (chiptunes!) and Uber Dub by Blixaboy. Have a look/listen!
The Mysterious H (Austin)
Deejay Yayyay (Austin)
QuantumEyes Ent. (Austin)
Disco Hospital (Austin)
Skinnebrew the Destroyer (Austin)
Sudrok Inalak (Austin)
Dubbel Dutch (Austin)
John Gomi (G on 5 / The Fifth Gallery)
Craig Negoescu (Naka Media / OpenLabs)
Dave Gonzalez (DJ Starsign)
Amanda Butterfield (YellowTape)
EMCEES: (these guys were great last year. really kept the mood up and the flow going)
DJ for the rest of the space:<br/>
Visual Artists: (presenting pre-recorded material)
John Michael Boling & Javier Morales
Mac&Cheez + Mistah Le
Video Jams 2013 (also doing live visuals!)
I voted. And I volunteered as a videographer for Video The Vote, going to polling stations in Brooklyn where voters had reported problems or obstruction. Pretty minor stuff: at my polling station and another nearby, they were requiring ID, which is not required in New York state; at another, a poll worker refused to take off her Republican campaign button. When I showed up and walked through, there were no buttons to be seen, so I drove all the way over there for nuttin. Drat.
Also, I posted about the public beta release of the v002 Rutt/Etra software synthesizer on CreateDigitalMotion.com. I’ve been an alpha tester and helper on the project, even putting my meager Illustrator skills to use recreating the RE logo. It’s a beautiful tool — check it out. 🙂
And I picked up my girlfriend from the airport, who was down in North Carolina getting out the vote. Now she’s glued to television, radio, Twitter and NYTimes.com while I make dinner. Ah, domestic bliss. Later we might go by 3rd Ward‘s election party to agonize over the returns among like-minded Brooklynites.