Berlin Vidi-yo Beasties

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Ain’t nothin quite like an ollie to nose-grind on a piece of the old Berlin wall. Scratchin that forwards and backwards and inside-out, is John De Kron, bringing his vidi-yo wizardry to electrofringe shortly.

What’d u learn from studying the vidi-yo aesthetics of 60s und early 90s?
Not to forget the 70s! and the 80s where video really started. Feedback and kaleidoscope effects that were applied back then (mostly by some odd technicians) to tube camera feeds transported the feeling of a generation on the black and white tv set in my parents living room. In the 90s I studied at a “media academy” where they’d gathered all that out of use stuff from several video studios. We could play around with U-Matic equipment, humongous video mixing desks, teleprompters, intercom and so on. I still prefer that blurred tube aesthetics to contemporary digital exactness.

And what’ll Vidi-yo in 2010 be like?
All the hip VJs born in the early 90s gather in front of their favorite VJ merchandiser in order to grab one of the first new released materials of that strange guy- John deKron. O.k., he is pretty old but his clips are out of sight. They’re sampled in night theatres all over the hemisphere. And the audience just loves the neotechno style of this North Korean VJ. He has a very rare collection of clips and combines them with his video suit in a virtuous way. I attended one of his last years shows and even the security guys started to cry. But then he performed the climax… You just got to experience that yourself. And tomorrow we will go to a movie theatre.

What interests you about real-time vidi-yo at the moment?
I consider most interesting an effective interface that offers instant and intuitive control on the performance. The result may be something totally different to conventional media like music video clips, and the challenge is to explore the possibilities of these new tools. In today’s realtime video, the language of the media is far from being discovered. It’s similar to the early days of film when it was used to frighten people by showing trains approaching the screen. After twenty years the first attempts appeared with close ups and cuts to tell a story with those tools. And it totally differed from just filming theatre. Maybe the filming of theatre acts is similar to the state where realtime video is now – many shows try to resemble pre-fabbed music video clips.

Searching for possibilities of live video me and some other vjs perform alongside to the same music. We call it the “Videokonferenz”- where the videos communicate with each other. We and the audience can compare different styles and content. Simultaneous performances allow comparison, and coincidences and mistakes happen – intentionally and by accident, which brings new ideas and develops the whole thing.

Cool features of your to-be-released video software?
The ES_5 is a software video mixer that routes 2 sources (video clips, live input or generated graphics) on 2 effect tracks, mixes them, applies more effects if desired and outputs the result to a screen. It’s more designed for longer sequences than short loops. With an attached midi keyboard and a faderbox the ES_5 can be played like a music instrument rather than a piece of software. It’s the excerpt of three years of live performance with all kinds of different concepts for the “best” way to show some moving images. ES_5 has proven to be very usable, stable and fast, so the user may focus on content and not on technology.

>> X-plain the “dirty pot” project? What motivated this?
Computer buttons and faders offer 2dimensional on/off and numeric controls only. I was looking for a more organic interface than that. In the “dirty pot” project the performer has several balls with different colours that may be moved in pots of different shapes. The balls represent video clips and the way they are moved in the pots determines how the videos are screened. By moving the pots the balls are kept in motion(or not). Different regions of the pots define different behaviors. The performance becomes more fluid than possible by pressing buttons. Some of the pots are not totally clean (dried cereals are still in there), which gives a chaotic component. The balls jump over the cereals and you don’t know what will happen. But with some exercise you can use the cereals pretty well. The computer rests under the table and doesn’t bother you. See www.videokonferenz-berlin.de/dirtypot

Good/bad in the Berlin arts scene?

The worst thing in the Berlin art scene at the moment is that the city totally ran out of money. Money for cultural projects is totally cut. Who needs culture in hard times?

John De Kron will demo his software and Berlin pixxxels @ Electrofringe 2002 between oct 2-7 in downtown Newcastle. Also chek johnnyweb: www.thisserver.de

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: skynoise » Skynoise Archives + octapod.org/jeanpoole

  2. Pingback: Create Digital Motion » The Complete History of VJing: Jean Poole’s Back Catalogue on skynoise

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