VJs are necessarily tech-literate folk, and unsurprisingly online VJ communities thrive across a range of bulletinboards, mailing lists and websites. VJ Falk probably pops up on most of them from time to time, ever the provocative pixel enthusiast. Fresh from the AVIT UK global gathering of VJs, he emailed about his recent VJ Blog development – ‘The world in VJ vision’ at http://vjblog.prototypen.com.
>What lead you to start VJ-Blogging?
A lot of people were coming to my blog searching google for ‘vj blog'”- somehow my blog had claimed the number one google rank with this term. I didn’t think my “VJ related” content was enough to satisfy someone searching for a VJ blog – and so the idea of a true VJ blog was born – video rather than text but centred. I wanted the blog to become a personal loop aggregator – a way to force myself to create new loops, and an avenue for to projecting socially aware loops that reflected my personal interests.
Then I discovered video blogging, also in its infancy, and that the Video Blogging community had its own video RSS viewer called FireANT ( http://www.antisnottv.net ).Combining a very new hot technology – video blogging – with a very hot old but revived media – VJing – makes this blog very special.
Creating so many loops to make the blog worthwhile takes time, so I opened it up for other contributors. Michael Parenti (exiled.surfer) & Todd Hille (synesthete) have jumped onboard, and anyone interested in regularly contributing can send an email.
>How was the recent AVIT UK gathering?
The overall quality of the work really set standards far beyond what seemed possible in recent years. You could see the experience of pros shine through everywhere and their beat synchronity was superb. A lot of visuals were really going with the flow of the music, really reacting to it, which might have to do with all the new toys and tools available but also more experience working with the beat. I was a little surprised that the content of the work overall still was mostly eyecandy or blatant war pictures, rather than actual concepts or narratives. I would have loved to be inspired by others for my pursuit of narrative, and except for the few vjs in “narrative lab circle” this was mostly absent.
>Whose work stood out?
VJ Oxygen and VJ Solu. It must have been the fine compositions and the overall flow and the colors and the lovely aesthetics – maybe woman are more capable vjs?
>The most interesting ideas amongst VJ related software and hardware at the moment?
I still use 1.5 year old VDMX software, but almost all Mac users are now on Grid Pro. The only hardware that still stands out is probably the VDJ -X1 from Pioneer. My first reaction a year ago when I first heard about it wasn’t very favorable but laying my hands on one was a quite surprisingly powerful feeling. For the price of two of those I’d rather buy one or two powerbooks, they still can do more for me personally.
> The biggest challenges / hurdles for VJ software / hardware development today?
Beat detection and audio analysis all seems to be fairly fast on newer hardware. With faster internal harddrives I might finally switch to full resolution. The new challenges for software is finding better interface metaphors and letting the VJ rather than the software, define the style of the output. This will happen when there are more effects with more individual control, and when software has become more modular overall. The VJ is who makes the visuals and not the software or hardware, and if your software has certain limits then do the most you can within these limits and hack out of them as much as you can.
> In which directions are you most interested in taking your work?
I am totally into narrative VJing. My first test narrative “CTRL-V a hacker story” is now at version 1.5 so it has progressed over each performance with enhanced fx, content and typography. I am at the point now where I think I need a new story – something more complex – more challenging. I think the point that a story can work in a common club setting has been made, and its time to push forward with a better overall production quality and storyline. This is something I will pursue in the future, along with the VJBlog, and “vjblog only” performances once the content in there has filled up.
>What distinguishes today’s push for an ‘expanded cinema’, from recent pushes in decades past?
VJs finally have such diverse, easy to use tools, that for the first time in history we can create moving images from our imagination “live”. Imagine Oskar Fischinger ( early 20C AV animator) with tools like ours today and how much gorgeous content he might have produced with it – he could have really redifined motion picture media. Today everyone is in that position, but what is still lacking is the content. If the VJs can put meaning into their visuals, I think we are on a new media platform that might stand next to Cinema and Television as the third option.
We can still look back at the core concepts of content from those times and also learn a few things from traditional motion picture media. And we shouldn’t forgot the VJs past – we are coming from a socially aware background of geeks and artists trying to push technology to the edge and independently stating our world view. If we stay true to that we might have a brighter future than our pioneers – a future of recognition – a future with our own media power.