The theory of relativity came to Albert Einstein when he was riding his bicycle, this much we know. Not sure if the cats behind SemiConductor just pedal pixels, but they’ve hit on a winner with their DVD compilation – ‘HiFi-Rise: Sonic Cities From Another Timeline’. Bundling their own short films together with the works of artists, musicians and film-makers, they’ve compiled a quite excellent collection of audiovisual glitchtronics. Below, they speaks, but first more>>
Bout the HiFi-Rise DVD
Browse along to www.semiconductorfilms.org and you can preview most of the clips online, such as the cheery kiddycore dementia of Dat Politics, a quite cool ‘recycled island’ Amon Tobin clip & the ever-up for a remixmash – People Like Us. SemiConductor’s own earthquake films are a highlight – a cut n pastried affair of earthquake stills, vectorised swinging office spaces, and bouncing buildings, all mash.dup in delightfully simple yet striking and unusual ways. Expect lots of scratchy glitches from blunt photoshop knives and pix by peeps with 8-bit goggles on. Comes with a quite lo-fi Dr.Crudescrawl type 3D panoramic interface of buildings, which is great for a while, but it’s maybe a bit too hard to find the clip you want in a hurry as well. You’ll like it anyway.
What were your creative paths into making short films?
It was quite a natural progression. We both come from a fine art background and had previously made large scale installations. We started translating a lot of this language via the computer and developed our own techniques and styles in the form of ‘Sound Films’. In each semiconductor film project we establish a concept that connects the sound and image. Usually with the sound leading the narrative but occasionally the image also.
What tools & processes do you enjoy?
Each idea takes a new process and form which employ different ways of working. We always challenge ourselves and the technology so that it stays fresh and playful. So basically we are always doing something new. We enjoy combining both analogue and digital to create a more hands on approach.
How did the Semiconductor DVD come about, and how has it been received?
Our Hi-Fi Rise DVD release was an attempt for our unique style of Art to be established in the same light as music releases. The experimental electronic music scene has a wide variety of forms and we hoped to tap into that. In some ways we did with many responses from around the world. But it was released in the early days of DVD and there was not an established market for experimental media. The audiences that have positively received it have usually been visual art people with an interest in music.
What were your favourite clips on it?
Its difficult to specify our favourite clips, as they all signify a different progression in our work. Of our guest artists I really enjoy Jeremy Butler and Ben Rivers video for Amon Tobin, its got a really nice pace to it and the sets they built were great, made out of household products such as potent blue cleaning fluids and plastic bits of junk.
What do u see as the technical strengths / creative potential of the DVD platform?
The immediate strengths are obvious, being the capacity. DVD is at an interesting stage where its not so novelty and being used to distribute really interesting experimental films, as an early technology its not out of reach of the DIY DVDer and this is when you get the most interesting releases. I like the idea that people are just into DVD for the medium and that people who wouldn’t normally get to see this sort of work may just come across it.
And the challenges of indie-DVD distribution?
There is no indie DVD distribution yet but there is some interest in the Art book shop circuit where novelty is supreme. But that is a far harder market to penetrate. We released our DVD more as an art object, showing a positive step for people letting go of their work and not being precious about it. We screen our work a lot and of course their was a risk that the distribution of it in this way may reduce interest from festivals etc., in fact it did the opposite!
As a DVD distributor – how do u feel about the global DVD regions?
For indie DVD the whole region thing is irrelevant as it just isn’t introduced to the disk but the whole issue of NTSC / PAL should have been bridged with this format.
What work are you exhibiting at Experimenta’s House of Tomorrow ? (melb X-hibition comin up, see experimenta.org )
We’re showing a fictional landscape that is broken up by sound in its many Internet guises called Domestic E.M.I. (Electro Magnetic Interference). Although the work is offline for the exhibition the online version on our website. www.semiconductorfilms.org will link you to many discoveries found in sound archives around the net. We have created an integrated aural landscape of archives based around a Virtual home.
What do u think of machinima?
( shooting film in vr – eg www.machinima.com )
We saw a presentation of machinima stuff recently and there is definitely a lot of potential there! We have plans for doing some experiments in this area, seeing what can be done with it!
Current projects? Future plans?
For now and the near future we will be developing new online work and performing our live sound and image set around the world.