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Report at Scopitone festival, digital art & electronic music festival in Nantes, France
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More blog entries
The heart of the laptopsRus project are the performances, inside a ring: two women at a time engage in a VJ battle, projecting their visuals on huge screens around the room. Around the ring, the audience cheers for each participant, and the VJ with the loudest cheers get to stay another round in the tournament. It's a fun environment, a competition without a winner at the end.
The two nights in Madrid were a good examples of that: the first evening, there was the setting as described above, while the second night, after they all had a first round of performances in battle-mode and showed each other some of their works, they decided, after a lively debate, to perform together. Instead of two, they were six (as the room had six huge screens), and played longer sets, improvising responses between screens at times, or developing works that were shown too quickly in one-on-one exchanges. The range of aesthetic was wide, from the deconstruction of code and porn of TrashMixer to the video work of the Lebanese artist La Mirza, from paula_vlz's experimental images to the techno-pop world of Chika... 31 performers took the stage those two days, coming from four continents, and many countries. Matadero is a contemporary art center which opened in 2009 in Madrid's former slaughterhause. The center pays special attention towards digital arts and culture with the Intermedia programs.
The Madrid reunion was the occasion for a big meeting of female VJs (Video Jockey) and AV (audiovisual) performers, after a season of smaller-scale gatherings. Organized by new media artists Shu Lea Cheang and Maite Cajaraville, the session in Madrid took place after previous ones in Paris, for the Vision'R festival, Geneva for the Mapping Festival, Carceres and Berlin.
laptopsRus is developing a network of performers, but also a space for discussions about feminist and artistic practices. A conference at the Reina Sofia Museum completed the performances. Different panels proposed theoretical frameworks for laptopsRus, and showed related projects, such as Anne Roquigny's WJ web performance software/device. The conference started with a questioning of the terms used to describe visuals produced in a live environment.
Cornelia For instance, A-li-ce, one of the laptopsRus Julianne Pierce introduced the work of Lund, author, with Holger Lund, of the performers in Madrid, is VJ for some VNS Matrix, an Australian cyberfeminist book "Audio.Visual: On Visual and Rela-musicians and DJs. She's also developing collective which was active from 1991 ted Media" (2009), runs Fluctuating
Images, a platform dedicated to contemporary media art. In her talk, she compared the different terms used by festivals, artists, the press...: VJ, live visuals, visual music, live cinema, AV performance...
VJ is the oldest term, from the club scene, an adaptation of the DJ term for the images. For her, VJing defines "realtime visual performance linked to digital, technological possibilities of realtime processing of images, in synchronization to music and as a phenomenon which has its origins in the club and is also to be found at concerts and at festivals." She notes that other terms have recently appeared to take those practices out of clubs and into art spaces: therefore, the notion of "live cinema" is used for works that are considered more artistic and personal than those associated with VJing. AV performance as a term seems to come from musical composition (as opposed to VJing and live cinema which have their origins in visual arts). The different names and definitions can help to comprehend the many current
real-time visual practices, with clubs less likely to have VJs and artists aspiring to create more sophisticated works as well. Many artists wish to go further than mere image manipulation and towards something more performative, or to have different practices according to contexts.
For instance, A-li-ce, one of the laptopsRus performers in Madrid, is VJ for some musicians and DJs. She's also developing performances within the Home Made collective, such as Harry (that she presented during the sessions at Medialab-Prado, one of Europe's most exciting and active medialabs these days). In this particular piece, she manipulates objects and images, mixing live images (that she makes with a surveillance camera), animation and realtime digital effects.
The conference put also a special emphasis on a few collective initiatives by and for women using and creating technology, from cyberfeminists in the 1990s to contemporary uses of social networks.
Claudia Ossandón presented the Generatech meetings she has been co-organizing since 2007 throughout Spain. Generatech's aim is to create a critical space to question gender, feminism, free software... Workshops and debates have been organized in different cities, allowing women and men to share knowledge of free software tools to create sound and video and publish them online. The participants of these meetings deconstruct together biological, technological and political codes.
Published in the Digitalarti Mag #3.
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Alain Longuet ARTIST, ARTWORK dm_artist I. P. C. LaptopsRus master mathieu lehanneur Mur Water PCB Object Avatar Peter William Holden short movie by
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