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Low-tech & High-brow

images from your kitchen sink

A painting looks like it has been painted. A photograph looks like it has been photographed. And yet, I am not bothered by an image being so obviously silkscreened. Why is it then, that I am so annoyed at animations that look like Flash, CD-roms that look like Director MX and the latest science fiction box office success looking like it could also be an advertisment for the latest possibilities in After Effects?

Some people create their own aesthetic by creating their own software: Bob Sabiston's A Scanner Darkly or Waking Life are wonderfully unique in their imagery. However, not everyone has the cash for full fletched software development for a visual project. This results in too much motion too constrained by too little software. Animators and VJs have it tough.

Last week at the Mediamatic EcoVis salon, we had the pleasure of 6 pairs of VJs performing simultaneously to our local electro-acoustic improvisation band Oorbeek. These were the results of the 1-day Lo-Tech VJ workshop. None of them looked like Photoshop filters, nor did any of them look alike. They projected onto all the white walls available, on top of the Oorbeek band members, who politely donned white boiler suits to minimize their visual appearance for the occasion.

Anne Gentenaar and Martin Holzmeister's liquid television was blown, shifted, reflected and dazzled. Broken CDs, vases of coloured water, beads and straws aided the pair in their hand made image choreography.

Arne Hendriks and Nienke Koek used sand in their performance- Nienke following Arne's arm gestures on the wall on a projector full of grains, showing trails and tracks of physical movement without all the artefacts and expenses of computer vision.

Byungjun Kwon brought his own army of self hacked attributes: a small image sensor in a wand, which he stroked and sparked over turntables, records and other textures to turn into imagery.

All in all, a refreshing evening of innovative lo-tech imagery, with some awesome music to boot. Reminds you why SF&L won the Visual Sensations VJ prize in 2005.