Anne Gentenaar

Another day of unordinary visualz

Low tech VJ workshop/show

"I had such a wonderful analog day, making visuals without touching a computer"


painted CDs - Anne Gentenaar

It's been a year now since my last pure data Mediamatic workshop and two years since my first one about Machinima's.
This workshop came along and only by seeing the title I signed in immediately.
Something about the sound of low tech VJing, tickled my enthusiasm.
My once so simple notion to create beautiful things in a visually polluted world has become my day to day challenge.
With banal soft- and hardware configuration crashes, codecs that don't speak each others languages,
cloudy interfaces where you can easily get lost looking for certain possibility and off-course: render time.
I miss the here and now sometimes, I miss it allot.
In a way thats why I like the VJing, I press a button the colors change, it's just reacting like a proper machine, realtime action with images.

The other night at a party in 'het Paard' was my first time to play with a DVJ from pioneer in my VJ set.
Relationship troubles had killed my preparation time, so once there I couldn't figure out most of the buttons,
but in the end it didn't really matter how the loop function worked: I loved the scratching!
I use a lot of dance movements in my work but the movements which are quite fixed usually, cut up in little clips, you can do some choreography.
But with DVJ's the fun really starts: you can go back and forwards, scrub all you like and make choreography out of anything moving.
Secretly I always wanted to be some kind of choreographer, well now I can be.
Usually I prepare little loops or videoclips for a VJ show, with the DVJ's I made DVD's of selected footage. I was a very nice set, more hands on I really like the DVJ!

Then after another week in the office stumbling into so many software glitches, a few weekends of VJing, not sleeping enough,
I came home one friday night so amazingly tired of it all.
I could not touch my computer, I didn't want to watch tv or go out all night and al of a sudden I remembered the beauty of painting.
I thought of my VJ workshop coming up and the fact that we where also gonna do a little show at the end and
I decided to go 'analog' in a sorta ironic way preparing my images for this workshop by painting on transparent c.d. disks.
I had the CD's in my cupboard in my box with paint for about seven years now, but somehow had never managed to put two and two together.
As a reaction maybe to the DVJ culture and as a tribute to a pioneer for VJ's -in my opinion-
who worked with color disks back in the beginning of 1900: Thomas Wilfred* I made paint c.d.'s to somehow spin at this workshop.

The day of the workshop came and seeing all the equipment:
overhead projectors, slides, sand on light-boxes, water/ mirror boxes, lamps and crafty stuff all over the place,
I grew a bit weary, where to begin?
My first reaction was to run home and get a hole lot more filters, toys, slides, glass/transparent objects,
paper, plastics collage cut outs and all sorts of other materials I collect and have laying around exactly for these kind of days.
I'm more in control of my chaotic creative nature now then I used to be and so I decided to stick with my initial plan:
to somehow spin with my painted c.d.'s and play with everything that was already there.
This was more then enough and we only had one day.

Since we wanted to simulated an overhead projector situation, enabling us to show the turning of the disks, we started with building a light box.
We tried several constructions and it took us quite some time to get our box.
Just putting glass ore transparent plastic over a lamp wasn't enough, you would see more of the light source then what you put on top,
plastics started melting, lamps where smoking, not good.
I was checking out what the others where doing working with the overhead projector and saw that that was our best option.
One overhead projector had a broken lamp so we put another light source inside and hung my camera above it.
The lamp didn't really fit so you could see it's weird shape and strange colors of braking light around the edges
as I zoomed in on the moire effects of the light-box surface.
Also this way we could project the colors of our objects a bit better since the paint on my c.d.'s was acrylic and not special see threw projector ink.
If the light underneath was to bright the colors would go black and white. We tried some stuff out, listened to the band and before we new it the day flew by.

I speak of 'we' here but I haven't yet mentioned my friend and partner in crime for the day: Martin
We happened to have met before at another VJ meeting half a year ago:
jamming at the Amsterdam Film Experience, the high tech way.
So both of us where coming from similar backgrounds.
Feeling the temptation to get out our laptops which I had wisely left at home that day.

Funny as it goes: in the evening there where lectures about 'Green' awareness in art, which I found very interesting and inspiring,
but wouldn't usually have traded my thursday evening dance classes for.
So I was pleasantly surprised with this completely different intermezzo, which I'm sure they where to, with us when we started to play.
We had a vague plan, what to do when, for every different music piece and stuck to it very nicely.
There where four different moods ore sound pieces so to speak, the musicians didn't want to refer to it as music
but for me people playing instruments usually make music, o well.
So we started to play and yeah it was lot's of fun!!! I was very intensely busy with our performance so I didn't get to see much of the others.
As I glanced around from time to time I saw about six or seven very different projections.
Maybe it was even a bit catatonic ore maybe 'different' was the real theme of tonight.
There was the sand drawing interacting with actors,
the overhead projector with water drops and ink, zooming in and out, giving really cool effects,
the crazy reflecting objects before a miniature camera,
mirrors on a pick up table and
the Japanese electronics builder how had a mini-cam build in a old ink pen he could write on things and film it, his pen lighting up,
also cut out collages stuck on a record spinning on a pickup. (family of my c.d.'s?)
So many things, so many things.
My head was spinning then we topped it of with a beer, some more lectures and little bit of capoeira in the hall way, then to bed,
cause tomorrows another day in the office, with computers, render times, software not always able to handle the things I want to do.

*I love this quote from Thomas Wilfred:

Light is the artist's sole medium of expression.
He must mold it by optical means, almost as a sculptor models clay.
He must add colour, and finally motion to his creation.
Motion, the time dimension, demands that he must be a choreographer in space.