Before christmas I Gave a Performance at Goldsmiths University in London as part of the Besides the Screen festival organised by Exploding Cinema on 1st December. This is essentially the set i gave. More to follow… I used a modified version of the glitch factory…
Since my earlier post about audio visual preparations it’s been a busy year, and i have been honing my skills as an AV performer, tweaking the live setup, bringing in some new technology and generally having a ball. Along the way I’ve met some great people who I’ve formed a loose collective with called Freecode. So, leaving off from my first solo performance at Soundkitchen in May, I was asked to put on an event with the Eastside Green social space erected by the EXYZT architecture collective, during the Fierce Festival. During the festival which was twinned with the Flatpack film festival, I went to see an inspiring event, the Pixel Visions film screening of early computer generated animation a la John Whitney, and a performance by Audio Visual collaborators SCREE – DJ Sir Real and VJ Catweasel. I started talking to Antonio Roberts aka Hellocatfood
about the more programmed side of AV – e.g. node based software like max/msp and puredataused to generate sound and light either simultaneously or at least more purposefully… Got to thinking how little of a platform there was for this sort of event. In Birmingham or otherwise from what I’ve seen. When the opportunity to organise something for the EXYZT site i immediately thought how cool it would be to get some of us together for an event. Obviously Hellocatfood was on the cards and Minuek (Jim Warrier)
The Fierce Festival is Birmingham’s festival of the performing arts (essentially) and was started in 1997 by Mark Ball. Since then it has had an immense impact on Birmingham’s culture and has gained a reputation for edgy, underground and sometimes tongue in cheek presentation of the finest in contemporary art. The company Fierce Earth has grown and moved on from the festival alone. The festival is currently reinventing itself and experimenting with new directions under the artistic directorship of Laura McDermott and Harun Morrison who took over in 2009. One of the main things I’d say they bring to the mix is a totally open mind and no agenda. They are not from the Midlands and as such are gazing on the landscape like explorers, learning as they go, taking their time to learn the ways of the people. Having had two ‘interrobang’ events away from Birmingham (one in Warwick Arts Centre and one in Wednesbury at The Old Post Office and the Town Hall), i think the best thing is to expect the unexpected, which has always been the way of Fierce.
I have been a fan of the festival since before I considered myself an artist and along with Vivid, Fierce had a lot to do with me getting involved in the arts. I volunteered as early as 2004 to help out with the festival and was employed by Mark Ball on a few occasions. I also met some good friends whilst being involved. People like Rich Bate and Anne-Marie Pope, who were involved in the organisation of the festival. Meeting ‘the pope’ was also the beginnings of my involvement in the Project X Presents series of events.
So when the opportunity came up to apply for the Platinum artist development program i gave it some thought, submitted and Harun and Laura chose me, I’m very pleased to say. The aims of the program:
Platinum is an exciting opportunity for artists to develop their work with Fierce Festival.
Platinum provides a space to network & make connections with key internationally acclaimed artists to focus & develop your own work in a supportive environment.
Fierce has a reputation for celebrating risk and for encouraging the expression of a myriad of voices, perspectives and artforms.
Fierce is particularly interested in its curatorial agenda being led by the artists it engages with. Forthcoming Fierce festivals will involve 8 – 12 artists who develop their projects over a ten-month period. This emphasis on process is very much at the heart of the thinking around Platinum. We are less interested in finished products than the development of long-term strategies to sustain your career as an artist. Platinum artists are very much a part of the activities and enquiries of the festival itself.
So even if i don’t come up with something at the end i have achieved something. Seems I can’t lose. I do feel obliged, however (if only to myself) to create new work from this and have decided to come back to where I started creatively as a youth, and have been creating some music, with the aim of performing a fully live Audio Visual set of my own creation from beginning to end, using found footage, my photography and animation, field recordings, and live performance.
The program started last April and through Laura and Harun’s zen-like guidance I have been developing my ideas, and communicated them to the other artists on the program. Mentoring of the group discussions has been by performance artist Kira O’Reilly, who is extremely inspiring and perfect for facilitating the group. For instance on the first day we met, she instigated, not an icebreaking waffle fest of artists spouting about themselves (I know I do) but a silent walk around the surrounding streets where each member took turns to lead. We learnt as much about each other in that hour than if we’d talked for three.
Each artist has a budget for the program, two-thirds of which can be spent on kit. The remaining portion to be spent on exploring, e.g. courses, travelling to festivals, and mentors of the artists choice. I decided i would like to talk to AV legends Coldcut (why keep it mortal?), mentioned this to Laura and she got someone from Ninjatune to contact me a couple of weeks later! I’m about to arrange a meeting with Matt Black, so I’ll report back when I have done.
STRAX Audio Visual proudly presents AV 5!
The Victoria Pub – 5 minutes from new street station in Birmingham will play host to VJ Anyone – Oli Sorenson, founder of the AV Social, previously held at BFI South Bank and TATE Liverpool. He will be performing his DRUG MUSIC MY EYE set on Friday 23rd October. It’s a lovely boozer with great food, ales and cocktails…
This is a unique opportunity to see Oli perform in such an intimate setting.
Support comes from DJ Mark Smallman, STRAX DJs and an AV collaboration between Chromatouch & mashup supremo Sam Redmore. Also, STRAX is delighted to have Joseph Potts from Modulate back at STRAX.
There’ll also be lots of engaging craziness including Tagtool, Wiiwhorld, and 10-player Bomberman!
Facebook event here.
I’ve been extremely proud to be playing at the Town Hall in my own city with Birmingham Jazz and the flawless events they organise. In October i had the good fortune for my visuals to be caught on camera by Jamie Ryan-Ainslie during the Heritage Orchestra and Lizzy Parks concert.It was a great night with THO playing the music of Amon Tobin and Lizzy launching her new album. A lot of people were complementary afterward about what was on the screens, which is what it’s all about…
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