I have A LOT of problems with VJ material. Most of what I have seen of it is
just awful. There are some brilliant exceptions.
One I would recommend was the performance I saw of the Light Surgeons, who
deconstructed the film "The Fountainhead" based on the book by Ayn Rand.
You can find out about them here:
I have only seen one of their shows, and I was deeply impressed. They were
very much taken with their relation to DJ culture, which I found absurd, for
as far as I know, DJ culture started with poor blacks spinning disks on the
streets or in places like Washington Square Park in the 1970s.
[I remember, because I would ditch high school and go there to buy joints
(or acid or hash or whatever) and hang out... I remember seeing people make
these weird multi-turntable/close-and-play mixes of funk and soul music. At
the time, I thought it kind of sucked, *a lot*, and thought it was really
irritating, but when scratch and scratch video got big in the 80s, it all
made sense to me...]
We, as human beings, are hard-wired to respond to other people and be
sensitive to other s when in their presence. I'm sure we have all written
things in email where we've said things we probably wouldn't have said if we
were faced with the target of our ire. That presence creates cathexis - an
evocative and psychological response and investment. People who have
problems with cathectic responses and investment are usually classified /
pathologised by their deficiencies in this regard:
Sociopaths, autistic, or, inversely, FORM 2 Inwardly Directed ADD, etc.
Throw yourself onto a stage in front of a crowd and tell me you don't FEEL
their presence... That sense is their investment in you: cathexis at that
point is so intense, it becomes palpable.
That kind of investment is often completely missing in internet based work.
This doesn't mean that internet based has *no* investment - it is simply of
a very different nature. How one defines the "stage" in that case becomes
problematic, and interesting, which is one of the reasons why I had Gregor
White from Scotland speak at the SFPCS.
The text of his speech is here:
The other aspect that differs Live vs. Other Cinematic practices
(interactive or otherwise) is a matter of synchrony vs diachrony.
A movie is diachronous - it is essentially identical from one showing to the
next. It can be shown to an empty theatre. It exists as a loop outside of
A performance is synchronous - it will always differ from one performance to
the next: even if the performance is a film and completely diachronous, the
reaction of the audience will differ, making each performance unique. It
exists Only in time.
As the internet allows a kind of fractal dimension of time (kind of like 1.2
D) where the arrow always goes forward, but it can stop for a while and skip
around that which has occurred, it obviates most of the possibilities of any
real live cathexis between the audience and performer through the vessel of
the art and the environment of the art work itself by the very exigencies
involved with what it is to use the internet.
I really need to get some sleep.
I will write more on this tomorrow.
THIS CONVERSATION MATTERS.