Given my passion for both music and film (and how much fun Shine Tarts was), it’d be crazy not to try to integrate video into gigs. To that end, multimedia artist Paul Heslin and I are developing a video projection concept to complement Faux Faux Amis shows.
Our intention is to create kaleidoscopic pop-art sensory overload – a constantly changing mash-up of videos pulled from across the cultural landscape – vacation footage of 60s Paris, 20s burlesque, cartoons, drive-in ads, and other ephemera. Like the zine, I am purposefully not tying the content to an overarching theme – juxtaposition and a space conducive to ‘happy accidents’ is paramount (the only guide in choosing content is my own personal taste and interests – curation as self-portrait).
We also want it to somehow sync to the performance, so that changes occur in real-time, rather than on a pre-recorded loop. Using Jitter within Max MSP, Paul is exploring ways to make this happen. His initial idea is a button attached to the bass drum pedal, so that each kick can trigger an edit. We’ll have several videos loaded in, and input will begin rolling video starting from a random frame each time. Last night we got close to programming just that – there’s still a few buggy things around latency and sizing to work through (as well as testing the best controller to use with the drum pedal), but with a month to go, we’re looking good.
This is extremely different to anything I’ve done with film before – live-editing, non-narrative, and found footage. Part of my inspiration is The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the multimedia performances Andy Warhol conceived around The Velvet Underground (I love the story that VU started wearing sunglasses on stage because the light show was so blinding). I was also taken with a recent Central West gig (of which Paul is a member) where several projectors were running random Super 8mm footage. The combination of music and visuals is a powerful one; how the brain processes the information – the confluences generated and their interpretation, partly on a subconscious level – is fascinating.
Jitter is an amazingly versatile program (especially in Paul’s hands), and while we’ll keep it simple for the debut, there is potential to push further with the concept, and incorporate live video, multiple inputs and a variety of effects.