Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/videojackstudios/sets/72157600036404742

Event: PixelAche Festival
Place: Kiasma and other venues, Helsinki, Finland
Dates: 19/3-1/4/2007

1. General information

PixelAche Festival was divided into the following main sections: Pixelache Nordic VJ (Video Jockey) meeting; Architectures for Participation seminar; Pixelache Lounge exhibition; Neoscenes workshop; Prix Möbius Nordica competition; audiovisual performances; Generative Art and Design seminar; Do-It-Yourself Art + Tech seminar.

From the http://www.pixelache.ac/2007/pikseliahky07-english/ web site:

Pixelache Nordic VJ meeting: The Nordic/Baltic VJ scene is gathering in Helsinki and showing their skills in club events (organised in collaboration with Basso and ALAS), audiovisual jamming sessions as well as covert guerrilla actions around the city. The invited 30+ VJ acts are coming from all corners of Nordic/Baltic region: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Architectures for Participation seminar: ‘Designing the Weapons of Mass Creativity’. Presentations from a wide range of artists, researchers, curators, organisers, entrepreneurs, hackers and activists about strategies for self-organisation and alternative approaches to Web 2.0 buzz.

Pixelache Lounge exhibition: Placard #10 headphone festival, Parasite & Living Letters by Gunnar Green (GER), Sound Interactives installation by UVA (UK) and Transit Radio Lounge project by Jodi Rose (Australia) are presented in the lobby of Kiasma during the festival time.

Neoscenes workshop: In the ubiquity of networked media spaces where we distribute our wireless lives, what happens to our creative processes? ‘Remote Presense: Streaming Life’ is a workshop by nomadic network builder John Hopkins.

Also in the program: Prix Möbius Nordica competition, audiovisual performances (Hexstatic, Lia + @c, Värähtelyä!), trip to Digitally Yours exhibition in Turku, generative art and design, do-it-yourself art + tech and much more….

2. Participation in the festival

Pixelache Nordic VJ meeting and Generative Art and Design seminar

I participated in the following events, together with partner André Carrilho, under the name Video Jack:

VJ Jamming Session

29/3/2007,?18.00 – 20.30? Kiasma Theatre

18 VJs performed in Kiasma for this event. We played for 20 minutes in the Kiasma theatre, with DJ Sami Koivikko. It was very interesting to work with Sami Koivikko, whose work I consider to be very well suited to our visual side. The screen was divided into three projections, and our performance was screened in the middle. The other two projections were by Propaganda and VJ SameSame (with Casper Obro & Bottega Arete).

Sami Koivikko’s website: http://www.samikoivikko.fi/

PikseliAlas Club

30/3/2007,?21.00 – 02.00? Korjaamo Kulttuuritehdas

We played for 1 hour in Korjamo, with DJ Rimöyk. There were 3 projections and 3 plasmas screens, and we projected on the 2 side screens and 2 side plasmas. Bertrand Gondouin projected in the center. I consider that we managed to establish an effective dialogue with Bertrand, using common visual themes for most of the performance. More information about Bertrand is provided in topic 3.

Generative Art and VJ Software seminar

31/3/2007, 11.00 -14.00? Kiasma Seminar Room

We presented the two main applications we have developed for VJing: InGrid and B10. Both were built using Adobe Flash.

InGrid combines animation sequencing and layering with drag and drop visual composition. It aims to make the VJing performance more transparent to the audience. It uses a content management system for its animations.

B10 is mainly a generative visuals application. It makes use of simple graphical elements, replicates them, and attributes to them different types of random behaviors. The user can choose the graphical element and control parameters of its behavior.

In the dialogue with the audience, we also discussed aspects like performance and how the audience perceives it; our option of showcasing the interface to the audience as a way to increase the transparency of the performance to the audience; what we think our future could be in terms of using other channels besides performance to showcase our work (Internet, DVDs, mobile phones, TV, etc).

3. Attendence of events

VJ Jamming Session

29/3/2007,?18.00 – 20.30 ?Kiasma Theatre

PikseliAlas Club

30/3/2007,?21.00 – 02.00? Korjaamo Kulttuuritehdas

I will not report about the previous two events, since I saw only a part of them. I was too busy setting up, and then disassembling, our hardware to pay full attention.

Generative Art and VJ Software seminar

11.00 -14.00? Kiasma Seminar Room

In this section, I will present some of the highlights of the session.

Marius Watz (Norway)

Marius Watz started his keynote presentation by an overview of his personal projects, and then started to talk about Generative art by presenting Philip Galanter’s definition:

‘Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art.’ (From ‘What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art Theory’, Philip Galanter, New York University, 2003.)

He argues that definition lacks some insight regarding “why generative art?”.

Watz also proposes distinguishing between “strong” (the system as a “pure” object, greater removal of authorship, more conceptual) and “weak” (greater human intervention, semi-automated creation using parametric rules) generative art.

He also proposes adopting the term “synthesis”, used in audio, to graphics, meaning a “ex nihilo” (out of nothing) creation. Using “synthesis”, simple rules give way to complexity.

Mariuz Watz presented some examples of artists pursuing these issues, such as:

Marius Watz also mentioned the main tools he uses: Processing (http://processing.org/) and VVVV (http://vvvv.org/). He mentioned the importance of community associated with these tools, and cited Processing as an example (http://www.processingblogs.org/).

Gisle Frøysland (Norway)

Gisle Frøysland was supposed to give a talk, but did not appear at the session. I had the opportunity to talk with him the previous day, and see his work. His approach is very minimal – he uses two video mixers, creating video feedback loops. Ha also uses audio input. He then manipulates those signals and feedback (effects, colors, etc). The result is visually stimulating, despite the simplicity of the approach.

Bertrand Gondouin (France/Sweden)

Bertrand Gondouin is a digital media artist from Paris living in Stockholm. His work combines software development and live improvisation with sound and image. Besides VJing, he works with dance companies, incorporating digital technology in choreographies. He developed software (“Scramble”) using Max and Jitter that distributes images in 3D space, and then he navigates through these images using a Midi controller.

Samu Bence and Peter Gyenei (Hungary)

Bence and Gyenei have developed a “live animation” software (“Animata”) using processing. By creating a “skeleton” structure, the software can transform a still image in an animation – for example, the still image of a woman can be transformed into a dancing animation, in a very fluent way. This software could, in my opinion, be extremely successful in the future, if their creators adopt the right strategy. I hope it is released soon (although Bence and Gyenei seemed reluctant about providing any timeline for that).

Audiovisual performances: @c + Lia (PT/AT) + Värähtelyä! (FI)

18.00 -19.00? Kiasma Theatre

Lia (Austria, visuals) and @c (Portugal, sound) gave a very interesting audio-visual performance. Lia explored 3 basic forms, and 3 colors, and used variations on those for the whole show. She managed to produce very elaborate compositions using those shapes, in different scales and color gradations. The connection with sound worked smoothly, and the end result was a combination of sound and image where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.

Lia: http://lia.sil.at/
@c: http://www.at-c.org/

I didn’t attend the Värähtelyä! performance.

Basso/ Pixelache Club ?22.00-04.00 ?Helsinki Club (Yliopistonkatu 8 )

Hexstatic (UK) were effective, although traditional by comparison to the more adventurous VJ performances of the previous days.

Pixelache Lounge exhibition: Sound Interactives installation by UVA

Kiasma lobby

UVA (UK) presented a beautiful (but small) installation at the Kiasma lobby. Although it does not seem to be representative of their work (lighting or LEDs were not involved, only a large screen), the piece worked well in the context of the festival and its “sub-theme” of generative art.

4. Additional photos – talk