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interview: Mia Makela, a.k.a. VJ SOLU
- part 3

JP: As a veteran of so many audiovisual festivals, what interesting cinema hybrids do you find unfolding?

MM: Somehow the cinema context can actually block the development of new interesting hybrids, as there are quite many live cinema groups who are doing interesting works. But then again is the cinema the right context?

At the MAPPING festival in Geneva this year, where I was fortunately invited, the Modul8 crew changed the set up in the club every night, filling the space with transparent screens which created incredible 'Alice in Wonderland style' moments. See the images here to get an idea. It was great to try to find the style that would make the best effects in the space, basically black and white minimal stuff worked well.

I think the best things unfolding have something to do with space. I like Skoltz-Kolgen's performance with 2 screens where the visuals "follow" the audio from left to right whilst the audio is "moving" in the left and right loudspeakers. Even though their performance is not very "live", it works.

I like the stuff Dumb Type has done in dance context, also Obermaier's work in Ars Electronica last year was fantastic, as it used advanced sensor technology and minimal visuals, mapping dancers with different visuals than their background. Some other people have been exploring the same idea in opera. And a French group, Electronic Shadow, who have done projections for spaces, mapping physical 3D objects with visuals. These projects have really inspired me, all quite complex technologically, mixing media installation and audiovisual work in space with actors/dancers, and using the visual elements sparely, avoiding totally the normal "video bombing" connected with VJ-ing.

JP: And what sort of visual clichés do u see emerging?

MM: I think already there really is a collective section of "classics." For VJs, just asking the question "How to recognize a VJshow when you enter a space?" ... can answer it.

JP: What are the benefits & detractions for using DVD mixers in live video for you?

MM: I've never used one so I can't really say, except that the technical quality of the videos can be better and that the performance would be much more relaxing when you're not pushing small buttons of your software on the screen. It would be more "analogue" again. On the other hand, there is less control if you don't have monitors for each DVD player. And then again, if you do have [a monitor for each], there is a lot of equipment to carry along. A friend has been using DVD players and has problems with the logo appearing if the DVD has reached the end or goes idle for a long time.

JP: What would interest you about longer-form videos/films?

MM: Creating new narratives, creating a piece that would offer different kind of cinematic experience. It would touch emotions and thought and not bore the audience but be somekind of dreamlike journey that would enter their receptors like sound does. People are taught to be very critical with images and they read images. Their socio-cultural-political meanings and even far too easily draw conclusions as fast as possible and even far too much think of the software, like it would be the answer to all. I don't know how many times I've been asked in the middle of the show, "What software do you use?" Does that mean they like the visuals? Does that mean they want to do the same kind of visuals?

JP: What has being involved with 'Female Pressure' been like?

MM: Female pressure is pretty musician-oriented at the moment. When I organised an OFF-Sonar AV-event in Barcelona in 2003 called Electronic Avalanche, I mailed an invitation to Female Pressure and got 30 answers. So the programme was done in a couple of days. By the way, one of my favorite female musicians from Australia, Justine Electra, almost came to play. Unfortunately she couldnt make it. Also on Female Pressure, issues like topless female DJs sometimes come up, discussions which can turn into quite hilarious. Also, the community works pretty well for finding gigs, etc.

Jean Poole is the VJ moniker for the Melbourne, Australia new media artist and blogger otherwise known as Sean Healy. The interview above was originally published on on 8 October 2005, and is reproduced here with the author's permission.

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