In less than 48 hours, I will be doing a VJ performance at the SAT in Montréal. If you are here, I hope you can make it. Check the details here.
I used to VJ a lot in warehouses and places like that, in Toronto when I was still doing my undergraduate at Ryerson University. It was fun, I was given carte blanche to do whatever I pleased, and the atmosphere was friendly.
I never saw it as a “high art” form – which may have had something to do with internal prejudices built up from art school. There’s a certain sensitivity towards what some call improvisation and others call “noodling”, and if it happens in a club setting then it definitely isn’t art.
But I’ve borrowed those techniques and incorporated them into other performances, so it’s definitely influenced my practice overall. As well, the VJ scene is taken pretty seriously here in Montréal, and has developed into a real community. What I’m seeing here has certainly come a long way from tripped-out visuals of flying mushrooms on a screen in the corner that no one pays attention to anyway.
So like any other art form, it is coming into maturity, and practitioners are developing styles and creating performance sets with “themes”, et cetera. One of the biggest questions, that can be asked of any other live art form, is why do it live? Would a canned video do? And in essence, in this case, the music is constructed live, and so VJs have an opportunity to build a dialogue with the music as it is created in parallel. A little less constructed than a “video art” piece, perhaps, but in the end, a valid art form that challenges you to build a coherent visual structure in the moment.
Hope to see you Wednesday.