The first edition of PROJECTOR was a fruitful attempt to take the background visual out of its comfort zone and into the spotlight. Is the art form still in need of such charitable campaigns?
DANIELA: Indeed, we started PROJECTOR back in 2015 because we wanted to bring these digital arts front stage. Besides VJs we also invited several illustrators to experiment with live animations on equal level with the musical acts.
NATALIE: Speaking from my own experiences as a VJ, you’re always a bit of an underdog. We wanted to turn the tables for a change and focus on the visual more than the musical aspect. But times have surely changed, these days most venues really invest in the right equipment and a lot of festivals play out the visual as an independent feature to engage with audiences. With LED screens and live streams, it certainly took a turn for the better!
The Line-up consists of live acts paired with VJs, illustrators and graphic designers, still emphasizing collaboration?
NATALIE: We’re aiming for well balanced crossovers between music and image. It does take time and effort to merge each others aesthetic language and methodology. Hence, the acts are more the result of an audio-visual research.
LINE: It was important for both the musicians as well as the visual artists to engage with the concept of combing art forms. We’re very excited for London based Rival Consoles from the label Erased tapes to be joining the line-up. Just like his fellow label member Nils Frahm, he can effortlessly tie together electronic and classical music, resulting into the most spherical music that can take hold of a space. He’s bringing his own VJ, no less than Robert Raths, the founder of Erased Tapes. Together they made several live A/V performances for Boiler Room in the V & A Museum and Bespoke in Tate.
DANIELA: In regards to the line-up of both the DJs and VJs, we wanted to focus on local as well as international names and combine established values with new talent. And we also wanted more women on the bill, including Stellar OM Source and MONOMONO.
The line-up mainly consists of electronic music, does it make a better fit with the moving image?
NATALIE: Not necessarily, nowadays you get a lot of cutting edge visuals at hip-hop or pop show, but it started with electronics. As a spectator you want to experience more than just one person behind a laptop, visuals can build on that narrative note.
LINE: Indeed, images can express the music equally powerfully. That certain abstraction inherent to electronic music lends itself well to visually exploring the music, especially if you extend that abstraction further into the image.
NATALIE: A lot of big names like Arca, Björk, Max Cooper or Flying Lotus really pay attention to their visuals, by inviting visual artists with their own sense of style, operating on an equal footing without making any concessions.
DANIELA: But we certainly wanted to offer a counterweight with more figurative illustrators, all of which aptly versed in the art of storytelling!
By these vastly evolving technologies of screens and over the top stage designs you can also notice the visual aspect claiming a big chunk of the spectatorial experience.
LINE: That’s why we want to think more in terms of how you present a work in a given space and get rid of that typical square, which is often lost in the background. The screens for PROJECTOR are designed according to the size of the venue at HAAR, so that the whole becomes a more sensory installation.
NATALIE: Through mapping you automatically create more depth of field by allowing the screens to interact as different dimensions. It’ll also be more challenging for the VJs in terms of setup and design.
DANIELA: The emphasis always lies within the experiment bringing forth innovative techniques, both in form and content. That’s why we also invited Janna Beck, the founder of Collectiv National and MAXlab. Janna leads the research of cross-media in the visual arts at the Antwerp Academy, where she developed, together with Kris Meeusen of LAB101, the project Growing gifs. They developed of a software that allows illustrators to live edit each others animations by means of Wacoms.
An open call was launched for the nocturnal exhibition. Can you spill some beans about it?
DANIELA: We want to cast a broad net in order to indicate how the audio-visual arts are becoming increasingly absorbed in contemporary art practices. Together with Janna Beck and visual artist Alexandra Crouwels, a selection will be made of the most fascinating installations we come across. We want to exorcise the audience!
LINE: And to exhibit all of these art forms together in a more performative framework, providing a more theatrically immersive experience. The open call runs until August 26th.
Montevideostraat 5, 2000 Antwerp