VJ Festival Photo Review  




Although I was invited the first year, I didn't manage to get over to Spain to attend the VideA VJ Festival organized by Barcelona's Telenoika until this October 2001.  What follows is not so much a review of the festival as a pictorial of my misadventures there. 

  Somehow I had originally thought that the seminar/conference portion of the festival would run during the day, with the party portion at night, but it turned out that things didn't actually start up at all until around 6pm each day, so that left the days to exploring.  I had never been to Barcelona before, so I had no clue where to go.  I hooked up with a few other VJ's, and went for a walk down to the pier.  We had a lovely lunch and a few drinks, then sat around, and basked in the sunlight, which was really nice, as Toronto is pretty cold at this time of year.

While some parts of the city have more familiar wide streets, certain areas have very narrow streets, that would seem unlikely for vehicular travel.  However, you have to be careful, as people whipping around corners on motor scooters are commonplace, and also the occasional car or truck.  Beautiful architecture abounds, although even with the bright sun, it seems like dusk in parts due to the close spacing of the buildings.

Around the corner looms an intriguing steeple, so I head out front for a better view...

  Speaking of churches, the next day I ventured underground on the metro with the Pixylight crew, and emerged to this awesome sight.  I'd seen pictures of this church before, but it was really cool to see it in person, and the juxtaposition of the old and the new, seemed to be just about right.  I think this cathedral has been undergoing some form of construction or another for over a century - and still a ways to go!

Walking around a bit more, came across some pleasant modification...
  Hmm, it might be nice to live in an apartment like this.  I wonder what the inside is like?
Don't ask me why in a supposed review of Videa, I only manage to take one picture of the party portion actually happening (on the left, the 4 pix below were taken by others)....who knows.  Anyway, this is a crummy picture, but you can see the ratio of the person on stage to how big the screen actually is.  There were two giant video images on stage, and 9 other still huge screens hung throughout the hall, creating a totally immersive video environment.  One downside that the festival did not have as many patrons this year.  As I understand it, last year, the venue was near La Rambla, a busy street downtown, so a lot of traffic came to the party, because it was rockin' and right there.  Whereas this year, it was in a larger space, however a bit more off the beaten track, so you had to know about it.  

Shot from the dancefloor Matt Black from ColdCut & I. VJ Pixylight & I Shot from the dancefloor
 
I hooked up with some new friends from Amsterdam who were also performing at the festival, and for the first two days of the 3 day festival, we stayed at Videa until about 4am or so, then went out to a local afterparty, and then an after-after party.  The first night we went out with RoToK, a local VJ.  This particular picture was taken after we took a detour from the winding streets, through some wrought iron gates, and down a catacomb like tunnel until we finally heard music faintly pounding from underground.

 We found a door that seemed to merge into the surrounding walls, then headed down many stairs, to what seemed like a unused bomb shelter or something, to a raging techno party.  Here we are heading back up to go onto our next unknown destination.
Somewhere around 8am we ended up at a party that was so full, there was a huge line of people outside, but somehow our host, RoToK, spoke some magic Spanish words, and we were granted entry.  It was rammed inside, and as hot as a pizza oven.  One of my friends from Amsterdam (I'm not going to say who at the moment, I don't want one of them to get in trouble with his girlfriend), met this girl who was happy to model his recently purchased sunglasses for us. She seemed particularly friendly, no doubt in part due to the copious amounts of liquor and other items people were consuming. 
   So it wasn't a surprise that soon I catch the two of them smooching....of course I am there to capture the moment for future blackmail.
   So, many hours later, and much fun had, and they are still going at it.  The party had mostly cleared out by now, and wouldn't you know, but someone just happens to pop out of the woodwork to serenade the two.  
  So my Amsterdam friends, with new girl in tow, and myself left, walking back towards our hotel.  On our way, we come across this concrete park.  Now I don't know how it is in your city, but I found it a little odd (but it was a pleasant surprise), to find a DJ spinning electronic music with a pretty good sized speaker array, around 11am Friday morning in the park.   
It was starting to rain, and I suppose the girl had maybe drank a little too much, and...who knows.., so she promptly passed out.  We made sure she was still breathing and all, and yes, but we could not bring her around.
 So we carried her to shelter (given that I didn't take too many pictures on my trip, retrospectively, I wonder what I was thinking, as I chose what to shoot....oh well.... ), and sat with her and some local street musicians and jammed and talked (I'm not too good at Spanish, but it's interesting to try and carry on a conversation with someone when you really can't speak each other's language)...

I got back to my hotel a bit after 4pm, and realized that it might not be such a good idea for me to fall asleep, seeing that I had a seminar to give at 8:30 as part of the festival, somehow I didn't think I might wake up on time.  But of course, when your body really needs to sleep, there's not too much you can do, so I promptly passed out from exhaustion.   Somehow I woke up a while later, but had no clue what time it was and had a dreadful feeling that I had slept too much, and missed my presentation.  Lucky me, my magic internal clock had done it again, it was 8:05 pm, so I gather up the clutter of papers and my laptop, and grab a taxi for the conference centre.  

I had to talk for 90 minutes.  Now my theory has always been that if you know your topic really well, you don't really need to plan it out too much, because everyone hates those boring presentations when it seems like the presenter is just reading something.  I like to jot down a few key points as a framework, then chat about it, trying to engage the audience in the conversation, and keep things interesting.  Whadda ya know, it worked out, and before I know it, my time was up, and I still had stuff I wanted to say....I guess that's why my website is good: I have tons of stuff I want to tell all of you, crazy ideas in my head, and I am gradually able to find time and words to type it out, and put it here.  So lucky I am to have you here reading this...THANK YOU!....ok, I stop babbling now...
That evening, after my presentation, the party at VideA was going on of course, but at about 4am, I found myself drawn to the wacky Barcelona nightlife again.  We initially found ourselves at a place called club Japan, that was a cool gothic cyberpunk kind of place.  We left there at about 7am, and heading to this afterparty at a club called "PINK".  In this picture you can see someone dancing on the bar with his 8 foot boa-constrictor wrapped around him.
The next evening I ended up at another underground venue, this time, a wicked live jazz club.
I'm going to write more on all this shortly, I just have to go out now, and wanted to post this link.  This was my room in the country at the VideA artist's retreat.
View from the house we stayed in, on the balcony.
   lunch time...almost...
   In the headspace van heading towards the train station.