Interview Stuff

ok, maybe this page says something about my ego, maybe not, whatever the case, I don't have a ton of time to answer every last email that comes into my box in a timely fashion, so I have put up this page with links to interview related stuff.

1: Octapod/Jean Poole's Interview with me
2: Rough Text from Octapod/JP's Interview, pre-distilled:

>How did the AudioVisualizers site come about?
& >What about your own involvement with live video?

1991: In university, I was lucky enough to get into the Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies program, which in essence let me design my own degree. I split my time between two primary things, 1: developing our VoiceBBS software, which was a telephone based system using similar tech as telephone dating systems, just with a slightly different focus. And 2: exploring my fascination with technology with an interactive 3D video/installation approach.

I had a gallery showing, but wanted to reach a wider audience, as I had poured so much of myself into the project & wanted to share this enthusiasm. I soon found myself at raves and related events with a tiny video projector and other gear, showing my video and doing live A/V mixing.

I left university with my soon to be business partner to develop custom telecom software, but soon found myself spending more frequent weekends at parties to take the edge off the growing stress from my type-A working lifestyle while my partner built a body modification based web magazine. What ended up happening eventually, is that we drifted to evolving our hobby lives into full time gigs, and although initially a bit poorer, we were a lot happier. 

I did shows for many years, and always wanted to have some sort of a website to promote and highlight my work, but I didn't have a clue about html, and didn't want to learn at the time, although friends assured me it was easy. My partner owed me some favors, and was supposed to create a site for me, but it never seemed to happen, he always seemed to be too busy. So after many trials & tribulations in my life, in the summer of 1999 I found myself 
with some time on my hands, and sat down and put my mind to it - and the site has evolved as a sort of online photo album about
my life and my interests in video performance art and related fields since then, and to this day.

> What are some of the benefits / drags of having such a popular site?

The whole point of starting my site was to connect with the myriad of other creative people across the globe. Now I've "virtually met" over a thousand
artists of all ages, many of whom send frequent emails to update me on their activities. I do love to get mail, but sometimes it gets a little overwhelming, trying to answer everything in a timely manner, as well as do web updates, do shows, & keep social lest I become too much of a nerd.  But overall it's very rewarding and worthwhile, and has opened up increasing possibilities of international travel to do shows, something that I'm more and more interested in these days.

>How much VJ software do u manage to sell thru the site?

I never meant to have a commercial angle at all, aside from promoting myself and my act, but in late 2000, I started an FTP to trade & share video loops and clips with other video artists. Eventually, the FTP was shut down due to bandwidth costs, but the content I amassed gradually became the basis for our VJ Loop CDR Exchange Archive.  The idea here is simple: I figured that DJ's typically play other people's music (although a lot of them also produce their own tracks too), and they have fairly short sets as compared to a VJ. VJ's however, largely create their own content, and we all know how long it takes 
to produce computer graphics, from concept, to the final "gee, maybe I'll take a little nap now", render process. So with a 10 hour set,  and four or more layers of content, the VJ potentially needs 40 hours of content. I figured that it made sense for VJ's from around the world to share and trade content, being that a VJ from Sydney, Amsterdam and Miami don't likely infringe in each others market areas. So the CDR Exchange came about, and I started to mail CDR's all over the world.

It wasn't intended as a money making project, but I soon began to fall a bit into the hole cash flow wise, as I was sending out so many CDR's to people, in hopes of a trade from them. So I started selling the discs for a few dollars, and in the past year have sent out over 3.5 Terabytes of content on CDR & DVDR, however mostly for free. This gave rise to the idea that I might as well sell VJ software too, and now I distribute hard to get and otherwise cool visual performance software. I sell about a dozen or so applications each month, and the profits I make off that, and other things help to subsidize the
growing services we offer via the site. 

>What's your favorite Mac and PC software?
>What are today's interesting developments in video software and hardware?

I've always been a PC user, and didn't get a G4 until about 6 months ago. On the PC, my favorite is Channel 3's software, actually their original software. I don't know the story of their new SVD1 product, I think their company is going through some shifts though. I think the future of VJ software to a certain extent will combine real-time 3D models with texture mapped live and digital video, with integrated video mixing, real-time FX & layering, as well as sound responsive FFT based visuals. With the advent of ever faster computers and graphic accelerators, the possibilities for increasingly realistic real-time artificial reality
generation is seemingly endless. 

On the mac, I'm not really sure what to tell you. I don't use my Mac much other than to burn cdrs/dvdrs, use Final Cut Pro, and run my VJ Loop Server.

>What sort of shifts have you noticed within video since developing the site?

Sort of like TV, how does video really shift? It can shift one moment to the next within a person's conceptual modification of it brought to form. One of the things that really interests me is some sort of human interface technology, to directly control the video stream. Early work in this field has brought us some spectacular real-time video synthesizers, my research into which actually provided a lot of the  foundation for the website. As much as I like the virtually limitless
bounds of software potential, there comes a time when either on it's own or in combination with, hardware is only the real way to cut it. Many friends are a whiz with software, but admittedly I can't hack it -  I really prefer an intuitive approach to hardware design. Know the basics, and just start to experiment. With a live circuit - at least videowise, this is safe and quite simplistic, and you can see exactly what you're affecting. I think video will continue to shift and be still, despite the likely advances in the field. There are many ideas that will converge and part, but I think the real shift at least on the live performance angle, will result in a synchrony of audio, video, laser, and true performance art, navigated by a single person. 

>You've recently added links for building your own LCD projector - how hard is it? (have u made one ? how bright is it? )

Although I made a prototype several years ago, the recent DIY article is more the result of pooling info from several other enthusiasts, and documenting their work in this field. The unit I made some time ago was essentially a slide projector with a small color LCD in place of the slide. It was thus as approximately bright as a standard slide projector, although the picture was a bit more pixilated than I'd hoped for. I've been meaning to get around to putting something a bit
more professional together, but I'm sure I'll get to that soon enough. In the mean time, there is ample info on the site to allow just about anyone to put together a decent video projector for under $300.

>Some urls with your video work on them?

I'd also be happy to mail a few CDR's with both my work and from some other video artists that have given me permission to distribute their work, to anyone that's interested. Just email me at and include your mailing address, and I'll send them off to you.

>Future interests?

I'm really intrigued by esoteric electronic consciousness alteration technology, & hope to integrate it into my performances in the near future. 

Think of the bass bins on stage...they are TRANSDUCERS. In this case taking an electrical signal and translating it into an acoustic one. Imagine a synthesizer that generates complex waveforms that effect the audio and video but also drive a transducer array, pumping out electromagnetic fields. This may give us the ability to DJ another person's head if you will. 

I have been experimenting with forefront technologies for some time now, and although synchronized binaural sound and 3D visuals & lasers are quite
amazing, gradually bringing closer a truly synesthesic experience, I believe the future of entertainment and consciousness alteration lends itself to the use of bioelectromagnetic neural interfacing technology. 

3: From: 
(this email is only partially answered)
> You seem to have a lot of knowledge in this field and it would be really
> helpful if you could answer a few questions for me.

Sygee: I'm on the road with occasional access to the internet, and even infrequent access to power sometimes, due to remote jungle locations, but
I have some time now, so we'll see what I can come up with. I'm actually just finishing up an interview for an Australian magazine called 3D world
or something like that, and since many of your questions are similar, I'm going to skip some of yours, and attach that interview in hopes that will be
ok, as I have a fair bit of emails to answer this morning. anyway....:)

> What got you into this career? Technology, art or entertainment...
> Do you consider your work entertainment or art?

answered mostly in the attached other interview... But briefly here:

I always was extremely interested in technology, I didn't really care for art least in the sense that I wasn't too good at it; I could never
draw the human form at all properly, and it seemed like even though I had lots of crazy stuff in my head, it'd never come out right. Also from the 
viewer perspective, I went with my family when I was young to so many art gallery openings, and you name it, it became a little overwhelming, and I
felt a bit out of place. I would laugh to myself as people would study a painting, then someone else would approach, and they'd launch into this
pseudo intellectual conversation about the painting, or the deeper issues behind it. I always thought there was more art, at least in the performance
sense, whether they knew it or not, displayed by the people themselves.  

I think that one thing that art does for me it to transport me somewhere. And with video art and related performance and installation technologies,
this is now possible even more than previously hoped virtual experiences perhaps. Since I early expected myself not having too much 
talent as a so called "artist", I'd just do my thing technology wise, and I could just call it art - I also could get away with far more performance
based research in my mad scientist headspace by calling it art, even if there was a way deeper scientific focus. As for the entertainment angle,
I'm really into this, after all, why shouldn't anything that can hold our collective interest be entertaining? I think it's a requirement these days,
so many short attention spans brought about by over prescription of Ritalin, and a bombardment of MTV style visual experience just about anytime you 
turn on the television, etc. 

This bombardment really intrigues me, the overwhelming of the senses to break through to a new level of perception. Something where perhaps 
all the impact is felt at once, as many things slip by, and resurface retrospectively.

> Where does your work get displayed?

It started with gallery spaces and chill out rooms, but soon progressed to main spaces of large raves and electronic music events. I've actually  scaled back the # of shows I do, fairly drastically in recent years. There were times I was doing two shows in a night, running back and forth between venues. But now I find myself doing more web related work, and spending a fair bit of time in my studio, cooking up crazy new ideas - mainly on the technology/hardware design side of things lately, but that will probably shift back to video art stuff soon. I now tend to prefer to do the occasional international show, because I get to fly over to
some place I've never been before, meet wonderful people I've only conversed with on the web previously, and exhibit my work to a whole new
set of eyes. I think I'll get back into doing smaller gallery based installations and related performance events in the near future as well.

> What technologies do you use for your work?

Any and everything that I can get my hands on! In university, when I was working on one of my first interactive video installations, since I wasn't in the true "art" or film departments, we didn't have access to all of their state of the art. It was this weird situation where the other departments were looking at us in the interdisciplinary department as strangers, not focusing on anything really but pulling from all areas. I think you'll agree this is a benefit, but anyway, suffice it to say that our departments budget really sucked, so I had to scrounge and figure stuff out on my own.

This lead me to garbage bins and surplus stores, and networking with many soon to be friends who lent me temporarily use of their gear. I was always
into electronics from a young age, and so I took things apart, modified them, built many kooky circuits to bend and twist video every which way, even
though I didn't exactly know what I'd get out of it all after I threw the switch. I spent so much time experimenting and playing, and recorded all
of my output, then at the end of the day, combed through it, and pulled pieces together that I liked to use as samples for my piece. I think it's
really important to disregard what people say you can or cannot do with a particular technology, and just go for it! Void your warranty, pull 
something apart and try and decipher how it works, route outputs back into inputs creating electronic fractal loops, and inject and pull off signals
anywhere that suits your fancy. 

I had originally thought that not really having a budget would be disadvantageous, but soon found it was the opposite, as it forced me to be inventive and creative, rather than relying on the accumulation and usage of "the next best thing".

> What technology is your favorite at the moment, and why?

> Is there any new or old technology that you would like to try?
> What and why?

> Do you use PC or Mac? Is there a big difference now?

Already answered in the other interview. But briefly: I don't think there's a big difference, so many components are interchangeable between platforms now. You could argue inherent strengths or weaknesses in a particular OS or whatever, but I really don't bother to think about it. Perhaps an installation you're planning will function better with software that is only available for the Mac, and you're a pc person, or vice versa. I think you have to choose the tools that suit your requirements at the time, and explore them to their potential. I only recently got a Mac, and I'm quite happy about it, as I can finally check out that weird Japanese disc I got from someone 10 years ago, and more importantly for digital video sampling, ensure cross platform compatibility - but who knows, I like 'em both. :)

> Do you use any software or hardware for your work?

> Which for editing, and what for live mixing?

> Which ones do you like best?

> What other medias do you work with?

> Do you work a lot with other artists? Do you use other people's work for
> your work?

> What are your thoughts on the digital revolution?