I would like to continue the discussion started yesterday with adding some more thoughts about the whole state of affair with vjing. Its a later post from the thread on VJforum which has drawn now a lot of oldschoolers on that board and is shaping up to steer a debate on the fundamentals of vjing. My take on it:
To everyone pushing the "AV" thing - I do not believe in it - visuals are bad enough already diverting even more attention away from them toward the audio side will make them only worse - except when you speak of pre-made visuals that are played without interaction on a predefined musical set - but then its hard to speak of "vjing" anymore nor of "live audio".
To the "silent" VJs - of which practically I am one since 6 years - we suck. Have you actually really asked the crowed after the gig how they liked the visuals? Not your friends not people involved with vjing - normal guests? Its a nonevent and most of the time I guess it would have the same effect on them as just playing a prerecorded dvd.
Being narcissistic and saying "oh I play with the big audio guys on the big stages in front of lots of people" is just taking out the audience - which ultimately is your client - completely out of the equation. They don´t care (even if they subconsciously might be a little stimulated by the flicker flacker on the screen). Most would like the venues darker anyways and video does brighten up any club. Why is that? They want to escape and we are not catering to their escape as its too complex to undefined what happens on the screen to actually move people.
Now there are a some groups of VJs. One group makes most money with concepts, service and technic. These are the most "professional" vjs and those that get the most money. They in my opinion make the worst art as their time is spend with lumen, cabling and MHz.
Then there is the AV crowd - second ranking in money making as they can get gigs mostly for their audio material - the video is just an addon - and mostly it looks like just an addon - making an atmosphere more then a message.
Then there are those that can market themself very good - they spend more time making contacts and traveling around the world then actually producing content and thinking about what they are doing.
Then there are those who follow with all their heart - they are the ones truly believing in their pictures and mostly they have the best visuals to present - they make an average amount of money - not nearly enough to live off it but enough to follow it through long enough to get a reputation in a small field - some break out - not many, its the field which I give most support to but it has also suffered a lot and has not shown any breakthroughs in the last years I would say mostly because of lack of funds and therefore the same lack of time the first three groups suffer....
Then there are the computer geeks or people who generally want to do something in the club and see the vjing as an opertunity - most of the vj newcomers that I have seen fall in this category - I think they have to learn a lot.
and then some are a litte mix of all these which doesn´t make it any better for them - most problem beeing time (and money which is then converted back into time)
What they all have in common is that they are missing the point of what they are having in their hand - its a medium and a medium has to speak a message to stay relevant as a medium because a medium without content is a dead medium. And that is shown in the reaction of the punters - please take of the pink glasses and look from a neutral standpoint at the status quo. It has not changed since 5 years - only more vjs thingies are happening and the public knows about what a vj is but generally they think the same about the actual visuals in club - it has not changed a tiny bit and with the overall mentality that all is good and we need to celebrate ourself in selfmade polls and selfmade "battles" this will only get worse. What is needed is a true research on how to reach out to the guests how to touch them - we have utterly failed in that regard and not because "audio is stronger" - that this is not the case can be seen in any larger cinema - try to turn off the visuals there and the experience is mostly gone.
And to all those who try to tell me that "vjing" needs to get out of the club - go to hell.
VJing is a child of the club scene and if you want to do "live" cinema I have to tell you that I - as a vj - question any reason for this - there is no crowd to vow with your visuals beeing live - when they sit neatly in their theater seats - there is no public feedback from them that would make the performance better then a precut cinema - and that is the medium stand up to in that space. So no feedback from audience to react to no need to make anything live - simple as that - and old school cinema does still work extremely good in that regard making it live does not add much value on top of that other then you constantly remind the audience that they are not part of the film - as happens in normal cinema because some stylo is standing on stage clicking on his computer.
There are some niches in theater which I do not count out but there again where does the vj stop being a technician and start being an artist and isn´t it there the actual guy triggering the right video at the right moment is just like the light guy pushing the right button as formerly tried in rehearsals and that the preproduction for a theater is just normal video postproduction that has been going on for years and years and years? No need to re:term that being "vjing".
Now if you all do not believe me make a test: Try playing the best set in your life for an hour rock da shit out of your loops and your gear - best in an environment that you always thought is appreachiating the visuals. Now after that our plonk in dvd that is prerecorded even really shitty something that contrasts your highly valuable work or maybe just put on an iTunes screensaver. Then lean back and relax and wait for anyone complaining or anyone - outside of your friends circle actually talking to you that you are shit and that the visuals before were much better or go into the crowd and start conversations about how shitty you think the visuals are right now. less then 1% will have noticed that there was actually a change and about half of these 1% will be offended the rest of 99.5% of the crowd will neither have noticed anything or will just outrightly declare that they do not care and that they think visuals should be turned off because they brighten up the room too much.
As said I have not given up but seeing the lack of progress in the scene and the reluctancy to even admit that we are having the same problems that we have talked about in 2001 - even though we are having a public perception as persons now - we need to refocus that perception on the visuals themself but I guess a lot of vjs are afraid of this because that would mean to reflect and put it in contrast - maybe even with traditional media and that outlook is mostly bleak and is hardly to overcome with the small budgets and time constrains we are all having.
and as a small answer to mondos:
>>my original point was that the dj mag forum is shite! and it is they who are pretty clueless about vjs and themselves for that matter
They are the guests they are the ones looking from an outside standpoint towards our visuals and what they say is much more unfiltered then anything on here where any and everyone is biased toward their "art" and their approach to that "art". I highly value outside commentary like this as this reflects what the outside world is thinking about our product. And from my experience as guest in clubs I can only say their comments speaking more then the truth about the feeling the crowd is having down their on the floor. I also know that when you wear the vj hat in the same club you try to believe that it is not the case to make your underpaid nightlong gig not a nightmare.