First software turned the laptop into a musical instrument. Now who's in control: the machine or the musician? It's Sunday night at Open Air, a small, sleek lounge in downtown Manhattan. A couple dozen musicians, DJs, and bedroom hackers huddle around the bar or relax on couches. Many are toting computers. The atmosphere is trendy but soothing: Exposed wood conjures a California vibe that counterbalances the space-station chill; sunsets and moonscapes float across a wall of flat-panel displays. Everyone's paying more attention to their laptop screens than to the art on the walls - making the scene more home-brew computer club than East Village bohemia.
Issue #214, December 2001 - Ether Talk - Dispatches from the digital domain. This month: Anthony Huberman investigates new forums for artistic interchange
Electronic artists are spending their Sunday afternoons amid the mod surroundings of Open Air Cafe in New York's East Village for a media jam known as Share. Nearing its one-year anniversary the Share event allows laptop musicians and video artists to plug into a mixer or log on wirelessly and collaborate on freeform music and video collage pieces.
As the tech-sector of the economy collapses around us, one may assume
that the vision of computer technology which fueled the tech-based stock
market boom of the late 1990s must also vanish into the past. But was
there anything even remotely visionary
? What did it ever have to do with the arts? It had
well-nigh everything to do with the Nasdaq
Sound bubbles through my computer speakers: bursts of electronica, beeps and voices mingle, while a psychedelic jigsaw of images appears and disintegrates. It's 'Share,' a weekly assemblage of audio and video mixed live in NYC and web cast to the world. by Helen Varley Jamieson
o.blaat, a.k.a. Keiko Uenishi, and her laptop computer visit Spinning On Air. A lot of new electronic music will be heard, including material by Toshio Kajiwara, DJ Olive, Marina Rosenfeld, Miguel Frasconi, Lord of Spears & Whiteleaf, and Kenta Nagai. O.blaat will tell us about the "plug and play" scene, where musicians plug their portable electronics into a soundsystem and perform or jam together, and brand new electronic music will be made as o.blaat plugs in her PowerBook into WNYC's console, and plays for us live.
If you have gone to a progressive bar or club in the past year, the type that really cares who their DJ is, chances are increasingly likely that you've also seen some sort of dynamic visuals being projected on a nearby surface and some nerdy type with a powerbook G4 lurking around the DJ booth with their own personal labyrinth of wires and cables and fader boxes.
In a jam at Openair, an East Village bar, Michael Berk played a digital synthesis of his multi-instrumental sounds.
Visit Openair, in Manhattan's East Village on a sunday night, and you'll see figures huddling over electronic devices, while images morph and flutter on a screen and sounds reverberate in strange sequences.
2003 was the breakthrough year for VJ culture and the hype seems to continue.
This year D-FUSE and Lumens will publish a major VJ book -- canonizing trends
in ink and paper. VJ communities are growing; building their own networks and
organizing VJ festivals where artists come together to display their latest
work and debate over the future of VJing at roundtable discussions.