LPM’15

Just _barely_ managed to squeeze in a trip to Rome to attend this year’s Live Performers Meeting, but I’m so glad I went! While it might have not been as “out there” as the Cape Town meeting two years ago (that one was my first, so for sure it will always be special), for me personally it was an important few days.
As usual at LPM, I was able to meet, again or for the first time, a bunch of talented, interesting and crazy people with similar interests, watch a couple of inspiring performances, receive and/or exchange useful info, network a little.

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Same as in 2013 in SA, I presented a short (15min this time) performance based on the videosystem I am developing. What two years ago was more of a draft, or a very strange tech-demo (thanks again to the kind viewers who forgave the numerous glitches and were able to see a potential despite many problems), this time it had to be more of a self-contained end-product, no excuses.

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While the various components and themes of the show materialised at random times within the last 8 months, it all only came together quite recently, within the month preceding the premiere. I hadn’t originally even planned to showcase my new stuff at this year’s LPM, nor in this particular format… It’s just that at some point of working with the ERG code, between continually adding features I always thought sorely missing, producing small segments of material with various purpose and motivation, receiving friends’ opinions about what works and what doesn’t, I suddenly felt I arrived somewhere new. Actually, I was also a little bit pissed off after a collab which didn’t work out, and decided to do the sound myself as well, as desperate as it seemed at the time. All this meant that all throughout my last 4.5 week leave (during which I travelled between Ireland, Poland and Portugal) I was always dragging my backbreakingly heavy development laptop with me, along with other pieces of equipment, and using every available free slice of time to compose music, sequence scenes, fix showstopping bugs, and generally make the “machineparanoia” set happen. It was, simply put, a completely insane thing for me to do.

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Somehow, through the power of a definite deadline, not forgetting the extreme  patience of everyone around me during that time, I managed to complete the set with even some time to rehearse it properly. Actually, it was probably the most rehearsed piece of vj’ing I have ever done, as somehow in the past I always tended to run out of time while still adding bits of crucial code few minutes before a public presentation (I know, terrible.. But when you write the software you use yourself, it is more difficult to avoid). The idea of using actual fresh snippets of LPM footage in the final segment, and some parallel video/audio filter shenanigans were added on the morning of the day of performance. Sure, having a little bit more time would probably mean more polish and few more improvements, but funnily enough, I didn’t feel I had to scale back a lot from my original idea in the end. On the contrary, I found that some of the things I personally think worked best were easy, almost last minute, plug-and-play-style additions that just suddenly seemed the most obvious things to do at not very much additional expense…

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Not being a musician, and being this time fully responsible for the sound, I was obviously worried how ‘machineparanoia’ will sound… This set is all about the close interplay of sound and image, induced synaesthesia. During a quick soundcheck a few hours before, I couldn’t quite recognize the patterns after they came through the sound system of Stage 2. So, big thanks to the stage technician for sorting out the setup in time, because in the end it all sounded great and dynamic, as far as I could tell with my untrained ear. Now, I realize the music was very rudimentary, but I think it captured some kind of energy that the AV set required, and the full synchronisation with video paid off. Someone asked about the music afterwards, which was probably just them being really sweet, but it felt very good at the time 🙂
Anyway, I hereby promise to work hard on improving my musical skills for all the future sets!! 🙂

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Being live and real life, of course not everything worked out perfectly, and I had a few missteps, breaking the flow here and there… If you watch the performance vid linked below, you’ll surely spot finger trouble at a few junctures. Well, at least you know for sure I wasn’t playing back a canned video. Just raw live unadulterated improv always from VJ Rybyk!! 😉

If you weren’t there and are curious, you can watch the whole perf here (if possible, select the 1080p quality):

machineparanoia live @ LPM’15 | VJ RYBYK

Hope you enjoy, do send me a note if you have any comments, if you are interested in a collab, or if you want to know, for example, how a particular effect was achieved.

-Rob

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