July 21st, 2005


Hey VJ!

Well, I'm back in Berlin, and for the next week or so I'm working on two design-related articles, one about a Japanese fashion company, the other about VJing. By "VJ" I don't mean the person who presents the videos on MTV (do they even have videos on MTV these days?) but the person who designs and "performs" graphics projected during the presentation of music in a nightclub or concert hall. And I'd like your help. Here's a little questionnaire which I'd love you to answer in the Comments section. Include an e mail address if you like, so that I can write to you.

1. You're not a VJ yourself, but you have a favorite VJ or a peak experience in a dark place involving the combination of visuals and music. Tell me about it!

2. You are a VJ yourself. Tell me about your work! Do you have a website?

3. What experience do you have of VJ hardware and software? Name names! Tell me your good and bad experiences with various packages. Have you customized your software or hardware?

4. What's your live set-up? Do you mix live feed from cameras in the club (or arena, if you're that big!) with pre-recorded graphic loops? Do you doodle on top of found Super 8? How do you work?

5. Is your work a collaboration, and if so, who does what? Do you consider the bands you work with clients or collaborators?

6. Tell me about being a designer who works in real time, there in the club, responding to unpredictable events. Is it, well, like playing an endless sax solo or something? Isn't that a tough thing to do, to "design" right there in public, in real time?

7. How would you like to see VJing develop in the future? Are there amazing new capabilities you'd like to see built into software? (Personally, I'd like to see "the scent organ" from Brave New World implemented.)

8. Question for the audience. Do you actually watch what's on the screen behind the band? Where does it take you, if anywhere? Is less more, or is more more?

9. Um, a question about Marshall McLuhan might fit here. Marshall McLuhan and lava lamps and Pink Floyd and the gesamtkunswerk and living in a gloopy web of electronic goo... Have all the arts come together? Is it a big meltdown or a big letdown? Should we all go and read a good book instead?

10. Is there anything I didn't ask you and should have? Oh, okay: "But is it art?"

(The picture is of Japanese design geniuses Delaware playing live at Club Milk, Ebisu, June 2001, which gives me another chance to link to their lovely song Graphic Designin' in the Rain.)