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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
“If utopias are nowhere, microtopias are everywhere.”
Microtopias never stay the same. They are alive. Like an audience, they move, respond and engage.
The concert was harmonious in its differences, overlapping in a seamless manner. It took the microtopias concept of a shared world, applying it to the worlds of music, theater, poetry and live audio/visual mixing.
Everything was fantastic and vital to the concert. The pianos. Brad Hougham’s angelic voice. The poetry brought to life. The visuals. My favorite use of the visual mixing was the combination of past rehearsal films and in-the-moment monologues. Also the overlap of close ups on hands with the larger shot of the piano performances was unique and strikingly beautiful.
Each aspect of the concert was a small place, a microtopia within the microtopia of the concert.
The performers, the visuals, the music all engaged in a conversation with each other, but also with the audience. They broke all performance boundaries — because there are no such things as boundaries within a microtopia. The possibilities are endless. Grow and see the world with different eyes and different perspectives; acknowledge different concepts.
For example, the purple fabric was transformational. Depending on the context, the small space within the concert, the fabric went from water to a small child being sung a lullaby. At one point, when the fabric represented the tide, it skimmed my foot as it was dragged down the stairs. Invested in the concert and the moment, I could have sworn water trickled over my toes.
But even with its different purposes, the transparent cloth was a constant throughout the entire concert. It was a staple uniting the pieces. It also united the audience, being carried over the their heads. The moment when everyone reached up, mystified, to touch the fabric was extremely powerful.
Jairo Geronymo told me this concert would be different than anything I ever could expect. He was so right. The Concert for Microtopias flooded me with passion and moved me to tears -- it shocked me in all the best ways possible. And now all I want to do is talk about it.
Welcome to FLEFF week.
Monday, March 26, 2012
FLEFF Week 2012 has begun! Conversations about the microtopias installation have been bustling all over campus and the artists have made their way into Ithaca. As a matter of fact, I am in the Park auditorium right now at Art Jones' master class about remixing, new media, and the arts of collaboration.
A generous introduction by Patty Zimmerman starts the workshop about how Art Jones has found his niche in the artistic world and addresses the way his inventive style defined a new, live VJ remix aesthetic. Following this opening, we got a little more into the details about what he does and how he does it.
After commenting on how remixing was popularized by modern culture and the MTV network, he elaborated upon its use – a personal use – as an individualized methodology. Art Jones’ artistry germinated with the creation of experimental films and documentaries about hip-hop and he developed a passion to translate these strategies to another art form - music.
"But why go live?" Zimmerman asks. "What's wrong with media that is fixed and is start to finish?"
"Absolutely nothing!" Jones chuckles. "Except when I started doing it, I was just a few years out of film school…but became so inspired by music that could engage audiences. I waned to remove the boundary between so-called high culture [galleries, museums] and low culture. I grew up in the Bronx where hip-hop was assembled. Hip-hop was on the low end. It would be better to find a way to organically integrate things that inspired me like hip-hop and generally electronic music."
One of the most striking things that came up during this conversation was his perspective that there was a sense of chaos that can cohere with moments. In response, Art Jones adopted a music model rather than a cinema model. If we think about music, whether it’s hip-hop, a rock band or fantastic pianists, the ephemerality of a still image is enhanced by the power of a continuous audio track through digital mixing and music processing.
If you missed the opportunity to attend his class today, make sure you check out his digital and remixing mastery at The Concert for Microtopias tomorrow night at 8:15 PM in Hackett Recital Hall! And as for a sneak preview of what to expect? "A generative art process in sense of the imagery [and] organic, biological structure that can grow the microtopia...It's going to be challenging and totally new!"
And for more current updates, make sure you follow FLEFF_IC on Twitter!
Monday, March 26, 2012
Before there were computers and iPods, he utilized simple CD players and VHS decks.
He bought it just before getting on the bus to Ithaca, because he forgot his regular mixer at home.
Or so a teacher once told him. Art uses this as a challenge to create films with meaning.
Four or more levels are woven and 'built' within a single mix, from still images to text to moving images to animations, and more.
"There is a huge difference between what you see represented, and what you see being there."
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Blog post written by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, NJ
"What does a DJ do?" Art Jones asks in response to my question.
A DJ at an event pools music from multiple sources, mixes and edits them through spontaneous editing to suit the audience, creating a mixture of songs and moods that is eventually "greater than the sum."
A VJ executes the same remixing and audience reading, except visually.
And what do you need to VJ? "A place with a projector."
A first-time FLEFF visitor this year, Art Jones is excited at the prospects of what may come - in fact, he isn't even sure how his own remixing class will proceed!
With this comment, Art laughs. That may be exaggerating to a degree, but mystery and spontaneity is what truly creates an authentic remixing experience. Most of what his class entails depends on the audience, the mood, how he choses to remix at that point in time.
This element of surprises mean one thing - the only way to truly understand DJ/VJ-ing lies in the experience.
Come see for yourself just what possibilities Art may unfold here during FLEFF week.
During FLEFF week, Art Jones will host a master class titled Live Remix Revisited (Monday 3:00pm, Park Auditorium, Ithaca College) and contribute his DJ/VJ skills to the Concert for Microtopias (Tuesday 8:15pm, Hockett Hall, Ithaca College)