We call them VJs

…but it’s not really fair. It’s a misleding term since VJs usually create their own material (unlike a DJ). I think it was Jean Poole who first pointed that out to me, many years ago. Anyway. I started writing this post as a reply to “Which European VJs are there?” but then I digressed, and then it turned into this. Feel free to complain!

I’ve written before about the popularity of glitch in the chipscene. In Europe Gijs Gieskes (nl), RealMyop (fr) and Kissdub (fr) are some of the foremost 8-bit glitcherz, although people like Karl Klomp (nl) and Rosa Menkman (nl) also work with low bits every now and then. In USA there’s e.g. Notendo and No Carrier who work with glitching the NES – in hard and soft ways.

For a VJ, it seems pretty common to be stuck in a corner somewhere playing for something that you don’t even know what it is. But there are a number of closer cooperations between musicians and visualists. Distortled Box (es) work in the glitch field. Meneo (es) have/had Entter (es) on the visuals. ZX Spectrum Orchestra (uk) did some über-fresh audiovisual sets straight from the machine. 8GB (ar) did both music and visuals for his performances.

Just like with music, the 8-bit visual tools are quite poor when it comes to interaction, afaik. If demo coders weren’t so obsessed with non-interactive things the situation would be different, of course. Imagine if there were more things like VBLANK’s VJ on a chip, or Atari Video Music or all those crazy visualizers from Jeff Minter. Since it’s all code, it should be more easy and obvious to add interactive features. If all those 32-byte-thingies were interactive, it wouldn’t take many floppies for a full night’s VJ-set!

I believe Paris (us) was talking about this a few years ago, as a key feature of making visuals from scratch with old tech. With his background in analogue modulations and physics, he should know.

Anyway: one of the titans of low-res VJing is the C-men (nl). Starting as a duo, it’s now a one-man army who’s brought his Amigas around for over a decade, and not only for chip-related gigs. His visuals don’t use the “8-bit aesthetics” even if they technically are.

Two of my favourite VJs are Otro (fr) and Raquel Meyers (se). While Otro is perhaps more known for graphic design, his VJ-sets are incredible aswell. Raquel has recently taken an interesting turn into the text mode world, with e.g. 2SLEEP1 (together with yours truly). Both them have also made a few works for the demoscene.

And finally: Enso (us) has a nice psychedelic flair to his visuals, Pikilipita (fr/uk) made VJ-software for e.g. the GBA and VjVISUALOOP (it) seems to have made some nice stuff. Now I’m going to eat, but please comment about all the VJs I’ve forgotten here!

Btw: lulz @ writing a post about visuals that only contains text.


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