Putting Brother ineaux to bed

Light Night seems light years ago now, but due to some massive upheavals at ineaux towers I’ve not had chance for my customary review of proceedings. So here goes…

Setup seemed to take an age, the best part of 2 days on and off. In the process I got soaked to the skin several times and thought I’d broken one of the fancy (read expensive) projectors I’d hired, but it was well worth it and not just for the end result. Leeds Uni amazingly trusted me with keys to their roof and tower, meaning I was free to come and go as I pleased and enjoy the amazing views as I did so. I was even treated to a double, at times treble, rainbow whilst up there.

If you’re interested in the technical details, in essence there were 2 projectors projecting a double width extended desktop. The visuals were running through vj software Resolume, which allowed me to move the head side to side, and trigger a short video loop in response to my voice. That was how the lip synching worked. Audio was transmitted to a series of radios, plugged into some modified megaphones for those authentic authoritarian instructions.

What was it all about? The central premise was an imagined capitalist dystopia, where consumption and conformity rules were enforced by men from the Ministry, with Brother ineaux as their mouthpiece. Simples! There were also nods to Shepherd Faireys Obey project, in which he imagined Andre the Giant as a counter-cultural Big Brother. Hence the scrolling OBEY sign, which was also ideal for setup and testing.

On the night it all worked a treat and I had some great feedback. I’d not practised my rants, just working out the basic concepts of what I wanted to say, and then going for it freeform on the night. I think I got better as I went on.

Unfortunately I think that as the night went on the radio reception slipped a little so it became increasingly unclear what I was saying, but then again some folk thought that added to the appeal of it.

Then a strange thing happened. Around 10pm it was like someone flicked a switch and the self obsessed, destructive, conformist society I’d been parodying came to life before my eyes. This was personified in the fact that some really drunk idiots, flyering for the Quilted Lhama underneath one of the megaphones decided to have a pop at it. After much trying they eventually managed to climb up and pull down the radio, though not without some difficulty as the whole thing was cable tied to the sign on the lamp-post. Massively pissed off I sought out the Night Porter, who I needed to let me out of the building, stormed down and demanded the radio back whilst giving them a piece of my mind. They were too drunk to care. I retired to my lofty viewpoint, and Brother ineaux had a change of heart, a proper road to Damascus conversion! So strange how life imitated art. In the end, I just let the OBEY sign scroll for a while, and nipped up to the roof for a satisfying smoke whilst basking in the glory of it all.

You probably haven’t seen the last of Brother ineaux, it was too much work for a single install. I reckon he would be ideal for issuing useful instructions to festival goers in the middle of the night, but until then, it’s back to the proper YouTube Jockey night job!

Here’s some video of the night, apologies for ruining some top quality footage (Thanks to Lisa Loco & Dave Lynch)…

And lifting the ineaux curtain, heres some raw behind the scenes footage in which you can hear the rants I was working up…

Who is Brother ineaux and does he really know best?

Brother ineaux is a playfully dystopian projection of multimedia artist Tim ineaux’s psyche. More commonly found mashing live streaming YouTube videos, Tim is putting his years of audio visual production to good use, by sticking a large talking head of Leeds most commanding building.

Brother ineaux will be instructing the massed citizenry in the the mores of the modern dystopia he envisages himself the leader of. This isn’t a reality TV show, you cannot talk back to Brother ineaux, he really does know best.

Frustratingly for the Brother, he can only control the areas he can see from his Parkinsons Building perch. Thus creating a series of Temporary Autonomous Zones ripe for creative exploitation. Expect guerilla kinematic happenings that puncture the subservient passivity espoused by Brother ineaux.

Brother ineaux will be issuing instructions to citizens on Woodhouse Lane from 6pm until midnight.

Even curtain welling Orwellian controllers like to kick back and sing along to the latest internet viral smash from time to time though…

What do you call 50% of a Your Tubes night?

I would imagine you can list off the top of your head the essential ingredients for a Your Tube event. Your list probably looks something like:

  • Computer, several of.
  • Projector, bright one.
  • Screen, amply sized.
  • Internet connection.

Can you guess what was missing from this list last Friday? Or do you hang on my every tweet, and consequently know that we spent the first hour and a half without the internets?

That’s right, to bring the event back into compliance with the Trade Descriptions Act, it should have been renamed You. Or possibly Me. Because that’s how it started out. Though I was lucky enough to have Dave Lynch along to provide moral support and beer.

Eventually the internet connection coughed and spluttered it’s way back to life a mere half way through the evening. The few audience members who had tried to stick it out had disappeared, leaving the pair of us with a massive PA & cinema screen to ourselves. So we had all the fun in a back to back megamix, remarkable for the fact that Dave held his own despite not being that familiar with the more nuanced contents of YouTube. He has been vj’ing for quite some time though, and knows a trick or three.

In the end we did gather a small crowd, who enjoyed what was going on, so that was nice. It’s just as well I’m about as laid back as they come, and with a good few years events experience under my belt, or it might have made for a rather stressful evening. Here’s the rather apt last track…

 

The big brother ineaux reveal…

 

I have been plotting an epic projection on the Leeds Uni Parkinson’s Building for several years.  The tower has long fascinated me due to it’s commanding position on the Leeds skyline, and in my warped mind it is crying out for a giant rotating Big Brother head, in the style of the original 1984 Apple Mac advert

I’ve been assembling my grand vision (ego trip?) for a while, posting snippets on Twitter, such as the components for the DIY radio controlled Public Address system I’m building (see below).  But now I’m ready for the big reveal, a fitting subject for my 100th posting.

The real life reveal will be on October 7th during Light Night, in an installation called “Brother ineaux knows best” which is my take on an all controlling dystopian Big Brother. Brother ineaux will be issuing instructions appropriate for a modern day dystopia to all citizens of Leodis who fall within his gaze, because of course, he knows best. However, there are plenty of places in the vicinity that Brother ineaux cant see, which will become Temporary Autonomous Zones for the night, hosting guerilla screenings & flashmobs. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed for the inside line on those. Whilst for the main installation and other mainstream fare, look out for all the info on the Light Night website and come along on the night.

Finally, a word of thanks to supporters of the project, including @automatton, @englandrp and @lumenarts. Plus a big thanks to Leeds University for providing legitimate access to their walls (don’t tell them I have lit them up guerilla fashion in the past…) and of course to Leeds City Council for putting on the whole Light Night shebang and for funding this installation.

 

The tubes are yours

 

Well, that’s the first YourTubes done and dusted and I’m delighted with how it panned out, a definite improvement on the old Video View events. Kicking off with a selection of TED talks set the tone for the evening really well. Although they didn’t all work out, with a Bill Gates presentation on malaria getting canned at around 3 minutes, there were some literally jaw dropping moments. The stand out was Harald Haas streaming HD video from a lightbulb…Having embarrassed one of the audience with his presentation from Bettakultcha it was time to put them properly in the driving seat. There were some outstanding selections here, including Girls Aloud signing duff notes, monkeys with machine guns, x-rated Harry Potter trailers, a re-dubbed version’s of Starwars and a lot of comedy sketches. Amazingly someone chose the Apple Macintosh 1984 advert, the inspiration for my Light Night installation on top of Leeds Uni later in the year. In the end we ran out of time, and internet connection to show them all, but here are a few highlights….

 

My favourite had to be this ultimate dog tease…

 

But Fascinating Aida, singing about Dogging came a laugh out loud close second…

 

As ever, the audience were still making suggestions well after 10pm, when I was meant to be getting into the mix, so I tried to integrate my choices with theirs. Unfortunately the internet wasn’t playing ball and I had to resort to mixing in whatever I could get playing. But there were some kind comments about my mix at the end, so it was probably only me who was frustrated by not being able to get in some of the mashes that I wanted.

I’ll leave you with the video that would have been the opener of my set, had I not had to put it on early to cover for a frustrating spell when the internet went down. I only came across it earlier in the day, one of those serendipitous finds that YouTube specialises in. Here’s Ok Go doing the Muppets theme, along with the googly eyed cast themselves… 

 


 

A picture paints a thousand words

This morning I sat down to make a poster for the re-launch of my monthly events, now called YourTubes. I’m no graphic designer or illustrator, and previous attempts at posters have always frustrated me on some level due to their visual appearance. Worse still, I’ve always struggled to convey information in my posters, particularly about my most recent events which are tricky to describe.

However, today inspiration struck and I figured it was time to take my cue from the world of info-graphics, something that I’ve long been interested in. It took barely any time at all to decide on the key components of the event that I wanted to convey and decide on some simple ways of illustrating them. I was slightly limited by only having MS Publisher at my disposal, and I’m still not entirely happy with a couple of the graphic design elements, however overall I’m dead chuffed with my first infografik. Its a great improvement on previous attempts at getting information across that relied on text.

Whilst I’m here it’s worth pointing out that as the info-graphic says, YourTubes starts next Friday. The main change from Video View is that we’ll be kicking off each night with a couple of inspiring online presentations, from the likes of TED, Bettakultcha, Do Lectures and RSAnimate. Online video’s aren’t all about nodding cows and clever mashups, though of course you’re still welcome to choose to watch those too. We’re also ditching the themes. During the night folk can work their own themes if they like, but I think it stops people coming up with video suggestions rather than helps it. Play what you like from now on, you always did anyway!

Following previous events a few folk have discussed why audiences can find it difficult to make suggestions for videos with me based on previous events. This animation from the RSA makes some interesting points about the paralysis of choice…


I am not a VJ, honestly!

I recently introduced myself to someone with the words “I’m a VJ” which as you well know means Video Jockey. I was in the company of other much more established VJ’s, and much hilarity ensued as I then sought to distance myself from the term.

Now on the face of it you might wonder why I would quibble with this term, don’t I mix videos? Doesn’t that make me a video jockey? Well, yes and no. The trouble is the term VJ was coined before mixing audio along with video was the norm, so it tends to be associated with the VJ’s who provide live synchronised visuals to accompany a DJ. But when I play I’m mixing both audio and video, not just the video. So, like Eclectic Method before me, I’m declaring I’M NOT A VJ.

That is not to say that what I do is better than being a VJ, its just different. In many ways they are more creative than I am, like a musician creating their own music not a DJ playing the music of others. And in my years of promting a/v events I have seen some amazing VJ’s who have blown me away. But still, I’m not really a VJ in the way it has come to be understood. At the moment I prefer the term YouTube Jockey.

Still, lets have a look at the work of a VJ. Here’s a great example of what they do. The tune is Fix Your Accent, a perky little number from Fake Blood, set to video by a VJ who is most confusingly called djapple2000. This has no doubt been pre-recorded, but a good VJ will be able to recreate this synching live no bother…


 

 

Lets compare navels with DJ Woody

I love my subscription updates from YouTube, you never know what joy is going to arrive preshly fressed in your inbox. Today’s instalment included a feature from DJ Woody, the legendary audio visual turntable botherer from t’ wrong side o’ t’ Pennines. Its a black and white mashup of a trumpet player that he scratches up during his outstanding live sets.

Obviously I was going to check it out, but this had me extra hooked… DJ Woody scratching it up, always a winner, plus you know I love a good horn and delight in the electronic patina of vintage black and white uploads. So I hit the play button, and what do you know, turns out it’s a video I’ve used in the past too. Its Rafael Mendez giving virtuoso trumpet lessons, I had great fun with this at the last Video View.

 The reason for posting is twofold…. for starters I just want to bask in some reflected glory. To say there is A LOT of material out there on the Tubes would be an understatement of NoTW proportions, so you need a good eye for what will work when it’s played out. The fact that Woody chose the same video as me kinda suggests to me that I must be on the right track. However what we did with the video was where we departed, and I think it’s a good illustration of how my approach differs from pretty much all other audio/visual DJs.

For starters, I’m not a DJ, and certainly not a turntablist. My mixing is more a series of carefully constructed of happenstances conspiring to tell a freaky story than a practised set of beat mixes and scratching. I’m a long player, often leaving videos to play almost entirely, not a wham bam sample man.

Plus, Woody has taken the original video and re-edited it beforehand, using the introduction from Mr Mendez, but then cunningly changing the audio for a new track and scratching that up. Although I can edit stuff like this, I dont. The reason for why? Well it’s just not how I want to do things. Plus unlike so many vj’s out there I do not have time to spend hours in the edit suite and drink endless cups of tea waitings for edits to render. No, I work live and direct using streaming video. It has it’s fair share of downsides, but I still think that there will come a point when mixing videos sucked from the ether, rather than from a hard drive, is as routine as a dj using timecoded vinyl has become today.

I’d genuinely like more people to have a go at mixing like this. You don’t even need much kit, I started by borrowing both a DJ mixer and a video mixer. All you need is a good eye for material and a passion for mashing it up and storytelling. There is so much material out there that it’s a crying shame more people aren’t plundering it for the purposes of live entertainment. Watching one video at a time sat at your desktop is a totally different experience from watching a series of them strung together in a bid to make you laugh, dance or whatever.

Oh, and for the record, mine is an ‘inny’ not sure about Woody’s…

 

Trial by festival: Beatherder

One of the tenets of the Korean martial art of Taekwondo, of which I’m a student and instructor, is Perseverance. Playing at Beatherder last week was a trial of perseverance that would challenge a grand master, and I don’t just mean sticking out the equatorial temperatures on site. No, I mean pressing on through missing hardware, food poisoning, software mismatches  and early morning burglary in order to work my passage to the festival…It was never meant to be this way. I’d always known I’d have to revise my approach and perform a task at odds with my on the fly style: downloading content. I’d been on that diligently for some time, amassing a veritable arsenal of festival muzaks and in-between nonsense on my hard drive. Unfortunately that ran out the back of my house, along with my laptop, under the arms of a hoody in the early hours of the preceding Sunday. Thanks to the help of my good friend Liz, plus a lot of tears, tantrums and begging, I managed to avail myself of a freshly downloaded set of content, and something approaching a serviceable laptop to play it on.

Unfortunately when I finally put software & hardware together for the first time at the festival, one of the laptops wasn’t playing the downloaded content and the other wasn’t sending video to the mixer. This left me one option away from putting it all in a playlist, hitting play and trundling off to catch Leftfield headlining the main stage. However, via a couple of exceedingly clunky workarounds I managed to get part of a laptop and a dvd player to both work at the same time, and finally we were in business.

I was playing the same content as at the Papergirl Leeds exhibition, although in a completely different order, trying to work the little material I had into something resembling a prime time Saturday night festival slot. Its safe to say I didn’t have the biggest crowd, but the folk who came along were clearly of good taste, recognising and welcoming a track from Ivor Cutler immediately. Always a plus to have an educated crowd I reckon.

I hooked the drifting audience in with the “Mad as Hell” speech from Network, crunching into Cyriaks version of Frankie Valli’s Beggin…

From then on it was a giddly canter though the likes of singing Carl Sagan,   sweary Synthesiser Patel, Mexican Institute of Sound, Pogo and Chris Joss, before peaking with a country rock folk blues swing beatboxing cover revival hoe-down featuring the likes of Son of Dave, Beardyman, Tiga, Brett Domino & The Morning Pages.

Amazingly, I was just about able to get the internets over there in Lancashire, so after about 60 minutes of downloading, I was able to finish on a Kanye track that I had planned to make more of during the set I’d originally planned. I know he’s a bit mainstream, but the theme he’s working up here is an ideal festival head masher, as well as a bit of a dancefloor crumpler…

So, that was Beatherder, the first time I’d made it along. The odd thing is, I have a projector that has been every year since it started, go figure! Maybe it didn’t all plan out as I’d intended, but that it worked at all is a miracle worthy of at least beatification, if not full sainthood.

Oh, and just to be clear, neither burglarly nor food poisoning incidents were at the festival, which was absolutely amazing: great atmosphere and really tasty well prepared food! For the record, I was on the Caravan Stage from 10-12 on Saturday night.