Coming home from a nice meeting with family and friends. That’s what it feels like returning from Live Performers Meeting last weekend in Rome. It’s been four amazing days with inspiring performances, even more inspiring chats with dozens of artists, a relaxed vibe, brilliant weather, good food and the usual Roman chaos.
As always VisualBerlin had a small delegation of artists visiting the festival. This year it was our new member Andreas Karaoulanis and from the Scope Sessions team Alex Corbi, Dr. Mo, Eklis Rellüm, and myself.
Eklis and I travelled to Rome from Mannheim because we had been at the ClipAward Low & No Budget Shortfilm Festival there the days before. Tim and Mel of B-Seite festival gave us a ride to the Airport in Frankfurt Hahn in the middle of the night because we had the same red eye flight. Besides the usual Ryanair rip-off for forgotten boarding pass printouts (60€) and last-second arrival at the gate due to German precision security checks including random explosives flash tests of my netbook all went well and two hours later we found ourselves sitting in a café on a noisy street near the Roma Termini main station sipping espressi and eventually waking up (9 a.m.).
Unlike the majority of the hundreds of artists who had their accomodation in two hostels in the outskirts of Rome (Ciampino and Marino) one hour away from the venue we were incredibly lucky because we got a guest room at the Goethe Institut offered to us, which was just a few blocks away from the main station. I am sure we missed a lot of social activities, fun (flooded showers) and grande geekery happening in the hostels, but nevertheless we accepted our destiny having to stay in a boring and quiet retreat in a posh embassy area in the center of town, with internet access, TV, great trattorias around, and an overall cozy atmosphere. Thanks Goethe! ^^
Due to some unforseeable and inacceptable political annoyances with the Roman city government LPM had to be relocated to a new venue three weeks before the festival and now took place at Planet Alpheus near the gasometers in the south of Piramide. It was a nice place for a festival because it offered rooms for lectures, workshops, installations, as well as three stages for performances and a room dedicated to the VJ Torna battle. We could spend all evening wandering through the rooms to find one exciting performance or talk happening after another or hang out with fellow visualists in the bar area inside or even in the outside area with DJ and facade mappings. The drinks were quite expensive at least compared to what we spoilt Berliners are used to, so we were really happy about the small kiosk on the street right in fronf of Planet Alpheus where two ambitious and funny guys sold us caffè and beers for almost half the price and probably made a fortune off the crowd of artists who hung out there all day long.
We had some really good Scope Session interviews with interesting artists. The first one was with Laura Ramirez aka. Optika from Colombia who does impressive mapping projects in Bogota. We talked with TouchOSC and TouchVIZ programmer Robert Fischer aka. hexler, interviewed the makers of vvvv and organisers of NODE from meso, filmed a talk about making it as a post-VJ by Toby spark* Harris, chatted with Andreas Karaoulanis and Katerina Liana about their video/dance performance premiere and had a relaxed rooftop talk round with the living legends and VJ pioneers The Light Surgeons. All interviews were shot with our experimental minimal gear combo including a Zoom H1 and a Logitech HD webcam that we usually also both use to record the Scope Live Sessions on stage and we’re happy about the result which will be online very soon!
My personal favorite moments of this year’s LPM festival were:
- the spontaneous AV performance of Peter Kirn and Dr. Mo who harmonized perfectly in their musical and visual styles of glitchy ambient electro grooves with beautiful sepia toned time lapse fly-through images and who should really collaborate in the future!
- that Andreas Karaoulanis won the LPM VJ Torna battle with his extraordinary visuals style and earned a CodaNova box without a CodaNova but instead a broken vintage Sony laptop inside – to everyone’s surprise (except the thief who stole the mixer).
- Toby Harris’ short presentation of the newest version of the Spark D-Fuser DVI mixer that’s supposed to be available now-ish and that has gone through quite a large improvement compared to the presentation of the “Berlin” prototype in 2010 and now comes with a small navigation menu screen with various presets and settings, different video blendmodes and even has a network jack for OSC communication that can be optionally turned into a DMX port!
- The stunning AV performance of The Light Surgeons that stood out by far compared to all other performances I saw at LPM.
Besides the actual festival we enjoyed a lot the times sitting on the street, at the kiosk or in one of the numerous bars, trattorias, osterias enjoying overpriced pasta or pizza meals, the insane rollercoaster-like nightbus rides, the hours and hours of waiting for something or someone, the omnipresent orange ocra beige light, the constantly hooting car alarms at night, the amazing beach that awaits you once you find the time and energy to take a regional train out of Rome bound south into the sticks…
It was a lot of work, a lot of chaos, a lot of great people, a lot of inspiration! Thanks Gianlu, Ioann, Nikki, Carlotta, Marco, Chiara, Andrea, Donatella, Antonia, Valeria and all you other great FLxERs for this beautiful event!
Mille Grazie and see you all again next time!