Last Saturday night Jardin d’Alice, based in the old fire station in Reuilly, hosted the event: ‘BYOB’, or Bring Your Own Beamer, an open stage for artists working within the audio-visual medium. Makery was there.
You have probably already encountered restaurants advertising ‘BYOB’ (bring your own bottle/beer), on Saturday 18th of April however, in Jardin d’Alice, the beer was provided, and it was cheap. What attendees were expected to bring was their own beamer. The idea is straightforward: bring your own video projector and show whatever you want, where you want. Straightforward that is unless you are Laurent Carlier of organisers Les Réseaux de la Création (The Networks of Creation), in which case you were run ragged trying to provide enough power. A dozen creators turned up armed with projectors, laptops, controllers and mixing desks, and set up shop in their fifty square metre space. It pulls a lot of juice, and produces a lot of heat.
150 BYOB cities
The concept is the brainchild of artist Rafaël Rozendaal and was first conceived of in Berlin in 2010. “BYOB is a celebration of the new world we live in and a glimpse of what computing could look like in the future”, he explains on the BYOB Worldwide website. Since then, the idea has grown exponentially: in Greece and the United States originally, followed by a further 150 cities spread over five continents. In France, both Marseille and Paris hosted their own BYOB events as early as 2011, followed by Grenoble last year.
Map of the BYOB locations around the world:
This year, Les Réseaux de la Création, organisers of VJing festival Vision’R, bring their own expertise to the movement. For Laurent Carlier, the BYOB stage is an opportunity to bring a selection of ordinarily solitary operators together under one roof. “There are all kinds of styles and images. We are almost out of space, which is pretty encouraging.”
The radical doubt
In the cramped space inhabited by Jardin d’Alice we met Dasein, an audio visual collective who will be familiar to patrons of venues as diverse as Batofar, Glazart and La Machine du Moulin rouge. They are here to present their latest project, Pays sans visage, a movie pieced together from a combination of the Chernobyl disaster archives, post-apocalyptic Russian fiction and video footage from the American army. All of which they have spent the last year collecting and editing. Live effects are added via modular video synthesiser. “We break the photorealism of the image to find something purely plastic, explains Simon Girard. That’s our process: getting a new perspective on the basic image.”
“Pays sans visage”, Dasein, trailer, 2015:
Tonight the concept of video image will be analysed from every perspective, dissected, decoded, deconstructed and reconstructed. For Joris Guibert, busy distorting video waves on a wall of televisions borrowed from neighbouring Emmaüs, this involves a radical doubt: “We don’t know if the video image is actually an image. It is a reaction on a cathode ray tube, which is nothing more than a bulb with phosphor, a chemical substance that reacts to electrical stimulations and simulates light. So there is an electrochemical reaction, but we can’t call that an image.” Joris employs a chain reaction produces from toying with circuits: “I’m not an electronic engineer so instead of doing bending, I work straight from electricity, connecting devices together or creating dysfunction.”
While for some video is the result of an electrochemical reaction, for others it is derived from sound. 1961 for example. 1961 is an artist who modulates sound waves to create illustrations through a ‘Transcam’, a device that he has created and has been developing for 20 years. For yet others, like Jarod, it is a signal, a communicative message, Jarod compresses a ‘female friendly’ porn movie into a binary signal: “an inter-computer language which you are not supposed to see”, according to his own explanation.
“Binary Love”, Jarod, 2015, clip :
“Not subject to standardisation”
In every corner the artists seek to deconstruct and reconsider the video image. “Our approach to image is conditioned by television and cinema, remarks Laurent Carlier regretfully. We are conditioned by 4/3 and 16/9 proportion, on a flat surface, but this industrial standard has homogenised our conception of image.”
In a process similar to that of computer hackers, he believes that: “it is about not undergoing the standardisation of prefabricated tools, but instead studying them, taking them to pieces, reinterpreting them and using them to suit our own needs”.