Jury for the VJ Competition, 18th Bochum Festival, Germany

Event: Participation as Jury of the 18th Bochum Videofestival
Place: Ruhr Universitat, Bochum, Germany
Dates: 29-31/5/2008

1. Introduction

After participating in the VJ competition in the previous edition of the festival, I was invited this year to be part of the VJ competition jury.

2. About the VJ competition

The VJ contest of the Bochum Videofestival involves 5 teams, each performing in 30 minutes. The winners are chosen by a jury.
From the http://www.videofestival.org/ website:

“In its first year, the Contest started as an experiment, created to give the expanding art of VJing a stage to prove its artistic significance. Meanwhile, the Contest has become one of the major parts of the Videofestival and is established as equivalent to the main International Video Competition. The Bochum concept is, as far as we know, still unique for a VJ Contest: presenting a 30-minute live set in front of a seated, attentively observing audience. This procedure stresses particularly the visual level – in contrast to the usual situation inside a club. For us, the emphasis is placed on the formation of images. This special focus has modified the VJ Contest over the past years in reference to the presentation of VJing in general. Every year, less and less traditional club visuals were shown. The amount of VJ sets, characterised by a more experimental approach to the processing of images (that could even include a step ‘back’ to analogue technologies) became larger every time we set up the program. 
The image counts!”
In the past, well-known VJ teams have participated in the contest, such as Pfadfinderei, Vitascope, Exceeda and D-Fuse.

3. Participants

The following VJ teams participated in the event:

– ionky gluu / Poland
– RaumZeitPiraten / Germany
– PussyKrew / Poland/Ireland
– incite/ / Germany
– MFO / Germany

Ionky Gluu’s performance had very powerful visuals. The imagery was very poetic and unusual: footage taken in hospitals, people dressed with strange futuristic costumes, etc. However, the use of vector graphics was repetitive, and the elements were not sequenced in a very efficient way, with frequent overlaps.

RaumZeitPiraten used a analog overhead projection system, combined with a “traditional” VJ approach and live music, to produce a very interesting performance. But the use of analog visuals seemed a bit contrived – it worked better as a composition of still images than as motion graphics to go along with music. The feeling was that the VJs were not yet fluent in their approach, which was nonetheless very personal.

PussyKrew proved that they master the video mixing process. Their use of visuals was very stimulating in terms of motion graphics, and very rhythmical. The coordination with the (very good) live music was impeccable. But the main visual “building blocks” were somehow unimaginative, with use of some incoherent elements.

Incite provided a very compelling audio-visual show. The visuals consisted of grey-scale graphics, abstract but with “real” photos as starting points. The visuals were very well connected to the music, and the correlation between the two was very compelling. The audio side was very high level.

MFO gave a very entertaining show, very club oriented. The connection with music was very good. The graphics were coherent and yet diversified, with some surprises regarding variations on the main theme – “partying mokeys”. Although the “monkey” theme has been very used in music videos and VJing, MFO added some interesting twists. The software developed for the performance used an interesting split-screen approach. The music, selected by Hecq, was very appropriate for the style of visuals. There were some glitches in the performance, but too small to disturb the overall enjoyment.

More information:

4. The jury

Besides me, the jury was composed by Susanne Scheel, one of the founders of the VJ competition at the Videofestival, and Svenja Klüber, one of the members of the excellent Lichtfront (http://www.lichtfront.com/), one of Germany’s most renowned VJ teams. The Jury members discussed extensively about the evaluation criteria, the performances and VJing in general. The discussion level was very high and the conversations were very interesting.


5. Winners

The Jury members unanimously decided to award MFO the first prize, for their very balanced performance regarding the criteria we had established. After some discussion, we decided to award a special mention to Incite for their unique approach and exciting performance.


6. Photos

Photos from the participants and the awards: