Sune Peterson a.k.a. MOTORSAW sends in this live AV collaboration with Schmid. It’s a beautifully constructed half-hour set, building from simple downbeat with minimal feedback to a frenetic, camera-shaking climax.

Live at home from Sune Petersen on Vimeo.

Sune also had some great thoughts in his email about performance, which I’d like to share:

This year I have begun a collaboration with a friend of mine, who is making music, to try to see how to make visuals and music as part of the same project, and now I have bumped into a wall.
How to go about doing that?
The technical aspects of linking my VVVV-patches to his ableton arrangements is not the problem, the problem is that we are both used to thinking in a way where music is first and then there is usually some sort of inspiration coming when listening to the music and then some visuals can be created.

Fact is that the way your visuals are being made makes the “sound” of your visuals, it is possible to see what software is being used to make the visuals, just like you can hear that people are playing a guitar (remember arkaos tunnels?). To me that is not really a problem as long as the “tune” you are playing is good.

In preparation to this collaborative project, we have begun making some DJ/VJ sets where we don’t link our computers… nor do I have an audio input since I find that most audio responsiveness is too straight forward and often too “jumpy”.
We have done this lately and with the great flexibility of VVVV the performance can easily scale from one projection up untill so far 3 projections but more is on its way.

This DJ/VJ setup has made me realize that what I really want to achieve is to create an instrument that I can play, just like a guitar player in a band plays his guitar. This introduces the risk of being
off beat and making errors and I definitely need to improve my sense of rhythm but I feel that I am much better connected to the performance when I play the instrument instead of “programming” it. I have some times felt that I was just a spectator of some of the too automated performances I have previously made. This way of performing is really engaging. That is also why I am on stage with the DJ when performing.

What now remains is to continue developing this instrument, I have this “rule” that whenever I make a new performance I make one new feature, this way the performance evolves over time.

I hope I did not lose you in this long email, I suppose that when you write about something about which you are passionate, long texts appear.

I hope you don’t mind me “spamming” you this way.

One new feature per performance is a rule I can definitely get behind. Likewise for VJs getting out there on stage!

We all complain from time to time that the visual community isn’t getting the pay, props, or profile of the eardrum-botherers. Getting on stage and making audiences aware that there’s an artist in control of their retinas is a great way to improve the lot of visualists everywhere.

Finally, I really hope that nobody out there considers sending their work to us spamming! We do receive a lot of email, so Peter and I don’t always post everything that hits our inbox. I’m sure that most of you would agree that we could probably work on a slightly increased posting frequency though. We’re working on that, but we do need your help, so if you’re out there and making awesome stuff, then tell us about it.

  • I've been thinking about a better way to "get out there" as well and my solution so far has been a Wii RockBand Guitar Controller. The only problem I've had so far was that when walking around on stage, I don't know what the clips I can play because I cannot see the UI as soon as I leave my tiny space behind the computer. I also would love to have more sliders to control fx on that thingy but it is the first controller that allows me to stand there up in front with the guitar player and the singer. The first gig I did with it has left the audience thinking (at least for the first couple of minutes) "what the hell is he doing with that toy there…" but in the end it seemed to work out quite well.

  • usedtobe

    this is baaadasss.

    is vvvv pc only? apparently the shiznit. i love processing, but it tends to boggle my brains. whatchall think?

  • sunny

    very good visuals and music!

    I like the idea of human synced A + V

  • i'm trying to wrestle with that very issue as part of my MFA thesis. Over the last year I've been practicing with different improvisational groups and it's really been a learning experience. I am now trying to write some of my own pieces for my thesis show but finding it incredibly hard to balance the visual and musical ideas equally. Hopefully putting words to paper on my thesis will aid the process, but I'm pretty sure there will still be a lot of questions to answer.

  • AO

    Great post!

    My wife and I share the same approach as a DJ/VJ team with no electrical/software sync but instead just playing together as an audio/video duo. Over time we've developed themes and routines that we can easily call upon and queue one another either through her reacting to what I'm playing, or me reacting to what she's playing. It's a really satisfying way of working, and people can observe that we're in "sync" through our performance, where we prefer to play side like a dj team or band members.

    We hope that when we do add some actual software synchronization, it will only build upon our natural, "human sync".

    We're also really into the notion of a visual system that you can play like an instrument, or at sequence live like a drum machine — nothing to share on that end, yet, but we're working on something and will certainly share it here when it's documented.

    We have a ton of a/v clips at our Vimeo page for anyone interested:


  • AO – you're on the right track!

    This is where it might be useful to review a little bit of Mr. John Cage's wonderful approach (especially note his collaborations with the recently deceased Mr. Merce Cunningham).

    Visuals and music (organized noise/sound) simply occupy the same time.