VJing or live visuals can quickly become simply re-purposed mixes of found video clips, a visual equivalent to a DJ mixing records. Generative and abstract visuals have been one response to that. But in the work of The Erasers, “live cinema” comes to mean really just that. Roving cameras wander the action, as players manipulate objects, smash toys, or themselves become characters. It’s a kind of experimental theater with cameras, but the images constructed have a life of their own, too, playing with scale and vantage point and perspective. It’s often violent: both in the images produced but also in the way it forces those performance activities into imagery.

Political imagery is also explicit, but perhaps it’s the manipulation of point of view that’s the most compelling, the construction of imagery from scratch or from objects, and then the way that image can be transformed by something no more complex than the position of the camera. Even devoid of political ephemera, it’s political.

The Greek collective The Erasers causes quite a bit of mayhem when they play, meaning their appearances are limited in their frequency. But here, we see 2010 and 2011 iterations, and The Erasers have become regulars at Switzerland’s Mapping Festival.

I had the pleasure to hear The Erasers’ Giorgos Kakanakis, at Berlin’s Scope Sessions. Notes from that event sum up a bit of what this whole thing is about:

Giorgos Kakanakis is the founding member of The Erasers, a group whose work is based on the integration of various seemingly diverse elements or modes of (re-)presentation such as: live cinema, performance, action-ism, installation techniques, theater, agit-prop, and various forms of information and disinformation. The combination of these diverse elements is based on The Erasers’ search for a new Audio Visual Alphabet.

Under the title “Real time forms are rich only if they are rich in flaws”, Giorgos will give a fragmented dialogue consisting of a non-linear presentation of The Erasers’ work in real time audio visual performance, a brief discussion on the possibilities of live cinema/real time film, moments of propaganda and other moments of image harassment, spontaneous debates on MEANING (as opposed to abstract image production), a disassembling of VJ culture and detours through statements like: AN END TO COMMUNICATION THAT COMMUNICATES NOTHING BUT ITSELF or ITS NOT A JUST IMAGE, ITS JUST AN IMAGE.

At top is the Mapping Festival performance from 2011:

For the 3rd time, The Erasers will show up at the Mapping Festival. They explore cinema, improvised music, performances or the Internet. For 2011, they prepare a surprising live-act… in a car…on a parking ! The audience arrives at a parking lot where there is only one car. On the wall in front of the car there is a large white billboard… Don’t miss it!

Video credit:
Camera: Jerome Monnot, Vania Jaikin Miyazaki
Video assistants: Camille Dedieu, Linda Cavaliero
Editing: François Moncarey – CENC

Second from top, with Portugese subtitles, is the performance from Festival de Arte Digital in 2010.

The group maintains a (more than a little chaotic) blog full of videos – a sprinkling of their own, amidst the discarded remnants of, uh, The Internet and Media.

But do check out their work if you can.