If Internet killed the video star, this minimal techno video could be Exhibit A. There is a hint of cityscapes, fish shoals, and cell groups. But the work of visual artist Joëlle is as slippery as the music it serves. No song, as such, and certainly no starring musicians.
Instead we have a work that gives form to data, as it throbs, scatters and murmurates all around us. Joëlle is among those artists making sense of the ever evolving technoscape, and there is little idealistic about this project. The static and grit which characterise this track and her film could, like high frequency trading, be lethal.
Joëlle was up for an interview with Bad at Sports, fielding half a dozen questions over email. Apart from the discovery she does have a surname, the impersonal exchange, with its gaps and disconnects, was at one with the mystery of her four-minute film, which you can watch below.
Tell me a bit about your process, and the technology, in layperson’s terms.
I start by listening to the music over and over to get a feeling and sense of the atmosphere and to discover what aspects resonate with me.
Then starts a period of experimentation. I generally have an idea of what software and tools I will use, and in this instance I used After Effects with Trapcode Form, Mir and Sound Keys for the audio reactive animation and landscape environments, as well as Quartz Composer to do some post processing on the video.
Sound Keys provides you with an audio spectrum where you can select parts of frequencies and link that frequency data to parameters.
Form is a very powerful particle system that has many properties, an awesome feature being the the ability to drive a number of parameters such as displacement, disperse, fractal field etc. with an audio layer.
Mir allows your to create procedural animations of organic flowing 3D surfaces and abstract shapes.
Quartz Composer is a node-based visual programming language which I used to add real time glitch and Rutt-Etra [a 1970s video synth] effects to some of the rendered movies.
The process is iterative and often unpredictable, as I like to relinquish some control to the software. I spend some time tweaking values and seeing how the audio creates something visual within the constraints and parameters I’ve defined. At some point it starts to take shape into something that makes sense with how I feel when listening to the music.
What’s your working relationship with Killawatt and to the music?
It’s been quite collaborative, he has a pretty clear idea of what he likes, visually. And our taste is similar. I’d send him stuff and he’d tell me which bits he was feeling.
What’s the most challenging aspect of making a video like this?
I think the initial phase of immersion, in the music or track, is the most challenging, only in the sense that there is a blank canvas, which is always the most difficult part of any project, until I see something in my mind’s eye – if that makes sense. Once that’s resolved mentally, everything usually flows, the other challenges would be be on the more technical side of things.
Which visual artists or art historical trends have influenced you the most?
Ali Demirel, Universal Everything, Carsten Nicolai, AntiVJ, Ryoichi Kurokawa and Kazimir Malevich. I also love Pinterest.
What types of music do you most like to work with?
The darker, melancholic, abstracted, minimal, sometimes aggressive side, no cheese. I love rolling, deep and dark sounds, music that takes me on a journey.
What are the advantage of music biz style management through Derelicht?
Aside from the support, it’s great having someone push and promote your work, that has a bit more industry know-how, and can help discover opportunities in areas I am interested in.
How does music videos sit within your wider practice?
It’s a continuation and expression of my ongoing interest in sound and form and how they compliment one another and relate to each other.
Music video is often called an art form. Why is it rarely called pure art?
Perhaps because a video is influenced by the music and other elements, and could be seen as commercialised art… or made for promotional or marketing purposes, which it often is. I suppose it depends on the intention in the first place, personally I’m not one for the analysis of things like this…
Thank you, Joëlle.
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