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  • Writer's pictureCorrina Crazie Espinosa

Digital Performance

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Light Pollution/Hey VJ!! - You can choose between a Guerrilla style BYOB (bring your own beamer) projection mapping performance and/or VJ (video jockey) performance. This class is notorious for teaching projection mapping, but that may be difficult during the pandemic, so you can choose which option you prefer.

For this assignment you must do a performance based digital art project, which you will perform via zoom on critique day. I will show you Synesthesia - a type of VJ software, and MadMapper - projection mapping software. You decide which route you wish to take.

Option A. Use Synesthesia along with audio to make a VJ performance. This will be shared on your screen, or you can perform it on your computer and share it from your phone camera.

Option B. Use MadMapper along with audio to make a projection mapping performance. You may or may not use a projector (you can check one out from the TECHNE lab or the VRC) and will be shared either through webcam, phone cam, or screenshare.

Not sure about what projection mapping is? Here are some examples:

An example of projection mapping a large building, house or structure.

Projection mapping a painting.

Projection mapping as a indoor, custom installation.

Projection mapping unexpected objects. The sky ain't no limit!

VJ or Video Jockey

And what exactly is a "VJ performance"? You have likely already seen a VJ performance if you have ever been to a concert, music festival, club, rave or other similar venue. VJ stand for video jockey, and it's where a person mixes visuals live similar to the way a DJ mixes music live.

From Wikipedia: "VJing (pronounced: VEE-JAY-ing) is a broad designation for real-time visual performance. ... VJing often takes place at events such as concerts, nightclubs, music festivals and sometimes in combination with other performative arts. This results in a live multimedia performance that can include music, actors and dancers."

Here are some examples:

TRIGGER WARNING: this video contains images of guns.

This is a good example of a VJ set in an academic environment, this was performed as an exam at the program for Audiovisual Production at Dalarnas University.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in Mexico City, 2016. Note the live video feed of his hands playing the guitar layered on top of the clocks video. We will learn this technique.

TRIGGER WARNING: this video contains strong political views that may be offensive.

Another Floyd concert, 2017-- conceptually and politically poignant. This isn't just aesthetic, club type fun, there is a clear message being communicated. That is ART.

Assignment guidelines:

For this project you will create a digital performance based project. It can be any size (physically) and can be indoor/outdoor but should meet the following requirements:

1. Must be no less than 2 minutes in duration, can be as long as you like but if it exceeds 5 minutes we may not have time to watch the entire thing.

2. Must include live performative actions: moving objects, living performers, live effects (using synesthesia or other software, midi controls, etc.) You can use anything else you can justify as "performance."

3. Must use a minimum of 4 videos/images. At least 1 must be your own video, the rest can be appropriated from the internet or other sources.

4. Must include a live video feed.

5. Must have a concise theme that is communicated clearly using visual literacy. Use visual/auditory symbols to articulate the intended meaning. What are you trying to say with your performance and how will your audience understand your idea? How are you getting your point across? Will we guess it correctly in critique?

6. Must include some sort of audio. Can be music you have made, found, ambient noises, etc. Put thought into your audio, it must make sense with your theme.


*Projection is best picked up on white of very light materials.

*Practice your performance before hand to get your timing right.

*Don't overthink it, simple is fine if your message is being communicated clearly.

*Visually pleasing is good, but only half of the story...

*Try projecting on many different objects, project inside them, outside them, play with surfaces. Some objects to consider: buckets, toys, boxes, sculptures, people, kitchen utensils, clay, posters, flags, wigs, feathers, costumes, mannequins, books, cages, vases, jars, cups, buildings with interesting surfaces, Styrofoam, plastic, fish tank, canvas, and any of a wide variety of unique objects you can find at thrift stores, in dumpsters, etc.

Play! Try new and scary things! Take positive risks! Experiment!




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