If Marshall McLuhan where a VJ, or why glithc is trendy

June 17, 2015

If Marshall McLuhan was VJ, or why glithc is trendy.

There is a moment in a movie “24 hour party people” where the main character Tony Wilson enters his club “Hacienda” where a DJ is spinning records and says to the friend: “this is historical moment, rave revolution – people hail the DJ. Not the band, the music, but the DJ, the medium.”

Myself being involved in VJing a lot i started to wonder what kind of medium i am? What is the function of me doing what i do. Can one find out some points which would give sense to my actions or my images. Or even to find out what those images should be.

Marshall McLuhan really expanded the realm of the media term. For him media is everything. Begining from the wheel, language to the electricity and light. One of the famous of his quotes and also the title of the book is “Media is the message”. Thats why light, for him, is pure information. Because what this saying basically tells, is it is not important what is transmitted through the TV, TV itself is more important message than the images being transmitted. That the mechanism is more important than the contents. That the camera affects us more than the image that it produces.

Never the less i started to wonder is it possible to capture something, that would be at least as important as the fact of the camera? on one hand this is stupid question because if you follow the logic of this kind of media-contents relationship you would never film something which woud make such an impact as the camera itself. Firstly, because you couldn’t film anything at all without the camera. But let’s say you capture something very important so you get the attention of all the people on the globe. In this case M. McLuhan would note only one important aspect of this situation. Is that all those people are looking through your camera lens. In other words, the importance of the media grows proportionally. And its images are trapped inside it forever. The same happens with all kinds of media as well.

So to back up to the part, which is my job as a VJ.
First i looked what is the media i lay my hands on. It is image, it is light. It is not cinema, it is not television. It is not presentation. No, it is presentation. In that case a presentation of what? Or maybe it is cinema? Or television? Or maybe it is just the lightening. Well, it is all these things together. It is that, what you want it to be. You have the power to turn the discoteque to a motion picture show, to a TV sit-back, to a very interesting or really boring presentation. To make it bright or intimate and dim. Of cource, every VJ would agree that First you are the lighter, then a decorator, then a presenter. because never the less you are showing someting on the screen.

I have to say that when i started to raise these questions concerning media theory i started to look at the contents of various media totaly different. first i totaly ignored it. i took out the contents from the contents so to say. The perfect movie for me was the one, that you would forget the moment you saw it. That would please you only now, that would tease you to watch only few frames forward, not more.
Well, i can tell now i love the cinema as it is. Memorable. I startet to realise that all the cinema i love is old cinema. Or if it is new, it somehow quotes or reminds of the conection between the new and old, the classic. In other words i realised that there are some qualities about it that lifts one content above all the other contents.

Naturaly i wondered, what are these qualities? Let’s take, for example, the very same cinema and let us get back to the very moment where all of it began. People’s natural wonder and excitement about this new media led to the particular experiments, which where very closely related to the mechanics of the cinema. The very first examples where non other than a study of the possibilities of the media. Simple showing, that twenty four frames per second creates an ilusion of a movement. The contents was not important at all at this point. As it all developed, the contents became more and more important in the social context. Media was taken and used as a tool. Propaganda, enertainment, information. But did the mechanics of the cinema changed as well? No. It stayed the same. Then i understood, what exactly pleased me most in cinema. It is this very moment, when the mechanics breaks through the curtain of the content and shows itself. [ Francois Truffaut ‘Day For Night’ opening titles, first scene ].

Then i realised that this principle applies to any media you take. lets say rock’n’roll and the electric guitar. the sound produced by the gutar and the amplifier is non other than the expression of the media. The early television didn’t mask it’s nature at all, you could see all the studio cameras, wires, lights. The birth of the internet shocked everybody not because of what you could find on it, but because of the fact you could do it.
I once heard that the human brain activity is concentrated mostly on information accumulation inside, and only small percent is dedicated to the observing outside world. there is a nice parralell between this fact, and the fact that bloggers, for egsample, mostly blog about internet itself, tho accummulating the information inside the system, just like the brain.

That applies to every new form of medium, device, etc.. First it shows itself, and only then starts to cover up with its contents. In my opinion, this early stage of media is essentiall aesthetic tool which shows what direction should its contents go. Media is dead when it drowns in its contents. For example television or vinyls.
But let’s get back to the good and pleasant cinema for example. It is the one, that manages to show its materialistic origin not drowned in contents. Why vinyls are such a fetish, like almost all analog media? It’s because in the context of the digital, it is drawn back to its origins and what everybody sees is not the content but the media itself again. I really loved what one of my friends said about it. He said “When you put on the vinyl it firstly plays itself, and only then you hear music.”

So i get back to my VJ situation once again. What forms your contents? It is everything from the camera, to the Max Mps patches, projector, plasma, LED screen, etc.. and every piece in this chain brings something into your image. If you will dive into the contents not thinking about the tools, that form your aesthetics, you will kill your media and fail. If you will try to transmit the message which is not parralell to your tools, it will not reach the audience. If you will screen motion picture durring a party nobody will see the movie, nor hear the music, nor dance.
Then it all became clear. Media dictates the aesthetics and all you have to do is to capture its essence and to present it properely. Contents which relates to its media is the most clean information you can transmit.

This is the moment where it should be clear, why the glitch is trendy in this particular field. Digital media lives its first days and the glitch is its pure expression, pure media information. Or in other words, it would be the content Marshall McLuhan would use if he was VJ.

over & out [ nosignal ]

wanker animation in top 5!

March 8, 2012

here it is: https://vytasrealtime.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/wiki-wanker/

and paris hilton mentioned by Jonas Mekas here too: https://vytasrealtime.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/paris-hilton-changed-her-mind/



plius + plus + en plus +

March 1, 2012

more More M0r3!

A collection of videos promoting + + + party series w/ minimal.lt & Partyzanai

Behind the screen: .qtz plugins, patches and a few ways to use them in live vj-ing enviroment


Opium club, the party took place in is a basement with 4 white walls and 3 projectors. + there’s a switchboard for any of the lights on the floor w/ a stroboscope. If that wasn’t enough, button to spray smoke was available. Naturally, the party setup was a vj’s dream.

Simple video was filmed on location, while beaming prepared sequence and then edited to music. For the sequence quartz composer patch was used. clearly Tom / bangnoise’s Datamosh and some pixelate FX. Anyway, the video is crappy but hey, here it is:


Same venue. Video was cut up from screen capture playing overexited quartz composition. composition itself i cannot find, but the key source is this wonderful tutorial from Joris de Jong. The already mentioned Datamosh together with Chroma Zoom are used.  + + +  symbols are generated using Vade’s famous Rutt Etra. Overall this is more than my poor machine’s processor could take and the result is even more crappy than the first one. However i really used this method a lot in live sets enjoying the choppy play. It gives some kind of surprise feeling – you yourself, you don’t know what to expect from the next frame and the graphic images produced are so nice, that it is good they hang on longer…


Again the same club. Until this time sets became darker and cleaner. I also used different plugins. The hairy thing is ParticleWarfare plugin from 1024 architecture. It has an option to generate particles from video input’s motion. The + + +.png is hooked to LFO’s inside “render in image” patch to make it move and then, fed to plugin’s video input. The (probably) un-intended white line glitch occurs when you move ‘trail length’ slider in ParticeWarfare plug controls. Other than that, composition is merely a copy of the example comp in Franz’s blog. Glitch part is v002 Glitch edited using different blend modes in FCP or AE.


Either i don’t remember or it was a gap. new season – new club – Soul Box. Very fine dancefloor and lots of ways to project. Very cool guy working w/ lights on this one too. Collaboration with him was a lot of fun and brought some new waves to my sets. That means even darker and more minimalistic, more attention to colour and detail. Both places i was / am playing more with the light than a picture. That way picture itself is more of an abstract one. The + + + logo design plays big role in both branding the party series and as great graphical symbol. Since the logo was designed in 3d, it gave me great possibility to manipulate .dae file in realtime inside VDMX via Quartz Composer and v002 Model Loader.


Following vid is cut up the same manner. ‘Circle Splash Distortion’ FX from VDMX’s list is used. This way of constructing visuals seems really promising to me. It is flexible, lightweight and modular. Thus works great for my lazy ass.

Quartz composition is fairly simple: 3d model and couple of video sources that act as a texture on 3d structure. Lightweight too – no hanging up shit anymore. It’s nice to use this inside VDMX and tell it to play the next layer as a texture. That way additional FX’s may be applied to the texture layer or the composition layer or both. Composition attached (right + click to save the .zip file) is ready to be used inside VDMX as described (you will need v002 Model Loader plugin).

Have fun and see you on the dance floor!


September 30, 2011

Working with LED screens at Sūpynės earlier this summer  was great fun. Mainly because the output is so small pixel-wise and computer crashed only 4 or 5 times over night..

we had made a custom Quartz Composer patch to do masking for the custom LED panels composition.

still, you are outputting 800×600 resolution and the black box squeezes it, then outputs 200×100 and sends it to 3 panels. top 25×200; middle 50×200; bottom 25×200.

so, with a little math and cropping we wrapped this to simple FX to be used in VDMX with couple layers.

FX scales down any input to 200×100 pixels res, then passes it through 3 crop patches and outputs to 3 sprites positioned and aligned. in VDMX i applied FX to 2 layers, one turned on for the top and the bottom panel, one for the middle part. i also dropped in some flipping and scaling for those sprites but, to tell the truth, i never used those. lights where flashing too much to go into such detail as slight perspective pulsing hooked to the sound input.. the classic mapping trick:)

right-click-download and change extention to .qtz – https://vytasrealtime.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/led-3-way-mask.jpg

i am waiting to use this mapping technique in further experiments, Quartz Composer really helpful this time. i can see how you get hooked on mapping- more ways to get OFF the screen so to say.

Another festival that we had an honor to be part of, was Satta Outside ’11. more managing and less visualizing this time. we didn’t manage to get all the artists we wanted and my apologies goes to them, but overall this was great and BIG festival. Pixelnoizz, dear friend from Hungary and Berlin was dropping some serious CurlyCode shit. 2 Christie beamers 10 000 lumens each, this was something. we had great pleasure to meet Silant, who told that he knows all the community of visualists at all coasts and thus, i believe, everyone knows him. very different approach to the screen than mr. Pixelnoizz and very interesting. as he own described he is more environmentalist. still he wanted to cut down the tree that covered part of the wall to be projected on. i don’t blame him.


dear colleague Vaclovas was involved in the most successful project of the festival, IMHO- Rave Museum. rgb+w painted wall opposed with LED stage lamp changing colors reacting to the sound input (Prodigy!) was EYE blasting indeed. i had my part in that museum too, with all the job done by Bartas from Gluk. face tracking trick that hooked every viewer with the the classic smiley face instead of their face. not so blasting as flashing wall, but more historically engaged. Dutch VJ culture and first software VJs, smiley face VJ samples, pills, that is all part of the rave culture.

on the side note: me, Gedas (CulAct) and Lukas (Vodka Jugend)  participated in Live Performers Meeting 2011 Minsk, Belarussia. i entered the VJ Torna Championship and crashed VDMX during first round (HUDGE FUCK!) next day entered the VJ Battle and did better- got to the final! but being super sloppy with the last round lost to VJ Fax (Italy). well, overall it was nice experience. i also sketched up one Quartz Composition during stay there. now it’s shared @Kineme, video here:

and some of it in action:

more light

June 15, 2011

our Nosignal team is invited to the summer festival Sūpynės coming weekend to shed light upon the ravers using nice setup of LED’s. come see us friday night, stage “more”. it will be first time for me to use LED output. quite exiting, as you have per pixel control. and to work with that poor resolution, well less is more in this case. less pixels = more care for each one.

enter the feedback

April 15, 2011

just an example of what kind of FX you can get with the quartz composer patch from previous post.

PixelGun and other virtual toys

February 13, 2011

playing with Quartz Composer. some code from Pixelnoizz (pxn) some motion detection (Architecture 1024) some feedback (goto10) all put together

in a process of compiling Quartz Composer based effect that would act like an old tube camera (com ca: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhPpTLkMdQo). i started with feedback + motion detection and it looks something like this:

result is close to what i want to get, but still a lot to tweak and learn in a process. the resulting image is very flickery and it gets totaly freaked out when the feedback is on full opacity. this is nice to play with – a lot of unexpected patterns emerge. i naively droped some blur on the feedbacking image considering that would smooth the flickering, but, as mostly happens with my amateur aproaches to Quartz Composer, it just did something else.

the new possibilities emerge with every step so its kinda hard to keep on one track. but hopefully i will come up with something nice that i can share with the comunity that was good to my:)

edit: composition shared at Kineme


February 4, 2011

last year we had a great honor to meet mr. pixelnoizz at Satta Outside festival. it was 3y3 blowing, insprational and beautifull. it still is.

cat in a sack

January 27, 2011

my cat’s favorite place to hang out: any sack. this time i’m there too. look closely…

Home style animation studio

January 24, 2011

last week i made a video promo for the party @ Satta. this time Satta drops some proper heavy shit from Bruxelles – VLEK records showcase with Cupp Cave & Squeaky Lobster live!
have to say: had real fun working with material from OMA & Piotr, who done the artwork for VLEK. the minute i laid my eyes on it, i thought of simple stop-motion animation. its fun to do, and always looks attractive. so there are some pics from making of and the result. hope to see yall on the dancefloor! music is as mind-blowing as the images!

!!! watch on Vimeo (link) for HD !!!

music: Squeaky Lobster – Rock it.