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 ]


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