Following on from the post previous I waddled down to VIVID: A FESTIVAL OF LIGHT, MUSIC AND IDEAS. As well as to see the projections, there was a meeting about IDEAS for next year’s VIVID. Hmmmm, I thought, I will take my ideas about ‘the inscrutable’ and run it up the flagpole. There may be free piss.
You may recall that I was not that thrilled with VIVID when it first got going. After Eno they tried Lou Reed if I remember correctly. Then they ran out of people in somebody’s old vinyl collection and appointed Modular People (after doing Sydney Festival with them I take blame for telling their events guys, ‘you really should concentrate on corporate and festivals’). At least we had an Australian running it, even if the bands were seemingly all from Modular. This year I think they did it all internally or at least there’s no attempt at a figurehead. With Eno’s 77 Million Bad Paintings as the starting point it’s all up.
So anyway I get to the Museum of Modern Art and into the IDEAS room, and to cut the story short, three people with good intentions talked a bunch of depressing shit. IDEAS means graphs and charts of demographics, outcomes, viewings, FaceBook hits and I guess the prime moment was a chart that showed how VIVID had in four years started to make more money than SXSW in Austin. Fist bump! I was a bit sad to see how many ‘artists’ in the room were capturing this on their iThings as they planned their own prominence.
No free piss. I packed up my ‘inscrutable’ and was about to tiptoe out the door when An Organiser caught me. First I was bundled up to meet with the Main Curator. The last time we’d met was 100 years ago when he and I did an shit-faced drunk ‘interview’ which ended up in the Sydney Morning Herald and had us both banned from The Performance Space for life (or a new director whichever came first). Since then he’d designed the opening nights of Olympics and other events where 1000 people all dressed as koalas ride bicycles around a stadium and he really didn’t want to meet with somebody from a past he’d managed to surpass. Friendly but please go away. I redoubled my attempt to escape via the balcony but was caught and taken back the Mingle room.
In the Mingle room I got a stern talking to from Alessio from ACMI who combined hypnotic eye blasts with speech tone and aligned me with the realities of Major Art Events which Did Not Come That Often. Spiralling around in a hypno-coma I was eventually rescued by Iain Reed from 3200 Lighting. Iain is part of the old crew and understands the head space where I come from, back when a very small group of people did all this new media shit and no one else gave a damn. Now they were running it as The Creative Industry. The point was, he said, that things are not quite as controlled as they seem. Why not get a bunch of people together with the DIY spirit? Put on a show with ancient wonders, but put the video up on the sides of buildings. Inscrutable and Overt. Inside and Outside he said.
The next day Stephen R Jones barged into my office, as if called by the siren of Antique Knobbery. I don’t see Stephen often and most of it was chit chat but I told him about IDEAS and he expressed his opinion about that in rather crude terms. But we got to talking about people and things and he was agreeable about being in on the prank. He also mentioned a whole bunch of young equipment makers that should be involved to make it an all ages boffin event. That sold me.
I said – do you think you could get the old video synthesiser up again? He said – well actually I may have parts to make more SuperNova machines.
Now the SuperNova-12 was the last machine that Stephen built for a buyer that heavily publicised it, which is a good thing, but then apparently loaned the service manual to another organisation that developed and sold their own video synthesisers. To what extent they ‘found the schematics useful’ we don’t know but it discouraged Stephen from making any more. Every now and then we talk about getting it started again but now we have a plausible event at which the original machine could be reborn.
It will of course be called the SuperNova-13.
So we have a POSSIBLE event, and at that event a POSSIBLE launch of a machine! Chance of failure usually leads to my using a project codename like opmitter and H.H, in this case I want to get more people involved and so I’m spilling more beans than usual. The project name is Cavalcade. We can try.