Sublimating a performance, or the importance of VJing at MUTEK
Visual : VJ BunBun. Photo : Soleil Launière
VJing, for Video-Jocking, is the real-time animation of projected visuals. At the crossroads of cinema, music and performance, it is a hybrid audiovisual practice.
In "audiovisual" there is audio, we hear that. But what we don't necessarily see is the graphic work that underlines each project. At times just a simple recorded video projected in the background; at other times, it's a meticulous work of research and visual creation that are then broadcasted, composed, and animated live. To produce such content, you need a Video Jockey or VJ, and if there is one name that shines within the Montreal scene and beyond, it is BunBun.
As part of the 23rd Edition of its festival, MUTEK wants to place the spotlight on those who are seen but not heard, through the prism of one of their most prolific representatives.
Spotlight on : VJ BunBun
Photo : Claire Fénart
Montreal-based artist Bunbun is dedicated to “creating memorable, yet ephemeral, visual experiences that elevate the viewer's perspective”. Their approach to the discipline is characterized by deeply colored, ultra-textured and rhythmic work. Purely elusive, their productions are as varied as the events they takes part in: Burning Man, Bass Coast, Jazz Fest, Île Soniq and of course MUTEK to name a few. As BunBun likes to say, “the content is often informed by the context. That and the ability to adapt & improvise in the moment is what allows me and my art to keep evolving.“
“The future of music is visual. More and more we see (quite literally) how visuals can create an indelible impression upon a musical journey.”
An effervescent local scene
The Montreal VJ scene has transformed itself and over time, becoming one of the most vivid VJing scenes in North America. MUTEK, the Société des Arts Technologiques and Le Salon Daomé have largely contributed to the emergence and recognition of this practice. "Our MTL VJ scene may still be small in size but it is undoubtedly grandiose in talent. I am incredibly fortunate to work alongside some of Canada's most accomplished VJs", explains the artist.
Priori & BunBun — © Myriam Ménard
If BunBun recognizes the ingenuity of their counterparts and the key players in the industry, they are not the only ones. As the audience, and as promoters, we are more and more demanding and grateful for the work of visual artists and the atmosphere they create.
“Feeling seen and understood will motivate us to deliver the best possible performance and ensure that what we project reflects positively.
And MUTEK has always strived to understand this. Live visual creation is an unwavering part of our identity, crafting an additional dimension to musical performances. Many audiovisual projects are presented each year at the festival. The fact that some artists channel their focus purely on their musical performances strikes the point where VJs come in to accompany and complement the show. For several years now, BunBun has been part of these Video Jockeys who join the program, while also being called to realize visual campaigns for the organization, such as the one below.
“My MUTEK Montréal debut was back in 2018. Since then, the organization has provided me with plenty of opportunities to learn & grow as a visual artist.”
This relationship of trust established over time, translates today into the mandate given to BunBun: to create the official selection of VJs for the 23rd edition of the festival! “I made it part of my mandate to ensure that there'd be a balanced yet diverse representation of local VJs whose styles would complement those of their musical counterparts.” By relying on BunBun's expertise and artistic sensibility, the VJ curation is geared to offer a special place to emerging visual artists.
VJ BunBun and MUTEK are proud to present the official selection of local VJs, in alphabetical order:
Alex Vlair, Baillat, BunBun, Data Dada, Diagraf, Isotone, Kaminska, Kitana, Line Katcho, Myriam Boucher, Stefano Gemmellaro, & Susy.technology.
Come and revel in their work across the different stages of the Festival, from August 23 to 28, in the Quartier des Spectacles of Montréal.
This article was written by MUTEK for the 23rd edition of the festival
Take advantage of this year's reduced rates:
Words gathered and put together by Grégoire Chevron
with contributions by Lola Baraldi