amah-intend

Amah-intend was what I initially built in 2007 when I decided to develop an audiovisual performance system for my minor diploma at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung in Offenbach. For the first presentation, it consisted of 2 circuit bent Super Nintendos, a video mixer and a circuit bent keyboard.

This basic setup has seen a few additions over time to principally look like in the picture below for most of 2008-2009.

Please click on the machines in the picture for some indepth information about them.



I've done circuit bending with audio gear for about 10 years now, so the time felt right to take it to a new level and bending video gear seemed to be the obvious solution. No one needs consumer video hardware anymore because most people find computers more comfortable, so you can get everything you need for very cheap. And by saying very cheap, I'm not talking "pro-gearhead-cheap™". I mean very very cheap for normal people. The average price range of my gear was around 1-20 € per piece. That is even less than I have spent on audio gear.

Doing visuals is in my case pretty similar to playing music, because there are just as much annoying cables and I have to have loads of them fucking Wallwarts again. DAMN, I HATE THOSE! But in terms of Gear, with both audio and Video it comes down to Sources, FX and mixing.

I've never been a DJ because I like playing my own stuff. I never quite got the fuss about DJ's, because they always have to rely on other people to produce all these cool records so they can play them to other people......and basically, that's what all the DJ's do: they play other peoples' records.

Boring.

Yeah, I know: DJing can be an artform by itself and everybody and his/her dog knows some DJ who does it in this special way that... bla bla...

Back to the main issue here: live visuals. I've started all the DJ rant because most VJ's also use prerecorded content. This content has to be stored in a way so it can be used on the fly in a live environment. The most basic way to do this is putting some prerendered loops and clips on some DVD and maybe another one, so you can mix them, and then take these DVD's to the provided DVD players at the venue and go.This seemed to be a common way of doing it, but of course, there's a lot of nice software out there and, well, computers are made to do anything you tell them, so laptops seem to be most peoples' choice right now.

But I won't go into that any further because I despise DVDs and I'm not into using laptops on stage. Also I didn't want to do it in that "DJ" kind of way. When doing something live, I need to have a haptic experience, like touching buttons and knobs and stuff (I'm also a sculptor after all). And I'm kinda purist in a way that it HAS to be the instrument itself, not some random MIDI controller.

Most of my gear is modified anyway, so building my own stuff felt natural. I already used the term "circuit bending", if you've missed that, I kindly invite you to read the beginning of the text again. I eventually decided to use Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems as video sources, that I modified into weird Video Synthesizers, then I got a video mixer for amazingly cheap and bent that one, too.