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
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.
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
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
I HATE THOSE! But in terms of Gear, with both audio and Video it comes
down to Sources, FX and mixing.
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
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.
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.