WHY I’M LEAVING ANTIVJ

Last November, during a meeting with all the artists and team, I announced to everyone that I decided to step out of the label I created 5 years ago.
It was a painful decision, but necessary for me to move forward. Here is the full story.

HOW IT BEGAN.

In 2006, I started using the name AntiVJ as a nickname for my solo VJing performances. I was performing intensively in Bristol and London, and I was becoming fed up with the classic “multi-colored VJing effects” and random visuals mashups. I chose the word AntiVJ at that time half as a statement, and half as a joke.

After a couple of years performing and touring, I came across the work of other visual artists that totally blew my mind: Legoman (Yannick Jacquet) was using transparent materials to create 3d displays, while Olivier Ratsi and Romain Tardy were developing multiscreen VJ sets and producing 100% original material, all developing their own unique visual style. Thomas Vaquié, the sound artist who was contributing to most of legoman’s AV work at the time, was also one of the founding members.

Early in 2008, we started working together, and we multiplied collaborations. Quite naturally “AntiVJ” became the name for the group, in order to dissociate and distance our work from basic club projections. I then created a logo, the website, a blog, and a teaser to regroup works from individual artists into a single showreel that would set the tone and aesthetics our future projects together.

A LABEL.

In the first months, we were not sure about what we were: Art collective, team, company, agency ?
I come from the club and festival scene, and I’ve always been fascinated by record labels such as Warpminus and Raster- Noton.

A structure with a recognizable image, to help artists developing their projects, and to produce and promote their work. Within the label, artists could have their own style, and develop solo projects as well as collaborations.
Outputs formats could be anything from physical releases, editions, to live performances.

That was it, I found working within the label framework very inspiring, as opposed to working as a collective (such as the brilliant Pfadfinderei) where you often have no clue who’s behind the name. I then brought in a producer, Nicolas Boritch, to help on bookings and project management, and a new artist: Simon Geilfus, who’s creative coding skills made possible the development of a new approach to live visuals, and 100% realtime and audio reactive graphics, such as the show he developed with music producer Murcof.

2009 and 2010 were the busiest years we had.

Being a team of 7 people sharing the same direction and taste was amazing, and the rush pushed each of us to produce the best possible content in very short amount of time. We were still experimenting with projection mapping, and had a very DIY approach, and we would often produce AV pieces on site,  in less than 2 weeks. In may 2009, we premiered the show with Murcof at FutureEverything in Manchester, played the stereoscopic show with Principles of geometry at Elektra festival, did a stage design for Nuits Sonores in Lyon, and presented an Architectural projection in Montreal’s old port for Mutek, all within four weeks.


projects-5-years-840

2011 – 2013
With many unsolved questions regarding our structure and the way to operate the label, we collectively realised the importance and necessity of redefining roles. At that time I was running the label as the creative director as well as working as an artist, and we felt boundaries were too blurry and the situation unbalanced for the other members, so I stepped down to be involved only as an artist. The last project I worked on was Omicron, in january 2012.

Also after putting so much energy into collective projects, I started developing more personal pieces outside the label, and started focusing on making solo artworks and shows in Art galleries.

THE NEXT STEPS.

After so many projects, and being all more and more busy, we realised that we had to develop the structure to be able to continue making better projects.

We realised we needed to get some help to progress on several points:
– legal structure: being all freelancers is great, but it limits us for a lot of potential projects.
– bookings: to tour existing projects and look for new partners.
– communication: to develop a new identity and logo, make a new website, with more regular updates.
– documentation: to work with a photo and videographer, as well as an editor, to document projects.
- copywriters: to write about the projects, and work on press releases.
– internship program: to get digital arts students on board, and provide work experience in return.

Unfortunately, more than a year after listing all these needs back in late 2012, we did not manage to make significant progress on these points, due to the complexity of taking decisions as a group of 7 people.
While working as a group on creative content can create some amazing results, dealing with structural decisions all together is a major constraint, and unfortunately it is not practical for me to work in that way anymore.

This is the fundamental reason why I decided to step out of AntiVJ, and continue my own path: to be able to move faster, and to explore new fields.

I have a deep respect both professionally and personally for everyone who has been involved with AntiVJ over the years, and I am very excited to see how they develop as artists and to see the work that they create, I have no doubt it will be great.

NEW STUDIO.

The first major project I produced is a collaboration with rapper JayZ, and a series of 4 audio visual installations with  artists Davy McGuireKyle McDonaldRomain TardyDavid TerranovaBoris Edelstein and Thomas Vaquié, produced by Juliette Bibasse and Julia Kaganskiy, as well as a team of 28 people. The projects premiered at Barneys New York, and were on display for 4 weeks on Madison avenue, NYC. The full report will be released in February 2014.

barneys

I’m so excited to start this new adventure, I’m now based between New York city and Paris, feel free to get in touch and save my new email adress if you’d like to connect: hello@joanielemercier.com

Best,

Joanie Lemercier

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  • Ray-V on Jan 27, 2014 Reply

    NJoy!!!
    x

  • gnomalab on Jan 27, 2014 Reply

    I wish the best for everyone.

  • Geert De Coninck on Jan 27, 2014 Reply

    Sad news, I’ve always loved the work that AntiVJ produced.

    You guys really pushed the boundaries of video art and managed too stay thru too your own values and love for live visuals performing.

    Looking forward to see new work.

    All of luck with future projects!
    Geert – http://www.VJbooking.com

  • chindogu on Jan 27, 2014 Reply

    Beautiful post and point of view. Good luck & love.