Sunday, 25 April 2010

From Library worker to VJ in 72 hours

The Austrian town of Tulln, situated on the bank of the Danube was the venue for a four day event organised by OMA International to bring together the 'Tagtool community'. Artists, programmers and new media people were represented from many different countries including Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, Russia & Scotland. The event featured three full days of workshops, discussions, work sessions, jams and performances. I attended with Alistair Wilson from the Science and Business department at Dundee Central Library.

Each evening featured respected Tagtool artists performance-drawing with musicians followed by open sessions giving participants the opportunity to draw in tandem with other artists to create 20ft wide projections accompanied by live musicians and DJ's. The event was opened to the public on the Saturday night followed by a party which pushed the overall attendance up to about 200.

Daytimes were taken up participating in various meetings and workshops. Much of Alistair's time in the first two days was dedicated to building the library's own Tagtool, he constructed the wooden box, fitted sliders, soldered wires up to the Arduino circuit board. All this with no previous experience of electronics.

Later Alistair was given a basic introduction to the open source software Nodekit. The more advanced Nodekit users shared knowledge and skills, I learnt how to alter patches on Nodekit to customise special effects to create different styles of presentations.

Meetings also took place where people came together to improve aspects of the software and to identify how to develop and strengthen the community.

On the final day Alistair was experimenting with both the Tagtool and video mixing software blending Super8 film and photography with his own live drawings.
I gave a presentation at the open mic session about the Nine Trades project working with Dundee central library and my recent arts practice working with the illustrator Chris Graham using the Tagtool.

Tagtool has already been in use at the library Alistair runs LIFE group on Mondays for ex substance abusers, members and workers have been drawing together, two group members plan to bring in their sons to try out the tool. Other library workers Sandra and Verity have begun to use it in their work with teenagers.


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