Live performance


Live performances

The majority of my moving image work has been characterised by the live performance in real time of either a whole video work, for the older pieces, or its constituent parts with more complex and longer later pieces. This live process was central to my fundamental concerns as an artist working with this medium. The rationale is explained elsewhere on this website [].

In this section are recordings of live performances of VAMP, Video And Music Performers, with 1-2 people on video and 1-4 people on electronically processed musical instruments.

VAMP evolved in the late Seventies from the live performance style developed earlier in the decade between myself and Simon Desorgher coupled with the development in1975/76 of the Videokalos Colour Synthesiser []

This allowed us to stage part-structured, part-improvised live performances for audiences using video in a unique mode at that time – certainly the first travelling video performances in Europe, and possibly anywhere in the world.

The very first performance was in 1977 at a little experimental venue in the Elephant and Castle area of London called Intergalactic Arts, long since consigned to historical space/time . . . . and unrecorded as my only video recorder was used as a play-in source . . . .

The oldest recording here is from a performance at Biddick Farm Arts Centre in 1978. It was part of the annual video exhibition run by artist Brian Hoey, who also played guitar on the piece.

It was a rehearsal for larger performances (audiences over 200 people) at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London in 1979 as part of their Musica series and IKON gallery in Birmingham, sadly neither recorded. Performers were myself and Richard Monkhouse playing video instruments with Simon Desorgher, Lawrence Casserley, (and Barry Guy and Roger Heaton at the ICA) on musical instruments and electronics. All the performers had live feedback in real time of ones another’s outputs, visual and aural, so could improvise and adjust their performance together.

The second recording is from a rehearsal for the “retrospective VAMP performance” associated with an “analogue” video show at Tate Britain in 2006, curated by Chris Meigh-Andrews, again not recorded. Simon, Richard and I retrieved our old analogue equipment from our lofts and put on a projected performance in the Tate’s Duveen Gallery. This piece, Icarus Eclipsed, just had myself on video and Simon Desorgher on flute and electronics; it is visually based around a simple feedback loop performed and processed through the Videokalos Synthesiser and using another analogue custom-built device for oscillating the Videokalos colourisers.

The more recent Colourscape performance in 2008 was somewhat different, as Gaia II was a music piece composed by Barry Guy and scored for improvised double bass and other instruments. With Barry improvising on double bass himself, and saxophonists and dancers moving around the various spaces, I provided a live improvised video visual interpretation for the audience present, many of whom were queuing outside and/or moving around the installation and not necessarily seeing the music performers directly.