Monthly Archives:

September 2009

Another performance at the Brick Bar

Last Saturday we did another Tagtool performance at the final concert in the Stutterer Music Series organised by Bethany at the Brick Bar in Prague. Bethany (Beseppy) was playing with Martin Janíček in the final set of the evening. There was a ceiling mounted projector at the venue that we used last time but as our projector is much brighter we used it instead (mounted on a tower of beer crates!). This photo shows us testing the set up.

My video camera cannot cope with low light situations so Dima took stills with his digital SLR camera of the drawing at 11 second intervals. He used frame blending to achieve the morphing effect you can see in this video of the performance. Because this process speeds up the drawing the sound represents only a short sample of the whole performance.

Super8 and Tagtool – Tales from the Attic

We have just returned from a trip to Rotterdam – taking our Tagtool with us of course! Filmwerkplaats Rotterdam was where we made our first 16mm film together – there are great facilities for experimental filmmakers there and people are always friendly and very helpful. For this visit we decided that we would film in black and white on Super8 one of my monochrome Tagtool drawing sessions.

This is a photo of the drawing and recording set up. Because of the low light in the attic we had to use a Nizo 481 Macro Super8 camera. Dima made the wooden box to contain our projector and mounted it on a second tripod to illuminate my drawing area – a ‘stage’ where the curved surface of a huge cylindrical water tank formed the backdrop while a big wooden door and one of the beams supporting the roof formed the wings. In front of the door was an old car seat. A solitary ‘actor’ (Dima!) appears and disappears in the course of the drawing process.

We developed the Super8 film at the Filmwerkplaats and on our return home Dima did this home-made telecine transfer of the filmed footage. This process unfortunately loses the very special quality that celluloid gives to the images and, being a DIY job, it is a bit shaky and uneven but I think it gives quite a good impression of the session none the less. I am posting this version now but we plan to do optical printing on 16mm film and add a specially composed soundtrack.
The music that we chose to accompany this version is The Alban Berg Quartet’s recording of Berg’s String Quartet, op. 3.

Tagtool weekend with Maki and crew

A couple of weeks ago we had a visit from Maki and the crew from Tulln in Austria, the developers of the Tagtool.  They arrived on the Friday evening when we had a barbecue (with lots of beer and calvados) so the Tagtool sessions began on the Saturday and continued on Sunday morning.  Maki had brought his Tagtool mini with him so the set up enabled us to have two people drawing and animating together – which was great fun.  They also took video and still photos to document the weekend’s events and for some of the sessions Jan and Dima provided guitar and drums accompaniment.

I did two drawing sessions on the Saturday with Maki.  I found this an extremely interesting and stimulating experience and I think that working in this way caused me to think even more concentratedly than when I draw alone.  In the evening our Australian friend Peter and his wife joined the company and we had an open session when everyone joined in.  On Sunday morning Maki and I did another session together – drawing for about 40 minutes without a break – quite a marathon!

This video clip, and the one that follows, were both made from our sessions on the Saturday. Dima has speeded up our drawing to fit the length of the two songs. I was quite pleased with the results of this process although I think I would have preferred the first video to be played at a rather slower speed than it appears here. While I usually quite enjoy watching the drawing process played faster than normal, when the animation is speeded also, sometimes it becomes too busy for my eyes.

During the weekend when Dima and Jan weren’t improvising for us we worked to a selection of our favourite CDs, including Laibach, Tom Waites, Coolhaven and Yma Sumac.  However, Dima added a different soundtrack to the videos  – this was not the music that we used to accompany our drawing.  The two tracks he has used are ‘Stay the Same’ and ‘Seventh Day’ from the CD ‘Voices of Eden’ by the Swedish group Flesk Quartet.