Monthly Archives:

May 2012

Tagtool@Mapping Festival – Videos

Wednesday 16 May


This is the first half of our ‘Libusin Posse’ performance. This video is about 27 minutes long but the performance lasted for just over an hour. Unfortunately the card in Dima’s video camera ran out half way…..

Thursday 17 May


In this video I am drawing with Itzi and the musicians are Steve Buchanan, Divad Obenaus, Margaret Unknown and Philip Zoubek. We were participating in the Tagtool Anthology part of the festival programme, where each evening a number of members of the Tagtool community played together in a series of improvised performances.

Friday 18 May


Three short excerpts from the Friday Anthology programme in which Die. Puntigam was drawing with me. The music is by K.U.N.T.Z. with Dima Berzon.

These are all of Dima’s videos of the festival but throughout the three days of the Tagtool programme Joerg and Andi (seen below in conversation with Malu)
took video of all the performances, events and interviews with the artists and Tagtool developers. When all their video material has been edited, I expect that a big feature article will be published on the Tagtool website – and when this happens I will post a link on the blog!

Tagtool @Mapping Festival

16, 17 and 18 May – Geneva.

Three days of intensive Tagtooling at the Mapping Festival – which was a really great experience for us but unfortunately there wasn’t time to write up the blog on a daily basis – so now it’s ‘catch up’ time for me as usual!

As an introduction to the three days of performances and workshops at the Fonderie Kugler where the Tagtool programme took place, first there was a fanfare from Ritsche and then Maki presented a short ‘history’ of the Tagtool.
The two photos below show Maki and Itzi giving the very first ‘live’ public demonstration of their new Tagtool Touch for the Mapping Festival audience.Audience interest was immediate – instead of asking questions about the new app, people were lining up, eager to try out the Tagtool Touch for themselves!
At the Thursday and Friday morning Tagtool workshops there were further opportunities for people to find out about the new Tagtool Touch as well as playing with the ‘oldschool’ Tagtools – and as the photos below show, this was obviously a very enjoyable experience for both children and adults alike!
During all of the performances lots of people in the audience were taking both photos and video. As usual, I took photos for the blog with my little camera, but only when I wasn’t drawing – and sadly, most of my photos are not very good.I made this collage of musicians Ritsche and Steve Buchannan and the drawings in the background are by Maki and Itzi. This session is from the first of the Tagtool Anthology programmes, where we all took turns to draw and play together in some ‘oldschool’ Tagtool jam sessions. This was serious fun for all!

Each evening the performances ended with an hour long solo session from one of the featured artists. On Wednesday we performed as Libusin Posse (plus animation by Itzi) and K.U.N.T.Z. providing the music. Dima set up our video camera but unfortunately his card ran out half way through the performance…… so I was very pleased to find online this photo from the second half of our programme to use as an illustration for the blog. It’s by one of the Mapping Festival photographers, Evdokia Reymondin.

(The Mapping Festival website has a big gallery of photos covering all the days of the festival – do check it out to see some really high quality images that give a very good overview of the festival events.)

On Thursday there were two performances that I was really looking forward to see. The first, by RZM (Ritsche, Zasd, Marien and Maki), combined music, live action and movement, Tagtool and painting with pigment. Although I have seen videos of their physical theatre works I had never seen them perform live and, as so often happens, the live performance was a different order of experience entirely – I was mesmerised! In addition to the actual physical movement of the performers I found the interplay between illuminated surfaces and painted surfaces, the combination of pigment and Tagtool drawing, was particularly interesting – so I took lots of photos…
The second Thursday ‘featured artist’ performance was by Dieter Puntigam to music by Trudi Pelikan. His dazzling repertoire of kaleidoscopic images kept the audience spellbound – and again, my photos don’t come near to capturing the quality of this truly virtuoso performance!

On Friday Dima deserted his usual position behind the computer and played guitar on stage during the afternoon jam session and later joined K.U.N.T.Z. with me and Puntigam in the Anthology Session.

This session began with a solo performance by Margaret Unknown.
Jan and Itzi are drawing at the Tagtools.

The grand finale on Friday evening was ‘7 sessions’, a set of improvised live animation episodes from the Tagtool originators, Markus Dorninger and Matthias Fritz (Maki and Itzi). Together with Philip Zoubek (piano) and Christian Reiner (voice) this performance, which featured a cast of Maki and Itzi’s Tagtool characters both old and new, provided the ideal ‘happy ending’ to the three days of artists’ performances at the Mapping Festival.
From left to right: Maki, Itzi, Philip and Christian.
Here are some stills from their delightful and engaging performance…
Above – the red pig – one of my favourite characters…
….the performance wouldn’t have been complete without an appearance by Hilti
…..or the bee Seppi!

I will have some videos from our performances in my next posting but I will end this one with a big ‘thank you’ to all the members of the Festival technical team who helped to ensure that we had such a great time in Geneva at the Mapping Festival!

The New Tagtool Touch Experience!

We stopped en route for the Mapping Festival in Geneva at the Austrian ‘home of the Tagtool’ where I had my first opportunity to try out the new and exciting Tagtool Touch – a Tagtool app for the iPad – and here’s my very first drawing!This was a completely different order of experience from drawing with the ‘old’ Tagtool, with no cumbersome computer, no separate drawing tablet, and no jumble of wires connecting everything together. What’s more, it’s great fun to draw with your finger (or several fingers at once) and brilliant for animation!Here’s Maki drawing perched on the kitchen worktop – and Dima ‘had a go’ too, carefully studying all the drawing possibilities of this exciting new drawing tool.But, best of all, we were all able to join in a drawing and animation session on our iPads round the kitchen table (with no wires – absolutely magic!)

Visit the Tagtool Touch website at and read all about it!

Projection at 2/5 Dukelských hrdinů, Prague

This projection was part of five days of events, organised by the fortnightly cultural newspaper A2, which aimed to bring to public notice the condition of some of the historic and architecturally significant buildings in Prague that have for years lain unoccupied, abandoned and decaying.
Below is Dima’s video of our projection from Wednesday 3 May on the façade of this unoccupied building opposite the National Gallery’s Veletržní palác.
The video compresses into four and a half minutes the whole of our twenty minute performance and, in a departure from our usual live Tagtool drawing, it was pre-prepared complete with soundtrack in the studio, then projected on site. We decided to try out this way of working because we felt that, with my style of drawing, it would have been very difficult for me to achieve live a ‘finished’ piece on so large a surface in such a short period of time.

We visited the site beforehand and I took this photo from which Dima made an underlying image for me to ‘draw over’ in the studio. Then I built up my drawing bit by bit, with Dima capturing and combining the different parts of the images in the computer. (In my opinion this capturing and combining is the really clever part of the process and one that is a complete mystery to me!) This way I could work without any time constraint and (as in my drawing for our 3D experiment) in the projection of the trees growing up and gradually engulfing the building I was in effect, ‘drawing with myself’. While this method of working definitely provided a solution to the problem of building up a complex and detailed sequence of images within a short time frame, it of course also removed the possibility of spontaneously responding to the particular ambient light conditions at the time of the performance (and also in this case taking into account the brightness of the projectors, as we were not working with our own equipment).

But it is certainly a method of working that we plan to develop in the future – now all we have to do is to keep a look-out for some promising locations……

At DOX Centre for contemporary Art, Prague

On 26 April we did an evening of Tagtool drawing on DOX’s café roof terrace where I drew last year during the Lunchmeat Festival. This time the occasion was the opening of the big new exhibition, ‘Outside / Inside’ by Čestmír Suška. (This is a really spectacular exhibition, not to be missed if you are in Prague this summer!) When we arrived, first we spent some time going round the exhibition – then Dima had to get busy setting up all of our equipment.Dima took all of our projectors and two Tagtools so that I would have the possibility of drawing on more than one wall during the evening. It was a warm, dry evening and the café and roof terrace were very busy, with so many people standing outside that sometimes it was hard for me to see what I was drawing. This made it impossible to do any video but Dima took lots of photos. In this photo one of Suška’s big illuminated sculptures on the upper roof terrace that I ‘incorporated’ into the background of my first drawing can be clearly seen.Below is a collage of photos from my second drawing sequence on this wall.We had one projector beaming on to Petr Motyčka‘s ‘Shoe Christ’ on the gable wall next to the terrace so from time to time during the evening I ‘added’ some of my Tagtool drawing to this work.
After the exhibition closed, the café and roof terrace remained open with DJs and partying till late. Dima repositioned one of the projectors so that it beamed on to the wall across the courtyard……and I did some more drawings on the wall of the roof terrace as well.Then it was time to say ‘goodnight’, fade the drawing and pack up the Tagtools…As usual, people were very interested in the Tagtool, a lot of them seeing it for the first time – and it was also a really fun evening of drawing for me!