For all who don’t know, what is D-Fuse? D-Fuse was founded by Michael Faulkner in the mid-1990s, D-Fuse is a group of designers and artists working in a trans-disciplinary method with cutting edge technology. Exploring a wide range of creative media, from mobile media, web and print to art and architecture, live A/V performances, TV and film, D-Fuse encourage their audience to reflect on the key relationship between sound and image. They continuously endeavor explore the possibilities of digital art through their desire to develop a unique language for the needs of the digital world.
D-Fuse’s visual art is screened internationally – at Sonar (Barcelona), onedotzero festivals, The V&A Museum (London), Nokia Labs in St Petersburg and Moscow, Mori Arts Center (Tokyo), Eyebeam (NYC), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Prix Ars Electronica (Linz), and the Lisbon and Valencia biennales. D-Fuse have collaborated with ground breaking musicians Scanner and Beck, as well as contemporary classical composers Steve Reich (performed with The London SymphonyOrchestra) and the Italian ensemble Alter Ego (who work with Salvatore Sciarrino and Philip Glass)
Explain this recent tour you’ve been on, what is the project, and how has it progressed as of yet. Surface originates with our interest in cites and how people relate to their surroundings in the urban environment. East Asia is particularly interesting, because cities are very diverse and have been going through great changes over the past few decades. The collaboration with local artists in each city is a key component of the project – it enables us to engage directly with the experiences and concerns of the people who live there, a bit like seeing the city like a local person but with fresh eyes. At the same time the dialogue with these artists requires us to question our own ideas and approaches. Surface is very ambitious, as we are researching each city and create new material in only a few days before performing the latest version of the piece.
How do the multi faceted aspects of your work come together – do the mediums feel separate or do they all remain fluid and connected? Our team with Michael Faulkner and Barnaby Steel creating video and Matthias Kispert for audio, has been working together for a number of years now and we always create sound and video at the same time, so both feed off each other and develop together. They’re pretty much inseparable.
How about the architecture projects? At the moment we’re working on a few public art projects, we’re always interested in redefining spaces. This is also something that happens with our Vjing, working with layers of transparent screens we create temporary architecture.
How do the collaborative projects work? Specifically with Beck? D-Fuse has always been about collaboration, sharing and moulding ideas together. Beck was an interesting project because there was only small amount of collaboration involved, it took us a little while to realize we were going to be left to our own devices with no interference from the record label. Beck was the only person who had input and that was pretty laid back. I only wish we had more time to develop the project, it was a pretty intense deadline. This and the VJ book wiped me out energy-wise.
Do you ever feel that technology limits what you’re trying to do? No but often the machine always wants more RAM or hard drive space. When we started over 10 years ago, you were lucky to make something move on screen, now there are almost too many choices and maybe too many people trying.
What would the work be without limits? What are some technologies that you’d like to see pushed father? I guess our limits are creative time, energy and render time. Funnily enough, I got quite used to those render moments they gave you time to reconsider the edit. Also the good thing about technology is cost is always coming down so you can wait a little while and still have the best set up at a fraction of the cost to high end film industry. We have just brought a Sony EX-1 XDCam tapeless camera. A few years ago that sort of thing would have cost $200,000 today it costs $6000.
VJing has come a long way since its start two decades ago. Where is it going? VJ culture has really spread into different areas in recent years – people who just used to play in clubs now work on art installations, interactive pieces, live cinema, remixes of films for Hollywood studios, or motion graphics and events for the commercial world. The scene is maturing with sub categories – DVJs, A/V, VJs who sample, narrative VJs, Live Cinema/sonic Cinema. Almost like how punk music evolved, a whole variety of music was named ‘punk’, but then you had new genres evolving new wave, Raggae/ska, and early electronica. I think the great thing is it is getting to be known in the public domain, people are now creating music and video on an equal paring.
Will it become consistently more prevalent? Yes, I am surprised considering how much screen based hardware there is out there. I am surprised it has not been more. This is probably because, most of it has been used for advertising and peoples general lack of understanding of VJ culture. Hopefully this is changing.
What is the significance of live video editing… what are its capabilities? Live Video editing is really interesting and more suited to a long VJ club set, where the whole performance is amorphous and evolving. We enjoy these, however our set for Surface is a live cinema (Sonic Cinema), so it has to be based on a timeline that we mix over, in order to cue and combine the audio, which is played with Ableton Live. The video is a mixture of edited clips that are either tempo controlled on a Pioneer DVJ1000 and video clips on Macbook Pro using modl8 or VDMX.
What are the downfalls of the medium? Endless back ups and Filling. Mike Figgis says in his book on digital filmmaking “with the digital age, he has become a filling clerk/ film maker.”
What are you most afraid of? Realizing no one is really in control of the planet, just lots of power struggles and maybe we’re f*cked environmentally.
Have you seen Alien Vs. Predator Requiem (AVPR) and would you suggest watching it? No, but my friend went to see it instead of Beowulf (which is a terrible film). He said the feeling in the cinema was how bad it is, the first one was surprisingly ok.
Advice for life? Do some shit jobs first, then try not sucked into the money break away and you’ll appreciate creative freedom later on in life. Also everyone should visit a third world country to put your life in perspective and see how lucky you are.
Favorite Websites? http://www.globalrichlist.com/
Is there anything else you would like say, what have you been thinking about? Tax avoidance of the super rich, I heard a program on the radio about this, (the UK is a tax heaven) they mentioned if they paid their proper percentage this would be enough cash to resolve global warming! Not sure how they worked this cost out but still interesting.
Have you ever had a reptile as a pet? Yes, a terrapin.