Often, the art of a VJ is buried in the chaos of a live show or a dance party. The visual artist loops a variety of footage in real-time, synchronising it with music and tailoring it to the scene. Stock footage, drawings and projections are lumped together as background noise for the main event. But the founders and artists of Flotar, a series of experimental audiovisual performances at cultural center Casa Presa, want to bring the visual to the forefront and make VJing the show itself.
“The idea for Flotar emerged from shows at Casa Presa. I was working as a VJ for various events at the cultural centre, and it became a space to experiment. Soon, it developed into an arts series that focused on experimenting with audiovisual in real time,” said organiser Nicolas Di Filippo.
Flotar began about four months ago, and since then Casa Presa has held three editions of the event. Di Filippo said the series has continued to grow in popularity, and they plan on hosting many more.
“The main idea of Flotar is always to have an exchange of ideas and inspiration between artists, and to have a space where the real time video is not considered the accompaniment of bands or the background of a party but a piece of design in itself,” he said.
The last edition of Flotar was held on Saturday, 30th March and featured the work of several artists, including artist Alejandro Leoneli of art studio Gogogoch. Leoneli projected a variety of interactive works onto the big screen, accompanied by the music of Hernán Calvo.
He drew different works with chalk while the audience watched. Each two or three minute short began with a title page and then proceeded with the drawing. For example, for one piece he drew in chalk “Oportunidad” (Opportunity) and then proceeded to draw an outstretched hand and began rolling a pen back and forth across it, as if to show the opportunity just out of reach. In another short, the artist drew a rosary and then placed an actual cross at the end of it. The mixed media: a chalk drawing projected on a wall with a pen or a pendant thrown in, is unique to this series and entrancing to watch.
The fact that the drawings are done live, in real time, allows the audience to participate in a way specific to Flotar. In one short, called “Cuidado,” a toddler in the audience began to chant “Cuidado” along with the music. The potential for audience interaction makes the shows unpredictable and fun.
Beyond Leoneli’s work, throughout the night Di Filippo experimented with visuals projected on the screen. He said one of the most important aspects of the experimental show is that it is open to everybody.
“Everybody is invited to participate in Flotar – not just VJs or video artists, but every type of artist from every type of background, who wants to apply his work in video format, or who simply has a audiovisual idea that they would like to realise and exhibit,” he said.
This was evident at the show, as Di Fillipo invited attendees to join him in experimenting with different fruits and vegetables he was cutting under the camera and manipulating with a computer program to look completely unrecognisable; in one case a cabbage being cut on screen ended up looking like a brain. In all aspects, Flotar is a highly accessible and open-minded experience.
Entry to Flotar shows is free. The shows are held in the backyard of Casa Presa, where attendees can enjoy the centre’s homemade pizza, empanadas, patatas bravas, and cheap drinks. The open air, laid back experience is the perfect way to spend a Saturday night, and although Casa Presa, located in Villa Urquiza, is a relatively long way from the city centre, the experience is well worth the trip.
Artists interested in participating in Flotar can contact organisers at [email protected] If you are interested in attending Flotar, keep an eye on the series’ facebook page where the details of the next edition will be posted soon.