Gianluca Del Gobbo: The Formula of LPM Festival or How Young Visual Artists can Meet 400 Soulmates at once?
Lumen: How did you get involved in art and live visual experiments? Was it a sudden enlightenment or gradual development of your aims and ideas?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: I started to experiment with live visuals in 1999 in an underground space during so called Friday and Saturday drum ‘n’ bass nights. My background was the net art practices of that time. I was working on the Shockart.net project organizing international exhibitions of net art. At the same time with Flyer communication we were one of the lead companies in the field of Flash websites development. So my personal live visuals history comes from the web.
During these experimentations I noticed the lack of interaction between generative aspects and traditional video. Instead, due to flash, it was possible to bring important additions to live video performances. So in 1999 I decided to start developing an AV mixer to be able to use Flash content in live mode: that’s how the FLxER occurred. I decided to keep it free. A big community of users grew behind FLxER, but people tend to become more and more passionate, when it comes to the idea of sharing knowledge (that is in the root of FLxER project).
Lumen: Then in 2004 you founded The Live Performers Meeting or LPM Festival! Could you please describe your step-by-step process of organizing such a great yearly event?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: LPM is a meeting and it was born in 2004 from the community of FLxER. There were not too many of the FLxER software users, but a lot of people interested in sharing their knowledge, as I said before.
Basically, we tried to arrange the best place where creative people can meet and share experiences. We still start from the FLxER community to announce our events.
Nowadays the first step in the process of organizing is looking for funds: participating in public grants on international and national levels. Then we look for a venue that can host around 250 gig, then we launch the call and we start to work on tool developed from us to manage all the submissions, accommodation requests and schedule of the 400 artists on the program. During this time we also manage the relations within the network of 200 partners from all over the world.
Lumen: Sounds very grand! Which problems do you face during the organizing process of LPM events? And how do you solve them?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: Major problems are always funds. Since 2007 we started to participate in local public grants call for culture and since 2011 we started to apply at the Culture Program of the European Union, and we are lucky to have these grants almost every year since 2007. At the same time, till now, people want to meet and LPM can happen, as in 2014, without any money! It happened because if you let 400 artists meet in one place for 4 days, something will surely happen.
Lumen: How did the LPM change from 2004? Did you have to move away from the original concept?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: LPM formula is the same since the beginning. We meet once in a year in a place where everyone can show his/her best achievements and works in the field of performing video. I think that if there were no more need to meet, there wouldn’t be any LPM events.
Lumen: How do young artists and talented minds can find new channels for self-expression due to LPM now?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: Artists coming to LPM can do what they want and at the same time they have the opportunity to meet more than 400 artists from more than 40 countries, which is a big opportunity to investigate many different approaches and many different tools for live video. LPM differs from other festivals. We invite artists to play for the first time in their lives, as well as we wait for skilled and famous performers. Moreover, popular, successful and experienced artists have the possibility to meet young beginners, which is never easy, when you start to work at high level.
Lumen: Is it important to have inspiring and helpful mentors during artist’s formative period? Did you have such people? Do you consider yourself as a mentor for LPM participants?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: For sure! I had my mentors, when I got started. They were mostly coming from the web art community, like Joshua Davis, Niko Stumpo, Yugop and others. Now I can also be a mentor, because in 18 years I’ve collected quite a lot of experience to share.
Lumen: Thanks to such international events like LPM, artists from different countries communicate, share ideas, become more popular, meet friends and feel the freedom to create. They are absolutely okay. But what about the development of media art in conditions of cross-cultural exchange? Can you list some bugs and features of so called digital village’s art?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: Is hard for me to find bugs, because I think it is just a new way of having relationships. They are not limited anymore to the people that you can reach in your area, now you have almost the same relations in your city as in a city in the other side of the world. We have arranged events like LPM in Mexico without going there before. Some people predict that in the long term, certain bugs can cause kind of losing our roots; for example, VJs in Australia will make the same things as Spanish artists… But I don’t think so!
Lumen: By the way, who are your favorite media artists from all over the world and why?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: It is impossible for me to say just a couple of names. There are so many different disciplines, styles, techniques and budgets. There are great works of Live Cinema as amazing generative video mapping, as 3D video mapping. They are made with pharaonic budgets, which help them look very impressive.
Lumen: What advise can you give to young and innocent VJs and visual artists? Is there any success secret? How to create masterpieces and earn money without painful compromises?
Gianluca Del Gobbo: In general, what I noticed during these years is that it is very rare that VJs can play at places, where they would go as visitors. It is very rare that VJs have guest lists at the door, that they have followers. These are the only ways to be paid more and more, as it happens to DJs. And that’s the only reason why maybe DJs are better than VJs. Most frequently, VJs play in places they hate. They do not even invite anyone.
So my suggestion are:
1) Try performing in places you like;
2) When it happens, give to the lead arrangers a guest list (as big as possible), they will not seem to be satisfied, and that’s because they know you can potentially ask for more money. They pay for it, and don’t be surprised, when later during the night an extra drink will arrive on your console.
Lumen: As a trendsetter and prominent personality, share some interesting plans for 2018 and information about LPM 2018. We’re so excited!
Gianluca Del Gobbo: The formula is always the same, but at the same time every LPM event is different. I can give you just some of previous plans and ideas. There will be a preview, lectures and workshops about bio art and generative visuals that use bio algorithms as process, Telenoika with a Video Mapping workshop and a lecture that will bring some of the most inspirational examples of great and not commercial video mapping artworks and the video mapping contest made in partnership with FIMA the Mexican Festival of Mapping with several software as prizes and the participation to the next edition of FIMA in Mexico as additional prize for the first winner. A long list of others workshops and lectures will be announced, then after the 10 of April we will know the other 200 (we hope) gig proposed from the community.