Lumen: Okey, let’s the GREAT interview begins 🙂 Tell me some facts about yourself. Where are you from? How does your vjing start? What is your main occupation now? And the exclusive question – what do you prefer for your breakfast?
Vinícius Luz: Hahahaha!! Let’s start!!! I’m from Brazil and I’ve started as VJ 12 years ago mixing VCR and video cameras in an RCA split. At that age, I was in love with audiovisuals and the very brand new hand cameras. After that, I had a rock and electronic underground club experience for 200 people maximum, when I was 20. And I started to mix visuals on my super transparent iMac G3 and a TubeTV, almost at the same time I started with the motion graphics studying After Effects, Maya, 3Ds Max and later on the cinema 4D.
I studied Audiovisuals during my graduation and post-graduation years. Now I’m back to the studies in Venice-Italy, obtaining Digital Architecture master’s 2 degree, improving my knowledge and skills as I love the most. I live in Dubai, travel every weekend to Italy, and I work here as a VJ. For the first time in my life, I have an official contract, maybe in the only one open-minded club considering VJ creation called O2 Nightclub. I have a light installation as well in the rooftop of this club, and it is my main work after these 13 years I have been hard working with my passion till formal level.
In 2007 my VJ-life changed when I discovered the video mapping, and we start to do that in Brazil as one of the pioneers, a bit after or at the same time with some teams: Bijari and Visualfarm, headed by Vj Alexis, and of course, the monsters of United VJs headed by VJ Spetto and Zaz. Before that, some other artists like VJ Palumbo made building projection, but the concept of the video mapping came later, between 2006 or 2007. So then VJZARIA was born.
I shot a movie with 3 different cameras, 66 minutes long in Brazil and we screen it as video mapping in 2008, projecting in the urban space on a very famous monument in a small city near SP called Bauru. We called it “Film mapping”, but after that experience I have never worked with cinema and focused on the Video Mapping and 3D art for the next years. Later, we got the second prize in my first trip to Europe in the nomination of Video mapping trophy, organized by the VLS, based in Paris in 2011. Then a long journey started. The VLS video mapping trophy was the first official contest for 3D mappers. When the VJ tournament introduces the Best Live Mapping as a category, we got the first prize in Rome and we got prizes in all editions we participated. It was a motivation for us because nobody invests in VJ culture in Brazil, only the VJs community by itself.
I don’t think that in art we have someone better than other, but this kind of festivals motivates a lot of lost souls in VJ to do something better by oneself and reach something symbolic to make you stay alive as a VJ. Now, even still doing some corporative projects, like visuals for World Cup, big brands, advertising agencies, my main work is vjing and video mapping, improving new interactive and digital architecture technologies.
I like coffee and milk so much with bread and butter or cheese for my break or breakfast, but Italian breakfast is my favorite one.
Lumen: You’ve mentioned your own VJ team, tell more about it, please.
Vinícius Luz: VJZARIA came from the electronic underground music festivals in a small city and now we have projects and presentations in more than 100 cities and 24 countries around the world!!
Lumen: So were the VJZARIA a separate team, not a part of United VJs, from the very beginning?
Vinícius Luz: Vjzaria is a separate team! We worked with United Vj’s for the first time last year, but we were so much influenced by then.
Vinícius Luz: More than 10 years ago I was at the Arkaos workshop with VJ Spetto and he had motivated us, my partner Edmosh and me, so much! Each of us has the different style as a Vj, but our work together has a nice vibe. We are completely open-minded VJs, we watch and learn more than talking bullshit about works of other VJs.
Lumen: What do you study hard as a VJ? Was it more technical or software part of the vjing? Or did you need more classes of classical art history? Where do you find your inspiration for the work? How did your academical studies influenced your style in vjing? Should everyone become Master or Bachelor in Design, Digital Media or Arts to be a professional VJ?
Vinícius Luz: Here in Dubai, even with all the structure for the VJs professionals, the community begins to realize what is a live performance. A lot of clubs here you can visit run downloaded videos with no effect and made by lazy people, when we are trying to show the importance of a VJ work, on the contrary. They even put the VJ name in the line up of the parties.
I learned by myself everything as VJ, started with all kind of software till I’ve found the modul8. But if you have a good taste, knowledge of visual arts and good references, the things flow better I believe.
My inspiration is my friends, first of all. I’m lucky that I meet a lot of talented artists those respect my work and inspire me at the same time: VJ Eletroiman, Vigas, Bruno Bez, VJ Spetto, Kanaka Project, Glowarp, Vj Pete Elasticeye, Roman Gomes, VJ Mutante, VJ Chindogu, VJ Emiko and Jago… While traveling to the festivals like LPM, I’ve seen the anti-VJ, Joanie Lemercier, Bordos, 1024, apparati effimeri. Of course, I’m inspired so much by the pioneers in Video Art like Nan June Paik, Bill Viola and other artists like Dali, Giger, Escher, Da Vinci. I’m so much influenced by the great mathematics as Pythagoras and Fibonacci.
I don’t think you need a diploma to be a VJ, but I need because I like to have an academic contact and some reason to read more. If I don’t discipline myself in my crazy life, I can become a crazy junk drunk VJ, so it is better be focused and never stop learning.
My main VJ software is Modul8 , but now I use Resolume as well for some projects and study generative in processing, Unity 3D, producing dome and VR contents, getting deep in Arduino interactions and light installations. And for mapping I use Madmapper since the first beta version. That was a point that changed the mapping reality. We also worked with illustrators with different styles, like Tarsila Schurbert, L7m and Camila Gondo. It brought a unique style in our work as well, mixing animated 2D illustrations and realistic 3D made by me and Edmosh, and it became one of our signatures with with projects in festival like Genius Loci Weimar in Germany, Zushi Festival in Japan, Lux Greco mapping festival in Toledo-Spain and our first prize in the first live mapping contest in the history in VJ Torna Rome.
I think you learn more as VJ while attending the mapping festivals, like LPM, festivals of visual arts and live performances than at the desk of the university. I gave lessons at the university years ago and I was trying to introduce these things, but some academic people don’t like my proposals so much. The university is always a bit late against the avant-garde in art and technologies.
Lumen: You’re so purposeful, so I think you’ll rise up your level of mastery with every new project!
Vinícius Luz: That’s the idea!! Get better and better with every finished project while we see details that could be better or improved!
Lumen: You’ve mentioned modul8 and other software. What software would you like to recommend for newbies? And what do you think about the difference between free and expensive software?
And one more questions in this sphere. Do you produce your own loops for sale? And what is your attitude to loops and video mix producers who only sell the production but not practicing vjing?
Vinícius Luz: I like modul8, processing, VDMX and for some rare things the Resolume. I produce all my own loops for each different event, but I use loops I got at festivals and friends production!! I think buying loops is for people who are only beginners in VJ life! It is important for us to do something each time for the culture growing! And about loops for video mapping, I actually don’t understand so much cause everything I learned during these years that all the realistic effects are possible with the real 3D modeling of the structure, but I confess I used some loops for a project ordered for an emergency work. It saved me some time, but it did not look as good as when you produce the model and render especially for the case.
Lumen: Oh, it’s a quite fresh look at this case. Time is a real matter for a VJ.
Vinícius Luz: I use all my packs I got at the festivals from Lime Art and Shop4vjs that i won in VJ torna as prize, but I mix them with my stuff. I use some mapping content for VJ set as well. How Eisenstein said, if an image is mixed with another, both images have a new meaning!
Lumen: It seems like a main idea of all modern art. Sometimes we just have to see something new in mixing old ideas and objects… What are the most negative features of VJ community development? How can we prevent them? What will you say about the competitions between the VJs?
And, please, describe your future plans and how do you see the VJ World in 2025.
Vinícius Luz: In case of the negative features, I don’t see a lot of them, but I don’t like to observe VJs that only mix downloaded videos and don’t create compositions and live effects by themselves. Of course, the usage of researched materials is part of a VJ work, but it is an obligation for me to mix everything into my style and create something new even with famous or old content. I like this kind of competitions and contest in VJ festivals because it shows that is not only the content creation is important for a performance, but the live performance and the feeling. It makes VJs improve oneself. It is a chance to show the classic VJ style. I was attending the mapping festival VJ contest last 3 years, every time and almost all LPM VJ tournaments, and I learned something new and got surprised about the new works of my friends and new VJs. It’s a big meeting for people that like the same thing. So, I like the contests as a good reason to attend these kind of meeting. In my case, for example, to get more respect as a professional in my country.
In Brazil, when you do something outside the country, they have a culture that valorizes your work, when you do something recognizable in Europe or other countries, even if you do a lot of projects there. I felt it so much, when I came back from the first international tour.
Regarding the future of the VJs, I saw a big transformation and revolution in the VJ world and it is just the beginning. We are in the middle of the immersive revolution. We started with square screens, now the space is audiovisual and we will be inside a virtual world very soon. As Pierre Levi said, the visual language is becoming universal and it will unite the cultures.
Lumen: Tell us more about Dubai, visual art culture and etc.
Vinícius Luz: I came here, in Dubai, with a big hope for new horizons of my work. People are beginning to understand the importance of VJs, but it is very weird when you see clubs that spend a lot of money on decorations, but use 4 or 5 loops with people who are not professionals or technicians. As for me, it is not vjing and people have this impression that a VJ is only a technician and not an artist. But in my work I have opportunity to create something new every week and you can see how people get surprised about the visuals and change their minds.
I did the first 3D stereo show in the history of the night life here and it was the best night at the club since they were opened, so I have a good feeling to change their minds a bit. They have some big projects here, but they are typically led by European professionals like the Guinness book of records for the biggest Led installation in Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, and the mapping made by Bordos 3D in Burj Al Arab, the 7 stars hotel and postcard from there. Before I came here, Vjzaria made the project for the selection of the cities for the Expo-2020 and Dubai was selected. That project was for the embassies from a lot of cities around the world held in Paris. We made the first 3D stereo mapping as well in the Sikka festival, performed by Edmosh, and later we organized a collective mapping of selected works from VJs around the world for a projection in the Perspective festival. The things were going nice, but I had the impression that I’m still working hard to show why I ‘m here.
Anyway, I’m still traveling for other projects and Vjzaria will participate as the international jury for the third time in the Glowfestival, Ostuni-Italy (April, 2015). We have a lot of ideas we want to realize. One of them is related to the organization of a mapping and immersive festival here for light and projection installations. They organize the Dubai Festival of Lights, but it is not open to submissions and we tried to contact them, but get no reply for this year, so we want to organize something open for every artist who wants to show his work, select the most impressive and make it happen very soon.
I wish good luck for all VJs, never give up because if you persist the things happen. See you at Geneva mapping festivals, LPM-Rome, Glow festival Ostuni or Visual Brasil (Barcelona) this year!
Lumen: Oh my God, it’s been a wonderful interview! Thank you a lot!
Vinícius Luz: Thank you! It was a great pleasure for me too!
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