Sunday, April 26, 2009

1/2 Dozen Questions with Zebbler

Zebbler (aka Peter Berdovsky) is a one-of-a-kind personality in the Boston art scene. In fact, he was just voted Boston's best visual artist by the readers of the Boston Phoenix. (You may also remember him from a little 2006 incident involving Aqua Teen Hunger Force and the Department of Homeland Security). He indulged our questions in advance of his Cyberarts project, the Dead Video/Live Video festival, happening May 2 and 3 at the MassArt's Pozen Center.

1. Pretend this is Twitter. Describe “Dead/Live” in 140 characters or less.

Dead/Live Fest makes artists compete in two categories: short/music videos and live visual performances. We will pack a screening, performance competition, awards ceremony and a dance party all into one night of incredible visual fun in Pozen Center at Massart on May 2nd.

2. The submission guidelines for the festival seemed pretty broad. How would you describe the range and quality of submissions you received?

I truly enjoyed the range of the submissions. We had a range from super complex 3d work to lazily keyed layers from stolen youtube clips. They were all mostly great submissions though. I really wish I could show more - but we had to limit the finalists to just over an hour master reel.

3. Who’s jurying the festival?

Mostly just me - yours truly Zebbler. I've been pretty responsible about things and emailed everyone personally to tell them why they got picked or rejected.

I have elected two people to help me judge the live video competition of the festival - Nick Colangelo (aka Vinyl Blight) and Ben Cantil (aka Encanti). They are both from my start-up arts and media label Vermin Street.

Anything can happen in a live performance setting - so I could really use their eyeballs/ears to tell me what rocked and what just didn't work for them.

I have removed myself and my other jurors from the competition obviously. But - all in all - I am sort of enjoying this tyrannical freedom of picking out strong pieces from all of the submissions and weeding out the weak ones. I like having full creative control when hosting events like Dead/Live fest. It allows me to hold the larger vision in my mind and resonate all of the submissions against that larger vision of what I want the event to be like. Hopefully people will like what I planted in the garden for them this spring and we could come back to it year after year to pick the harvest.

4. You were obviously in the middle of a pretty famous example of this city reacting badly to a guerrilla marketing campaign, and now we have the Shepard Fairey arrest. Do you think this town makes it tough for artists to work outside the traditional lines, so to speak? Dead/Live, and other events in the Cyberarts Festival, would seem to argue against that conclusion.

I love Boston. I think there are a lot of very creative, beautiful, intelligent people in this city. They/we are the future of the city, and when the right time comes, it will be us in control of the City Hall. What will we do then? I would argue that it's hard to do anything much different that it's being done now immediately. We are in a tough budget crisis in a country that has generally disapproved of funding of the arts for a while. But that's not a reason to give up.

I say - lets take care of our bare necessities first, but when the trouble times turn around - lets not forget that the arts are really the soul of the city. Let our souls shine. Let Boston shine.

5. What’s your strongest pitch for getting the readers of this blog into the Pozen Center on May 2?
  1. It's really a gift for you guys from me. I have invested a ton of time and money and friendships to make this event happen. And here's why I would want to attend myself:
  2. The venue rocks! Surround sound on a moveable lighting truss, giant projection screen, modular staging environment.
  3. The performers will rock! We are holding a competition for best use of video in live performance environment. This will be like speed dating for VJs. Every act gets around 15-20 minutes to woo us. Look them up on they are fabulous.
  4. The video screening will be very interesting and beautiful. Some of the pieces are melancholy beautiful, some are very intense, some pop, some anti pop. A very nice mix for all the video connoisseurs out there. And the beauty here too is that it's very personal - each video you see was personally submitted to me by its creator. There's no corporate groups making any of it - it's all individuals like you and me - with something to say and something to show. They do it very well too.
  5. The afterparty/awards will be silly good too. Very relaxed awards will be followed by a very complex performance sequence in surround and HD live. Dance party like no other in the city. From one artist to another.
6. How does Dead/Live fit into the broader scope of work that you doing right now? Are you more interested in creating your own work or creating opportunities for other artists to present their work, such as this?

I like doing both. I really like expressing myself visually and performing. But it's all about the desire to share something beautiful with my audience. And this is exactly what I am trying to do with my festival as well - share something beautiful with all of you.

And it does create a service for the artists that get featured in the fest as well - it's great exposure for them.

My bottom line was fun though. I want it to be a fun experience for myself to do this, for the audience to experience it and for the artists to perform and present their work. That's it really.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a Canadian and have noticed that alot of our problems occur when real devices are copied or produced that have been designed for American or British climatic conditions. I think particularly of car windshields most of which are being broken by small rocks which are not a problem in those other environments, and bridges which require different construction techniques because of our temperature. The same was quite true of buildings by Mies van der Rohe whose marble plazas had no longevity.
I wonder what effect this might have on other ranges of equipment that you propose in terms of electronic devices. Are they too dangerous in any instances where a wider range of heating devices may be in operation?
I think the relation between the real operating worlds of various gadgets and their environments makes an intriguing subject especially for devices designed to explore the characteristics of foreign planets and their orbitals.