This BYOB event at the Signal festival, organised by Nicola Pavone (VJ Luper), was held at Podnik Club in Bubenska 1. This impressive Functionalist building formerly owned by the Prague Electricity Company is now home to a variety of design studios, offices and young creative companies. We have Tagtooled here before, as it’s where Lunchmeat have their HQ and club NEONE, but it was the first time that I had drawn on the outside of the main entrance to the building.This presented quite a challenge because of all the windows and there was a lot of ambient light both fixed and from the cars passing on the highway in front of the building. We borrowed two Acer 6000 lumen projectors from Lunchmeat and positioned the Tagtool at the far side of the car park. With this set up (and using our new Honda EU 20i generator to power everything) we were able to cover the full width of the entrance block as a ‘canvas’ for drawing.I was only able to go inside to the club for a few minutes between drawings so I didn’t see much of the other performances or VJ sets – which was a pity as there seemed to be a lot of interesting installations and visuals at the party. But the weather was good, dry and not too cold, and lots of people came outside to see my drawings. Here are some photos that Dima took for me…. Once the last of the lights in the offices had been switched off and the whole of the facade of the building above the entrance was in darkness there was nothing to distract me so I continued to develop this longer sequence of drawing.Using a generator as our power source meant that we didn’t have any wires trailing from the building and across the car park that could be tripped over or accidentally unplugged during the performance. Also, our generator was working continuously for more than four hours, proving conclusively that it has been a really good investment for this kind of outdoor performance.
Unfortunately Dima was only able to video twenty minutes of this concert before the battery in his camera failed and the strong wind that was blowing through the open colonnade of the venue also produced some problems with the sound quality. This is a pity because Mahesh Vinayakram, Matija and Nika Solce, Žiga Šercer, members of the band Sekete Feretlek and Duo Duo with Danila produced an evening of truly unforgettable music-making in a programme that moved seamlessly between traditional song and Indo-balkan fusion. Drawing to this music was a real joy for me and I wished that the concert could have been twice as long!
Above is a view of Grad Snežnik, pictured in this photo by Ana Jeran reflected in the clear water of the lake by day, and below, the same view at night with one of the drawings that I made during the Floating Castle Festival to accompany the groups of musicians who played beneath the arched entrance to the castle.The white painted exterior of the castle was the perfect surface for Tagtooling, with the reflections in the lake adding an extra dimension to the drawings…For the drawing below I decided to make use of these reflections in the water to create the illusion of the woman and child bathing in the lake.Musicians also played on a ‘floating stage’, moving slowly across the lake. (This was an historic wooden boat, carved from a single massive tree trunk, which had been brought by lorry from a local museum specially for the festival and had to be lowered by a team of men into the water!) For this part of the programme I drew only abstract patterns on the castle wall as a backdrop for the music.Dima took the projector from the tripod, moving it to focus on the boat at it slowly crossed the lake. As I continued to draw, this movement of the projector set up the most amazing patterns and reflections in the water and on the castle walls but unfortunately I don’t have any photos of this except for this one very dark image that I took with my little camera while I was drawing…On Friday night the band Ethnotrip was playing under the trees at the entrance to the castle. For this performance we moved the Tagtool and projector so that I could draw over the whole of the front of the castle – which was great fun! I made several drawings from this position – so here are some more photos.On Saturday night there wasn’t a performance in front of the castle so instead of moving the projector I spent the whole evening just standing drawing by the lakeside – which gave me time to develop this more detailed image.As the projection distances to both the front and side of the castle were quite long, using the 6000 lumen Acer projector which gave a large and bright image was really great (a big ‘thank you’ to Lunchmeat from Prague!). It also meant that Dima could set up our smaller projector as well as his LED lights inside Suncab’s dome tent so that people could try out the Tagtool mini for themselves. I’ll end this post with one of Christina’s drawings which, together with Dima’s lights, created a nice party atmosphere for the late night revellers…
Last week we were staying in Kozarišče for the Floating Castle Site-specific Festival at Grad Snežnik. We did a lot of Tagtooling of course, but also enjoyed the fellowship of the large number of superb musicians who had travelled from many countries to play at this ethno-festival.
We took lots of photos for the blog and I’ll begin this post with the concert that took place in the coastal town of Koper on Tuesday evening…..The sunset was beautiful when we arrived at the market square for the ‘HISTeRIA etno džem konceRtrat’ concert, which brought together musicians from Slovenia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova and India.Musically, this was a most exciting concert and it was a real joy for me to have this opportunity to draw. It was quite a challenge too, because I hadn’t heard the musicians in rehearsal and had only a vague idea of the length of the programme.The combination of the height of the stage and the angle of the projector beam meant that I had to concentrate most of the white and light toned drawing on the upper part of the drop-down screen in order not to blind the musicians when they were playing – which presented yet another challenge for me!Below – all the musicians onstage to take a bow at the end of the concert. As well as taking these photos, Dima has made a video of part of this concert and when it is uploaded I will put it in another posting.
Part 2 of our trip to Slovenia which will be all about the Floating Castle Festival and photos of our projections at Grad Snežnik.
On Thursday we were at Rohansky Ostrov on the bank of the Vltava where Vložte kočku were giving an open air concert. It was a very good location, with this very big tree making an impressive backdrop to the stage.Dima and Peter spent the afternoon installing and programming the lights…and my Tagtool was set up to project on this large tree to one side of the stage. I took these photos with my new camera, a Lumix GF2, which Dima assured me, ‘will give you much better quality photos and video in low light situations – and also has an ‘Intelligent mode’ button so you won’t need to fiddle about getting the settings right when you are documenting performances.’ Great! I began to draw as soon as it started to get dark and took lots of photos between drawings but I’m sorry to say that the results revealed that as well as using the Intelligent camera mode it is necessary for the photographer to be in intelligent mode as well…..so most of my photos were completely black or out of focus, but here are three that at least give some idea of the setting. I was very disappointed!
Dima set up his camera to video the band but he also took photos and made a video of my Tagtool drawing. As usual, his photos are much better than mine….
This is Dima’s video of my drawing on the tree – of course these images could only be seen clearly by people who were standing in front of me, from other positions they would appear as moving abstract patterns among the leaves.
The Colours of Ostrava Festival is held at Dolní Vítkovice, an old industrial area of coal mines and ironworks which since 2002 has been designated a National Cultural Heritage site. I think that it would be very difficult to find anywhere a more extraordinary and awe-inspiring backdrop for a music festival!With four days of concerts and performances on 15 open-air stages dotted around the site it is no surprise that this festival attracts huge audiences.Above – Vložte kočku on the Radegast Czech Stage. The Tagtool was set up in a corner inside the barrier below the stage, which was a good position for me as there was a huge audience for the concert. I gave my little camera to Theresa who took lots of photos of the musicians and also of my drawings which were projected on the wall of the building adjacent to the stage. Here is a selection.
The photos below show the effect of the colours cast on my drawings by the changing patterns of the spectacular stage lighting. I hadn’t anticipated this unexpected ‘extra’ that completely changed their appearance (and sometimes the lighting even made it difficult for me to see what I was drawing at all!)
I’ll end this post with some of Theresa’s photos of Vložte kočku onstage.In the photos below, behind the musicians Dima’s LED lights are visible too.
The tour ended with two performances in Ostrava, the first at the Czech Music Crossroads event that preceded the Colours of Ostrava Festival and the second at the Festival itself.
The Marley club where the Crossroads event was staged was just the right size for Dima’s new LED stage lighting to have maximum impact (though this can’t be seen in any of the photos that I took with my small camera!) but the club had black walls and a low ceiling – so not so good for Tagtooling.Our ‘on the spot’ solution this problem was to use gaffer tape to fix a white sheet for the projections to the eurotruss lighting rig above the band. This seemed like a good idea and it worked well for the fist few minutes of Vložte kočku’s set but under the heat from the stage lights the tape didn’t hold and first one side of the sheet then the other fell down among the musicians!
This really upset me, as there was an invited audience of journalists, promoters and concert organisers and this was an important gig for the band. But I’m happy to say that the musicians just played on as if nothing had happened and instead I was able to do this drawing on the (dark brown!) ceiling in front of the stage…I thought that despite this shambles with the projections Vložte kočku gave a really great performance, and the organisers must have thought so too, as the band was invited to play on the Radegast Czech Stage at the Colours Festival the following day. I’ll save the photos of this for my next posting…..