interview Hans Beekmans

Hans Beekmans’ specialisation is live cinema. During the short period of its existence, live cinema produced legendary performances. Plazaplus invited him to give a lecture and make a screening-programme. Become one of the initiated in the already abundant and very impressive history of a young and contemporary art form: live cinema. In this lecture & screening Hans Beekmans shows the diversity of live cinema, representing works of videoartists Bas van Koolwijk, Martijn van Boven en muzikant Debashis Sinha.

Can you shortly introduce yourself?

succer for the new from a historical perspective

What is the most important thing you try to teach your students at Willem de Koning?

curiousity and awerness

How did you get involved with live cinema?

I started working at V2 as the manager of the shop and they asked me to do also related events. So I started dot.nu A series of programs around electronic culture. Some of the people I knew and worked at or visited the shop we’re pioneers in the field of audio-visual performances (Martijn van Boven, Lucas van der Velden, Boris Debackere) They also studied at Art & Sience in The Hague. I noticed a lot more people were involved in this kinda performances and started contacting them and showing this at my series. After so we made also a workshop out of it. This was together with Jan Hiddink at Paradiso. We invited people who we knew that would be interested in these kind of collabs so we picked a image maker and a sound maker and put them together in V2 to work along for a week. Most of the time the already worked out some ideas through the mail so they could start immediately. Some of the collabs lasted for a long time after the show. I continued this set up at the Live cinema workshop later at WORM.

What is live cinema? What is it certainly not?

Live Cinema is the interaction between sound and image in a live setting. In the ideal situation sound and image are created as a reaction to each other (by the artists or by software or both). Live Cinema is now a vj reacting on a dj. It can be when the work frequently closely together. LC is not a video played at a music performance (or visa versa).

Explorations in the 19th century already expressed a  concern with similar issues  LC artist deal with nowadays. For example the color organ. What  makes Live Cinema differ from the old (analog) days?

That there are no limitations except the boundaries artists set them selves. In the past people had to deal with more technical limitations. Which made it all more complex to work along with. Saying that it worked most of the time perfect within those limitations.

Do you think live cinema is the grown up version of what used to be vj-culture a decade ago?

Its one of side effects. It has in the time-line a certain connection and you see some people moving from the vj scene towards a more live cinema performance but within the field of LC you see mainly people coming from audio video background as performing artists or video-, computer- or filmartists

In your blog you refer to a lack of development in Live Cinema.  A way to bypass this, could be placing the term in a broader context. Do you agree and why not?;-)

I see the limitations of LC within its theoretical discourse and within it’s language. abstraction within the arts is complex and using language as complex as most of the artist do makes it marginal. An that’s why it is difficult to find an audience outside the (media)art festivals.

What is the best performance you have ever seen? Why was it good?

TelcoSystems at ClubTransmediale years ago because it was a perfect show that rocked. Everything seemed to work within a live setting with a public that was sucked into it.

What’s the future of live cinema?

I hope that it will develop and new people will create new insights.

As a film-programmer and founder of Worm, can you please recommend a must-see film and – book to read?

Gene Youngblood’s Expanded Cinema book is a classic. You can find a free download online.
To get an idea of the possibilities of live cinema check the WORM Live Cinema DVD and the Sonic Acts The Anthology of Computer Art DVD. Go to the Sonic Acts festival in February in Amsterdam.

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interview by Olga Mink for Plazaplus 2010

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