Remember when VJs were a thing? Flicking through old flyers for iconic dance events from the 1990s – like the early days of Big Day Out’s Boiler Room or Earthcore – the VJ, or ‘Video Jockey’ often held pride of place beneath headline DJs. The beat of progress waits for no raver, however. As all who danced at the foot of Daft Punk’s pyramid during their 2010 Alive tour or have ever attended a Kraftwerk gig can attest, projecting a playlist of impalpably connected YouTube clips onto a screen just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Then there’s Kit Webster, the unassuming Melbourne-raised digital artist doing big things with live visuals. His practice is dubbed ‘projection mapping’ and is the art of finely tuning a dynamic, projected image onto a stationary object, sculpture or structure. We’re talking five-storey buildings.
“Out of school, I started playing around with computers and electronic music and began to build a bit of a portfolio,” says Webster. “I applied for a university course at RMIT [in Melbourne] called Sound Art Studies…it was more of a controlled psychedelic experience where the teachers are like those old trippers you meet at bush parties that look like Gandalf… They [really] try and get you to think outside the square.”
Always blurring the distinction between the physical and digital mode, Webster’s perception-rattling works range from small gallery installations to immersive festival stages and the cooption of building facades.
This weekend, Webster’s complex, geometric creations will accompany a raft of international DJs at Vivid Live. It’s all part of The Terminal Projekt, a series of daytime dance parties in the cavernous belly of Circular Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.
“Historically, VJing has been all about the music… But it’s slowly changing as promoters start to realise that to create a cutting-edge experience you need to cater for the eyes as well as the ears,” says Webster.
“It’s a huge geometric, astrophysical sculpture that wraps around the DJ,” hints Webster of his latest work. “On top of that, I am mixing…custom 2D, 3D and audio reactive, generative animations that have been created especially for the sculpture.”
Watch Webster manning his unique, live setup alongside heavyweight musical talents such as Tensnake and Jimmy Edgar this weekend at one of Sydney’s most criminally underutilised spaces.
The Terminal Projekt
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay
June 8: dOP (Live), Jimmy Edgar, Sepalcure (Live), Simon Caldwell
Tickets here: $65 plus BF
June 9: Tensnake, HNQO, The Revenge, COOP
Tickets here: $65 plus BF //