Dark and Daring saw over 100 people across two nights pack into a cold and (normally) deserted church on Ipswich Docks to witness live VJ sets interspersed with video work, installations and a showreel of submitted audiovisual treats from international artists and students.
On day one the VJ sets were well recieved despite being taken out of the context of having 'live' music or DJs to respond to - maybe this is something that can be included next year, although the sound system will have to be given a lot more thought. Visually the sets looked excellent but the sound sucked. However, with the organisers working with an extremely limited budget and much of the equipment being begged and borrowed - coupled with the fact that the acoustics of empty churches are not generally famous for their bass resonance (Hell will always have a better sound system) - the sound could have been a lot worse.
The video work inbetween the sets helped gel the whole evening together. Included were; my own film DigiDigitDigital getting it's first screening; Steven Ball's Defenestrascope, which in my opinion managed the correlation between sound and image the best of all the films shown on the first night; Malcolm Moseley's Bison, the most organic piece on show, (drawing directly onto film) unfortunately suffered the most from the digital process with the DVD being scratched, (Bison was shown in all it's glory the following night); Simon Wild's beautiful illustrations given a transparent kaleidoscopic treatment set to Paraguayan harp music and Alex Pearl's work made the transition from small screen to large with dramatic, dark and humourous effect. The lollipop sticks deserve Oscars for best performance by confectionary packaging in a film!
Day two saw a showreel that included work from Suffolk College FE Art & Design students alongside Paul Masters, Mark Sargeant, Liam Frankland, Gordon Culshaw and Tom Poultney. However, the highlight of the evening in my opinion came when Mostefprod's W Project was unleashed onto the Ipswich audience. Their menacing ambient electronic/noise soundtrack perfectly matched their brooding neon visual scapes and sucked me in and hypnotised my senses. I'll be looking out for any live VJing they do if they come to the UK.
A resounding success for the arts in Ipswich and congratulations to all involved. Sorry to the guy who turned up in flurescent jacket on his push bike who, cycling past the church at 8.50pm on the last day on his way home from work, found Tim and me packing away the installation monitors with one hardcore audience member left watching the repeating showreel. He exclaimed that he saw the lights in the church and thought the event looked really interesting. Who says you can't entice the British public off the streets to look at art?