Artist profile: amoeba

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Doesn't Know Jack about VJ'ing or Software Development and Mostly Just Gets Coffee for Everyone
Posts: 5185
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 11:38

Artist profile: amoeba

Post by Joris »

If you've been keeping up on the AV scene for the past few years, you must have heard about him, and if you ever met amoeba aka haggard celine aka a.av aka acab23 in person, you know he's always good for a funny tale or two. So it's high time we introduced you to the man, the myth, the legend...
amoebaav-resistance.jpg (263.9 KiB) Viewed 9222 times
What's your background?

When acid house + techno kicked off in the Uk around late 80's early 90's I was finishing graphic design college in Glasgow, and was ideally placed to incorporate and embrace the new emerging design, creative typography, computer, vj and electronic music scenes with a gonzo influenced approach and a creative design based background.

In my graphics I was already influenced by the designers republic, japanese typography, constructivism, sigil magic, psychicTV, video art/visual music and the emerging techno shamanic dance cultures and tribal lo-fi collectives of creatives, and the significances of these new connected cultures as it spread worldwide were something I wanted to be part of, and contribute what I could to it.

Originaly i provided direction and creative content as part of the scottish video arts collective A.'.A.'.A, then i moved on to mixing my content the way i wanted it to be seen. In the beginning when projectors cost more than the club we were using 23 TV's as screens [6 cars to get to a gig back then ; ) ] We performed and mixed at clubs or with artists throughout the 90's for labels, artists and clubs like Rub a dub, the arches, slam, jeff mills, alabama 3, and Soma records.

I set up [] in 1993, as a creative,thinking, studio.
To use my design and video skills for fun and profit, for forward thinking traditional design and media clients, in order to finance and give me the freedom to produce my own creative audio visual work that I was developing, and that, as we know takes time and freedom to create. Money provides this. Originally based in Glasgow, then london, now based in Brighton, and working for clients in the UK, USA, Europe and Russia.

amoeba has launch styled magazines, re-branded TV channels, banks, labels, clothes lines, art directed tv and press campaigns, directed and produced music videos, and various music and tv, print and cinema campaigns for album/cd/web launches. We also produce a lot of broadcast, title, promo and E.P.K's for MTV, channel4 and ITV. More recently have found myself working for Films, and creating and directing viral and digital campaigns.

In 1997 I stopped vj'ng and concentrated on producing audio-visual content for my own creative projects, and to set up my own AV label and act,
A.AV [amoeba.av]

I now perform as A.AV at media events, festivals etc. with a full bespoke AV show. I have always specialised in utilising the audio from within the animations and synched motion graphic sequences, creating unique live audiovisual reactive environments from various styles of audio synched creative typographical animations, shot film and AV experimental work.

I have refined the A.AV sound and look over the years with performances at media events, festivals, digital showcases etc, and visualmusic DVD releases on

You're quite a prolific fellow, working for film, tv and other corporate clients as well as doing more artistic projects. How do you balance it all? Do all these different jobs require a very different approach as well?

I set up amoeba and my website with deliberate emphasis on thee state ov creation, as that was the brain and psychological state that I was most comfortable with and would be the continual thread that runs through my corporate and creative work since 93. Amoeba was so i can split and divide re-creating different styles and creative techniques and that suits me fine as i never wanted to specialise in one aspect of anything.

Poverty is the mother of all invention, so growing up in business the 90's in the UK, I learned like most of us, to do miracles with nothing, I do almost everything myself, from pitching for the job, meeting the client, doing the visual, creating and designing the content, handling the account and invoicing, so im very very hands on. This helps in business and also with the creative more "artistic" works as I see these new artistic jobs as a treat for me to be enjoyed as the corporate work has paid for my time off in developing new ideas, style and experiments that i can use in these artistic jobs which are then a showcase for my AV work that get clients interested.

Ultimately the end results are I get to play with some great new technologies and styles and unseen techniques and these get to filter into the mainstream culture for my design/tv clients, for example the midi based AV glitch typography i was doing live in 2001-2005 has now found it's way happily into my TV title design, and Promo packages for the likes of muse, the foo fighters and spongebob squarepants, as the clients all saw the more extreme work and asked for a more diluted version for their campaign, which I have no problem doing, as Im a commercial artist who has got to pay the bills, and I see my animations and work as my pick pocketing little children [ charles dickens fagin springs to mind, the street urchins ] and they gotta go and get daddy some money ;)

All jobs are almost generally the same, once you break them down into quantifiable pieces, they just require time, concentration and effort. My approach is usually the same figure out how little work I can do for maximum creative impact, and then timeline the job and head straight for the digital trenches, screaming and punching, only looking up to see if theres a progress meeting or a change in the brief and that working practise relates to print design, viral making, motion graphics or audiovisual reactive environments.

You release work on LightRhythmVisuals. Can you talk a bit about that label?

LRV is fantastic creative AV label, I've full support for ben sheppee, he has kept the quality control over the content tight and groundbreaking. Every release from the first to the last has been special, and his effort and time spent on these projects has helped lift the AV scene to levels of acceptance within the corporate and creative industries. He has been one of the scenes founders and has supported and promoted mine and other artists work from the beginning, that has to be admired and respected. He put out my last project the A.P.L.E DVD thee_microglitchmachinefunk AV.EP
A.P.L.E [arrange.process.loop.edit] a DVD/AV.EP with free bonus HD Loops and remixes form other creative AV artists, available here
[ ... oeba-aple/]

More examples of A.AV// LRV work can be found here [ ... music.html ]

Can you describe your work process?

hmmm…..far too varied to do that, from a-z and back again on repeat ; ) interspaced with extreme bouts of lethargy followed by a manic creative flourish and moments of lucid clarity as you realise you just understood and solved a new problem. I use all software that gets the job done, still do vectors in freehand x, layer up everything in photoshop, animate everything i can in after effects, edit and cut in FCP, model in c4d, and use every other graphic/creative code environment that is necessary to the job in hand. If I cant do something then I either learn or hire in creatives who can do it to the standard I need.

How does Resolume fit into all that?

For my live Audio-Visual performances and media events and clubs it's my performance software of choice. My live a.av performances are typographical based, dub infused environments, built on delay, hiss and reverb, live cinema elements of motion graphics, av tracks and av tools being mixed in and sequenced via midi or o/c. I heavily utilise the audio from lots of pre-rendered edits/loops/tools and sequences. I like to glitch and effect the audio via osc, plugins, effects and the playhead. I incorporate these live elements over midi synched sequences with 95% of the audio of the performance coming from what you see on the screen. With the added vst plugin support it provided the best platform for my audio-visual performances.

For live cinema or short film festivals it's perfect for creative audio and video mixing from the one laptop with great results, and its a reliable tool live.

I also utilise resolume for creative AV sequence creation, tweaking parameters and effects, setting up palettes of presets and batch rendering av loops glitching type and fragmented motion graphics, screen capturing the results at pro res 4:4:2 I find it very useful for creating new effects for typography and transitions.

I use other software for other live and video purposes but find for AV performance with audio control, resolume is the one. With the new added features in R4 the output mapping, effects etc it can only help improve the quality of AV performance work and the creative scene.
moscow_may-15.jpg (66.4 KiB) Viewed 9222 times
Do you use Resolume for your corporate/non-VJ work as well?

As i said i use it as a motion studio tool as well, it serves me many purposes, I've used it to create quick adjustable opening credits and end credits for TV shows, i used it in many MTV stings and promos for effects and mixing, Ive used it for live branding campaigns with reactive logos etc., and I made a protest DVD for the band Politeca [] with 10 music videos that heavily used resolume to comp/mix and create sequences for the final music videos.

How do you perform live? Any particularly juicy bits of gear you bring with?

these days for solo "turn up and play at a music festival or club" av performances i'm minimal only about 5-6 a year mostly in the uk, europe, and russia.
I mostly do funded installations, organised media and digital events now with short bespoke av performances/talks and workshops.

However saying that I'm just back from a moscow techno session where i was playing with my old scottish mate edit-select and my set up for that av gig was a laptop/ipad/thats all i need for clubs.
For my club music based av stuff, im not usually the headliner so I don't need a mediserver or 4v or 4 laptops and 2 mixers and a mind controlled midi footpedal board, all i need is my laptop touch osc and resolume.
I usually have a creative opening set to perform that i've spent years planing and i don't need many effects or crazy screen splitting or other technology etc. my av performance is specific, direct and pre-planned with happy accidents helping things along the way.

For other events, performances and installations its a different matter and always event specific, and within whatever budget I'm allocated.

You organized a remix competition a while back, offering your loops up for free and inviting people to remix your work. What was the idea behind that, and how were the reactions?

Reaction was great with 70 subscribers and 4 final mixes. It was an experiment in unselfishing myself from my work, to give something back and hopefully encourage creativity. When ever I do workshops or talks etc. people always ask about my content, it's where i send people to grab loops to experiment with, and as they are very cool hd av loops they can't really complain ; ) on my DVD on lightrhythm the aple.EP theres 23 free HD loops on this for people to mash up.

What are some of the more memorable projects you've done over the years?

Broadcast work i'd say my MTV work especially the promo work for bands. Advertising I'd say the Playstation TV advert that i directed and produced, design and music video wise id say campaigns for product.01 and the elektrons. AV performance VJ and Video related here's a wee list of things im happy about…getting creative and experimental av work accepted and on to terrestrial TV has been one of my main achievements ; ) with one of my animations being shown at 8pm on ITV

Setting up an occulture 8hr 4 screen audiovisual hypnogogic ritual performance with theta waves generators inside a blackout space, directing and producing a soft porn chillout dvd made in ibiza over 3 months in a studio under a swimming pool in a porn millionaires mansion that went all apocalypse now ending up with a truck in a swimming pool, illegally throwing up guerilla typographical terrorist projections over and in london during the reclaim the streets events 96-97, and performing at many criminal justice bill events 1995-2008, AV-IT UK 2000 where I showcased my live AV performance and met jilt van moorst and his av software flowmotion, being initiated orthogonally into the russian VJ scene by vj.eps and subsequently performing and surviving the Kazantip Festivals in the Ukraine from 2007 till now and now performing and doing workshops with creative people in Russia, puking on a policeman from the vj booth in brighton, leaving all the gear in the carpark and driving home, dragging a promoter out of the after party by the neck and frog marching him to the cash machine, getting bunged an extra £200 from Andy Wetherall after 12 hours of machinefunk when he blew the yardi gangster sound system at the club and bolted with the words…you aint seen me right!…i could go on ….

And what can we expect from you in the future?

More of the same as before but more so.

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Wants to marry Resolume, and Resolume said "yes!"
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 21:23
Location: Kent - UK

Re: Artist profile: amoeba

Post by VJair »

wicked 8-)

ive been a follower of amoebas work for a few years - realy love the mograph stylings and typograhy uses, such a strong visual style.

love it.

Wants to marry Resolume, and Resolume said "yes!"
Posts: 707
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 09:39
Location: UK

Re: Artist profile: amoeba

Post by Basic »

Agreed! always been a fan! good work :)

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