Aural Eye is a video-mapping, digital art, and live visuals project. A party is not complete without live visuals and Aural Eye can find a connection between sound and visual in order to create a perfect atmosphere. Surely you were hypnotized by their visuals at events such as Waha Festival, Spotlight Festival with the Holoface, The Mission Dance Weekend, Airfield Festival or, more recently, at Ozora Festival in Hungary where they projected their visuals on the Mirador tower for 4 nights. We talked with them about Waha and Ozora, the VJ life but also about the performance on 20 August at Capitol Cinema / Summer Theatre.
keywords: visuals, mapping, VJ, underground
Home means… being around friends.
In Bucharest, it’s good to… smile.
An essential quality for a person… is to see the best in others.
5 years ago, this day… we were dreaming of doing what we are doing today.
A world without Facebook would be… like in this print which Alina made a while ago.
The perfect vacation… is bare feet.
The biggest invention mankind ever made… is time.
Favourite dessert… is vegan for some, a cigarette for others and for the rest it’s with mustard.
We’re addicted to… electricity.
3 artists that inspire us… Quayola, David Jien, Simon Posford. This was by far the question with the most editing.
Vlad Dumitrescu: Hello! We’re glad to have the chance to talk to you on the feeder insider series. Recently, you were at Ozora Festival where you mapped the Mirador Tower. Was this your first performance at a festival outside Romania? How was the experience?
Aural Eye: We projected Mirador, but we also had the Chill Dome stage on our hands with Sebastian Mullaert, Ethan Riter, Brando Lupi and the Main Stage for Filterheads, Tsubi and Aurafood. We also went to SUN Festival, the child of Ozora and to Exit in Serbia. A part of us have psy-heads roots so all these experiences were like a return to the Mothership, aside from the admiration you have for the organisation of this kind of event because you see things from inside.
VD: Waha Festival was certainly an intriguing experience with a fresh and hippie vibe, something we don’t encounter in Romania that often. How did you feel the vibe this year? With what sensation do you think the public left after the festival?
Aural Eye: For us, Waha is by far the most authentic Romanian musical event of the summer. It’s the kind of place where you cleanse yourself – you get rid of the telephone signal, of the ads, of all the things made just for money. All of these things don’t make any sense in the sunny clearing. Although some of us were present and we supported them from the first edition, it feels like only this year Waha truly earned its name of “land”. It’s a magic land and all its charm comes from the fact that is has a clean foundation. We hope that the people who came felt this and left being closer to some values that in Romania are becoming really rare, we hope that everyone got a part of this unconditional love conglomerate and that they are eager to show that to the people who weren’t there through their actions in the rest of the year. This is a true hippie vibe and it is no coincidence that the association that makes the festival is called “Wave”. We liked it a lot and we hope we can stay in touch and next year we would like to be video coordinators because it is a fertile place in which if you know what seeds to plant there’s every chance they’ll grow in time and really change something in the Romanian society.
VD: Although it started as a solo project, Aural Eye now has 4 people on its team. How did you connect and what are the things that make this story move forward?
Aural Eye: Aural Eye started slowly, five years ago, when, by chance, Alina had to sit in for someone who was in charge of visuals at a party mostly among friends. Today we do this for a living and we are 4 people going on 5 and even more because we are often supported by our friends in our projects and we superthank them for this. Dani, Alina, Razvan, Eranio and Ionut are in the studio on a daily basis, for the first 3 this being their main occupation while the other 2 do other things too. We think that what holds us together is the fact that, even though we’re friends and we have the same tastes more or less, we are different in our backgrounds and our role in the studio. Alina has studied plastic arts from when she was little and she graduated Graphics at UNARTE, Dani is an untamed programmer (visual) who didn’t kill his inner artist and he is responsible for everything concerning 3D and interactivity. Razvan is an ex-copywriter who worked in 6 agencies and he is the strategic mastermind behind the studio, Eranio is an actor and is attending the LSD master now (Light and Sound Design) from UNATC and Ionut is the engineer and without him, we would measure one time and cut 7 when we construct all kinds of installations for which we have to go from digital to real. So we don’t step on each other’s feet, everyone has his role.
At the beginning, it wasn’t very clear who has to do what, but things picked up naturally and now we know when we get a project what we have to do. It’s pretty much like Captain Planet, except for the rings.
VD: KASIM Live is a new and interesting project – the guys from KASIM take care of the music part and you build the light box that surrounds them. How did everything started? What future plans do you have for KASIM live?
Aural Eye: KASIM Live came as a proposal from the musicians. They wanted to do something more appropriate for the year in which their musical concept was born – 2050. We are already experimenting with semi-transparent materials, so for us it was an excelent occasion to put together a toy easy to mount but with maximal effort. You’ll see us this fall in Brașov.
VD: The visuals from the underground parties in Romania are more and more present but also more complex. Why do you think this happens?
Aural Eye: An underground party is cool exactly because it’s a manifestation of an alternative public, it’s a moment that can’t be repeated – musically and visually speaking. Not like an event with corporate sponsors that really aims just to get another brief, the underground is the place where you can truly experiment. We often express ourselves more sincerely at a tiny event, to have more courage ultimately, to not be afraid of clients. From here we have a liberty to experiment and to make more complex visuals. We’re sure that this is true for other people in our domain as well. Having said all that, working with a client helps you develop your strictness which is necessary and it makes you grow.
VD: For a visual to be a success, there has to be a connection with the music so that the effect created to send a positive vibe to the public. How do you see this connection between sound and visual? How do you prepare for this kind of gig?
Aural Eye: First of all, we usually don’t accept gigs from musicians we don’t believe in. It’s obviously important for the music to sound good to you in order to connect it with the visual, but it’s good to be opened and flexible to new things. Very often, it doesn’t matter how prepared or unprepared you are, besides the music’s vibe, the people’s vibration comes in and the deeper evenings you feel this energy that moves your fingers on its own.
These are the most beautiful evenings, but to experiment that, it’s necessary to have some failed ones and some evenings of predictable success. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to prepare and you end up not using much of what you worked on, other times it all goes smooth, just as you planned. It’s just like any other job – with every minute you dedicate to your work, be it in the forest with a camera, at the office in After or Photoshop or contemplative scrolling searching for inspiration, essentially you set up the groundwork for a workflow which becomes very important.
We prepare for gigs in two ways – consciously and nerdy with tasks and timelines and unconsciously, with every gesture through which we work on this invisible structure. That’s what keeps everything standing, the rest are variables.
VD: Between 1 and 4 September, at Brașov, will take place the second edition of Amural, a festival dedicated to video-mapping, illustrations and mural paintings. How did you start this project and what can we expect for the 2016 edition?
Aural Eye: AMURAL is our other child, but it’s not only ours. It’s a festival dedicated to contemporary visual arts, including paintings, photography, digital art, VR stuff, film and animation. We want a lot with this festival – we want an event which should be the opposite of a concert or party with musicians on a stage and people gathered around to listen, we aim to build a rich experience, which should leave you with obsessions and tribulations. We also want to shake Brasov, to do a visual education of the larger public which doesn’t go into galleries or attends festivals, we want to challenge the artists to form and specialize, we want to attack the inherited ugliness. Let’s see what happens.
VD: We talked earlier about the collaboration with KASIM. Do you have in plan collaborations with other artists? What do you look for in an artist when you decide to work with them?
Aural Eye: We had plenty successful collaborations in time. There was the one with Temple Invisbile, one of the coolest Romanian bands. If you don’t know them, search them on Soundcloud and be amazed. The quality of productions is important for every musician and it makes us appreciate it, beyond the style. Nevertheless, beyond the aesthetic appreciation of music, it’s important to be on the same page with the respective artists. With some, we tried, but things just didn’t work out so we let it go and certainly it was for the best. With others, the flow came naturally. Evidently, there are some artists we see as geniuses, which inspire us and if we ever got a chance to work with them, we would go nuts. We don’t want to jinx it, we have a lot of growing to do, but we aim high.
VD: In recent years, the visuals have become more important at the parties and festivals in Romania. Is now a good moment to get into this domain? What advice would you give to someone at the beginning?
Aural Eye: The VJ life is more difficult than one of a DJs, so surely not everyone who starts can remain active. You’re never in the spotlight and, at the beginning, the organizers’ ignorance hits you really hard because they don’t treat you like an artist, of course, there are exceptions, but most of the time if you can have a table to put your things, it’s wonderful. Many times I stayed with the laptop in my arms. Now I think I overcame this phase, I don’t know if the organizers are more educated or we just earned this right. Also, many times, even now, organizers don’t put the name of the VJ on the materials or in the descriptions of the events, even though the VJ often contributes to the atmosphere more than any DJ separately because a video set doesn’t last 2 hours, but 7,8… So, at the beginning, you have to fight for yourself, you have to install your own projectors (how many DJs mount their own gear?)
Most often, this kind of night becomes very tiring if you start by standing on a ladder and we’re talking only about the event itself, nevermind the content part which is, practically, all the work behind what you’re paid to do. Of course, this is the dark side and maybe we wouldn’t have started with it. Besides this, there are these blessed moments when you realize you can send people (in whatever state they’re in) positive messages, that you can send them through subtle pieces of information which can modify and heighten their conscience – at least this is what we want to achieve. Like everyone who works from the heart, you become capable of being yourself a channel, like everyone in the business should be.
If we look beyond the inherent consumerism of every gathering of people, an ideal party is a little ceremony – a place where we become closer to each other, where we dissolve our boundries and we dance, not body on body, but heart along heart. If you can be a co-creator at a soul meeting like this is actually that seed of love that sustains the fruit of our work.
VD: On the 20th of August you will be at Capitol Summer Theatre, alongside #FLUID and you will take care of the visual part of the performance. What can we expect and how do you see the Save or Cancel project to reactive the collective memory through a series of 6 events in front of Capitol Summer Theatre?
Aural Eye: When we have a proposal on our hands that refers to this facade, nevermind the background story, we are thrilled. It’s like being a kid and getting the most beautiful cookie from the jar. And if there’s an honorable cause attached to all of this, it’s like you suddenly become an adult and that cookie is healthy and you are old enough to share it with the others. That’s what happened with Save or Cancel. We really want to hit Save on Capitol and to Bucharest in general. If the city you live in is the extension of your own body, the amputation of the most important historical places is a solution for a spiritually richer life. It’s like cutting your own roots and then wonder why you’re starting to dry up. It’s time we realized that. About the collaboration with #FLUID, we’re happy that we get to work with truly beautiful and courageous people. We can’t wait to see what happens!
VD: București candidează pentru a fi Capitală Europeană a Culturii în 2021. Sunteți familiari cu proiectele și acțiunile din această candidatură? Ce nevoi culturale ați observat de-a lungul activității voastre?
Aural Eye: Aural Eye Visions Studio e stabilit în București. Conceptul candidaturii e “orașul in:vizibil”, cam ce facem și noi prin proiecțiile video – schimbăm percepția, facem lucrurile vizibile. Există cerere și asta aduce o inflație de lucrări mediocre. Avem nevoie de un spirit mai critic, de un pas mai departe.
VD: Bucharest is running for European Capital of Culture in 2021. Are you familiar with the projects and the actions from this campaign? What cultural needs did you observe during your activity?
Aural Eye: Aural Eye Visions Studio is based in Bucharest. The concept of the campaign is “the invisible city” and it’s pretty much what we do with our video projections – we change the perception, we make things visible. There is a strong demand and that leads to an inflation of mediocre work. We need a more critical spirit, a step further.
It was a pleasure!
Words by Vlad Dumitrescu
Photos: VJ VLC, Aural Eye