Music by VICE

It's Paranoid Erotic Fantasies Vs. a Modular Video Synthesizer

French VJ duo Konpyuta custom-built a modular video synth for their In Aeternam Vale “Feed Me” video.

by DJ Pangburn
Aug 17 2016, 4:55pm

Images courtesy the artists

With its dark, cyberpunk visuals, the video art and VJ duo Konpyuta’s work on electronic artist In Aeternam Vale’s “Feed Me” gives a sense of what a dream collaboration might have been like between David Cronenberg (or Lynch) and the band Suicide. But Konpyuta, who prefer to remain anonymous, have also gone beyond both directors with the very texture of “Feed Me.” To create the video, Konpyuta used a modular synth they built to warp the visuals, which move back and forth between mostly abstract images that look almost 3D-scanned, and then images of a naked man who looks like he is living in a solarized space designed by Man Ray.

“When listening to the song for the first time, we found it very immersive,” Konpyuta tell The Creators Project. “One is immediately immersed in a world where loudness and repetition blur.” After listening to “Feed Me,” they talked to In Aeternam Vale (a.k.a., Laurent Prot), who told them about this state of mind while producing the track. Together they finalized a script.

“We had the idea of one man, facing himself, whose mind is invaded by eroticized advertising images and takes the game of his own desire,” Konpyuta explain. The man, played by Jacques de Candé from the band Infecticide, is seen dancing in front of a room outfitted with several mirrors.

“There is also the promise of pleasures that are actually mirages, where these are distorted images of a fake world,” they add. “We were inspired by the video processor scan studies of Woody Vasulka and Brian O'Reilly.”

To create the visuals, Konpyuta assembled a video synthesizer out of several modules, mostly from LZX Industries. The two looked to the eurorack audio format in developing their modular video synthesizer. “We can create an instrument that meets our imagination,” Konpyuta say. “As in music, the synthesizer either generates its own images and video, or can process images from other analog sources, such as a camera or VCR.”

Konpyuta describe their putting together of a modular video synthesizer as a long quest. They first saw images created by a synthesizer in Chris Marker’s film Sans Soleil, and immediately started looking for one.

“We think it literally took a year just to find it, because we had no idea what a video synthesizer was, and they are pretty rare,” say Konpyuta. “There is only one modular video brand [and] it is based in the US and not distributed in Europe.”

With the modular video synth assembled, Konpyuta shot Jacques and Laurent in a conventional video format. For all other images, the duo plumbed the depths of the internet for samples. The two then edited the footage together before running it through signal processing.

“For us the important thing is that the movement of the subject or the object in the picture comes into symbiosis with the music,” Konpyuta say. “The assembly is envisaged as a way to bring feelings. Then once we were satisfied with our installation, we mainly used a technique that combines the synthesizer and an oscilloscope gives the three-dimensionality to the image.”

Konpyuta’s background as VJs certainly helps in creating this striking symbiosis of visuals and sound. So, that despite being a music video, “Feed Me” has the look and feel of a pure audiovisual project—one with a number mesmerizing qualities that will delight and disturb in equal measure.

“Feed Me” appears on In Aeternam Vale’s new album Pink Flamingos, out now on Dement3dClick here to see more of Konpyuta’s work.

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