Artipoeus interviews American video artist and VJ Aaron Kulik, in Berlin.
One of the things Berlin is best known for is its music scene. You can find every kind of music here, from electronica to ambient to trance to dance to hip hop to pop, grunge, rock, rockabillly, punk, and polka. The other thing it’s know for is it’s clubs, and you can find every kind of those here too, from sex clubs to chess clubs, rollerderby to raves. And polka.
I’ve been in Berlin for a little over a year now, and I have yet to set foot in a single club. But we all know I don’t play chess, so…
Back in the 1980s, when New York City’s night clubs were the bar nightclubs were measured by, even the coolest clubs, like my favorites Area, Save the Robots, and even later, The Limelight, mixed art and music and club culture in a pretty straightforward way. The DJs just played vinyl but weren’t scratching it up yet, art installations were about as edgy as a Jeff Koons Balloon Dog (although, at the time, that was pretty edgy), and if there was video, it was most often things like Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, cult classic Faces of Death, or anything from Nick Zedd, John Waters and Ed Wood.
And then came… scratching, sampling, hip hop, rap, house, techno, electronica and ambient. The DJs evolved into magicians, able to bring an entire dance floor up or down, sway them left or right by morphing lyrics and beats and tracks into sound sculptures that can rule a room. And behind them, the videos started to do the same, and a new genre of art was born: the VJ.
Mixing film, video, CGI, special effects and organic elements, VJs are the bridge between the music, the DJ and the dance floor crowd, manipulating video along with the DJ’s beats, adding an extra dimension for the crowd, and added inspiration for the DJ.
Aaron Kulik is a Berlin-based video artist, working as a VJ supporting Michigan born, DJ Seth Troxler. The two are a natural fit: Seth’s work is based in techno and house, with a good dose of sounds from the African and Latino diaspora. Even when they.re dark, his tracks are bright, in high relief and a little surreal, sort of the way every day objects look in a solar eclipse.
Aaron is trained as a filmmaker, his work influenced by the giants of classical art evolution — Caravaggio and Dali, navigating between two richly colored stars as he charts new visuals that exist somewhere between the realm of painting and sci fi.
Aaron’s work can be seen this month exclusively at online magazine WITNESS-THIS. And look for him on tour with DJ Seth Troxler, or follow Aaron on Facebook at KoolikVisuals, that’s K oo l i k visuals, and check out his website at KoolikVisuals.com. Special thanks to our partner for this episode, Philipp Voigt and Witness This in Berlin and Los Angeles. www.witness-this.com.
Check out the current reel of KOOLIK VISUALS:
Artipoeus welcomes our new collaborator, gallery A Plus in Berlin. A Plus is an independent exhibition space for contemporary art, providing emerging artists a concentrated platform for presentation and discussion for a divergent art audience. Learn more at www.aplus.de.
Say hello to our newest media partner fontaine b., dealers in (trans)avant-garde editions and rare artworks for curation, exhibition and private collections, specializing in arte povera, dada, fluxus, gutai group and viennese actionism. Visit www.fontaineb.com.
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Artipoeus is a proud supporter of Prana — the platform for the homeless. Prana is a digital platform bridging the information gap between volunteers, organizations and the homeless, providing direct connections to real time information about food, shelter, clothing, medical help and more. Help the homeless by helping Prana grow. Visit Prana at www.prana-deutschland.de
Artipoeus is written and produced by Susie Kahlich for Singe in Berlin. Artipoeus is broadcast on WRP in France, and IndieRepublik in Germany. Not in Europe? You can stream us on Soundcloud or download us on iTunes. Just search for Artipoeus – ar ti po eus. And you can see photos and read transcripts of this episode and more at artipoeus.com.
I’m Susie Kahlich, and you’ve been listening to Artipoeus : art you can hear!