Interview: Gavin Morris


Gavin Morris


Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Gavin. I make stuff using computers for people to play with. I run a sideshow called the Digital Funfair which is an evolving collection of interactive pieces I’ve made over the past few years,house in a big marquee. I take it to a variety of events in Britain and Europe.

 

I was really into computers and video games in the eighties but at some point realized that I was in danger of turning yellow and having no friends. So I went out in to the world and did a lot of quite stupid dancing. This has probably informed my work since I got sucked back into computers again in the late nineties – I haven’t looked back.

Would you class yourself as a performer, technician, director or other?

Well I put “Interactive Inventor” on my business card cos it seemed to sum it up at the time. Running the Digital Funfair involves a lot of being a technician though – taming naughty computers and programming – also quite a lot of driving, some admin and a lot of sitting around on sofas. Development time in the winter – making new pieces, working on ideas and fixing/refining old stuff. That’s kind of the bit I love really.

I’ll call myself an artist if there’s money in it or if I’m talking to someone I think will be impressed! Sometimes I think I’d like to be more of a performer.

What projects have you been working on lately?

I’ve been working on a webcam scratch mixer called Scratch Yourself Stupid – it’s like a homebrew Kaoss Pad (I think anyway – I’ve never actually had a go on one) which uses a DJ Hero turntable as a scratch controller and has a video element too. I’ve been working around it for a couple of years – I initially made it with vinyl but realized I couldn’t work with stylii in the interactive environment. It would involve a lot of cost or a lot of labour costs.

 

I’ve been playing with the Kinect as well – been playing about making an av looper using the depth information from that – its amazing technology that I could never have afforded a few years ago when I first discovered motion tracking.

What has been the highlight of career?

For me its all about the moment when people suss out what’s going on with a piece and really love it. It happens a lot in the Digital Funfair and if I’m not too grumpy it really moves me. Some of the first nights when it kicked off were amazing. I felt like I was a part of something collaborative and felt incredibly fortunate that people liked what I’d made. For me I make interactive work for the end user and their experience is what its all about – anyone who disagrees with this is up there own arse doing something different.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Heath Robinson vs Daft Punk

What technology do you use most often?

The Internet – I use it and abuse it but its pretty much a constant in my life. An amazing tool and a total distraction.

In terms of software I use Isadora, MaxforLive, Max, Ableton, Resolume and getting into OpenFrameworks. Hardware wise its Maschine at the moment – but usually computers + arduino + sensors, mame encoders, cameras etc.

How has the Troika Tronix Isadora software helped you with your work?

I came to Isadora from Eyesweb, which if you’ve never heard of it is a free windows only graphical user environment for motion tracking. It made OpenCV stuff accessible to me at the time and at the time was amazingly powerful – I was always trying to get it to do things it wasn’t suited too namely playing video and audio. Isadora could actually play a video file without totally draining CPU cycles and whilst its tracking features were primitive compared to Eyesweb it had a lot of strengths. It was great for prototyping ideas and really good fun. I put together an AV set synced to Ableton Live using a custom patch and loved it. I converted my Virtual Coconut Shy to run on it (from Flash) and so far have used it for two other pieces – Peep Show and SmackBottoms. It’s turned out to be a kind of Director substitute.

 

I find the workflow of Isadora really good fun, especially in the early stages of a patch/project and it really helps me to get ideas together quickly without losing momentum. I really don’t know how Mark Coniglio the creator can pull it off on his own, particularly with people like me hassling him for obscure features and performance improvements the whole time!

 

 

Describe your work/style in three words:

Jolly Good Show.

Feel free to add any extra comments here:

I couldn’t really do the 3 words thing justice.

Also please buy my ipad app imixitup

Do you have a website: http://www.digitalfunfair.co.uk

Do you have any links to YouTube/Vimeo or a blog, if so you can put them here: http://vimeo.com/user423859/videos

http://www.youtube.com/user/gavspav

 

If you want people to contact you you can also provide an email address here:

Info at digitalfunfair dot co dot uk

 

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