The art of multimedia visuals transcends the screen. VJ Tingerine Liu proves that. The Chinese-Singaporean filmmaker sets aside the isolated world of writing and screenwriting, by VJing for live musical performances. Meticulously collecting media artifacts, she loves discovering and amassing video content from the internet and creating collages. She samples and remixes existing footage into a mind-tripping montage that collides and colludes with the music, creating a symbiotic balance of audio-visual interaction. Her current work explores how re-purposed video footage can interact with the music – colliding and shaping the musical landscape.
She is part of Tangerine Forest Fire, a live performance art installation that showcases collaborative artists interpreting original experimental art together through dance, visuals and music. Aside of Tingerine, the group consists of contemporary freestyle dance artist Kareem Woods (Forest) and experimental electronic and vocal compositions by PYRON (Fire). Each showcase is a unique story-telling experience that captivates the eyes, ears and minds of the audience. The focus of this performance group is to immerse the audience in the raw emotions portrayed through sound, dance and visuals/film. The video projection functions as an additional instrument in the band, expanding and enriching the audience’s experience of the music while the music frees the visuals from their original contexts and imbues them with new and surprising flavors. This project is relevant to the new Triskelion Arts’ Experimental Works Program because it is an innovative, cross-disciplinary live performance collaboration of local artists.
Tingerine speaks to Enclave Magazine about multi-media and live performance.
Marlena Fitzpatrick: Tangerine Forest Fire is your music/ dance/ video experimental trio. What the most difficult part in the process of unifying multi-media with live performance?
Tingerine Liu: Finding the right venue, or adapting to the venue we are given, is always the most challenging. Our performance is not confined to a stage. I always joke that our shows are very bombastic, we overload the audience with visual and auditory information. And for that to happen, the dancer needs a floor, the projection needs a wall, and the musician needs a good sound setup. Sometimes I feel like a diva making insane demands to the venue managers. We have performed in a lot of different spaces, and each one is different because we have to reconfigure and morph with the confines of our environment. As we grow as a group, I would like to find ways to be more interactive and immersive, and less “performative,” so that the audience is not confined to one spot. That might mean finding larger venues, having multiple screens of projection, and a powerful surround sound system.
Marlena Fitzpatrick: As a VJ, what’s more important, the music or the visuals?
Tingerine Liu: It really depends on the kind of collaboration. If the musician and VJ are both improvising live, they can respond to each other and create a performance that is different every time. In that case, one cannot fully exist without the other. There are very few performances that marry live music with live visuals to perfection, one of them is the collaboration between electronic musician Morton Subotnick and Video artist Lillevan. I saw them perform in 2017 at Lincoln Center. It was like nothing I have seen before. A total mind trip. Very inspiring. However, in my VJ work currently, I see myself as an accompaniment to the music. I am like the pianist in a big band: I make the music fuller, and I can shape or intensify the audience’s emotional response to the music with my images. But ultimately, I service the music. And I am happy to do that, at least for now.
Marlena Fitzpatrick: Who composes the music for the trio?
Tingerine Liu: Jennifer Pyron composes all of the music on her Korgms2000 Synthesizer. She used to be an opera singer and she uses recordings of her voice and found sounds to composes these haunting, ethereal songs. She also makes sick beats for dancing. Kareem our dancer is always drenched after every show.
Tingerine Liu recently performed with Chinese American composer, sound designer and experimental rap producer Ohyung