Multimedia’s ‘open mic’ nightWritten by Adam Westbrook
With such a plug I just had to go along to see for myself.
And the verdict: while it wasn’t utterly sublime, it was about as far from pretentious crap as you could get, for the most part inspiring, fascinating and at times deeply personal.
Introducing the SlideSlam, to a crowded room at the Host Gallery in London, Jon Levy described it as an “open mic night” for multimedia producers. The idea is anyone can come along and show a piece of work. The rules are it must be multimedia, and it can’t be longer than six minutes.
And that’s a pretty awesome win-win for everyone involved: the photographers and producers get an audience for their work, and potentially valuable feedback; for the audience an inspiring array of different stories and different treatments.
Among the first to be shown were audio slideshows from some of the big names we already know – Panos, VII and of course Magnum in Motion, who’s interesting take on young Iranian Americans was nicely executed. VII’s multimedia mix from the rubble of Haiti shot wide of the mark, drifting into a cliched portrayal of a disaster zone (and you know what Duckrabbit thinks about all that).
Some of the individual submissions were more interesting. Jocelyn Bain-Hogg has spent the last 10 years photographing friends, family and lovers exposing their favourite body parts, nicely put to a Charlotte Gainsborough track. And Stephen McClaren edited his street photography slideshow live at the event, a wonderful observation of Britain during the height of the recession.
The night ended with a sinister film about George W Bush, produced, bizarrely, by his own White House photographer. Can’t imagine Dubyah would be too happy about that.
Here’s the cool thing: Carousel SlideSlam is every month, it’s free and anyone can submit their own work for it to get shown (you don’t actually have to be there either). Personally, I am seriously considering getting something together for next month.
And even if you haven’t made a slideshow, but are fascinated by the potential of this emerging and powerful medium, it’s a great start.
I once heard an artist describe the brain as a cow. To get it to produce milk, he said, it had to be well fed – with a varied diet. That means consuming content as much as creating it. And you can do a lot worse than rock up to the next Carousel SlideSlam in May.
There you go, I managed to get some pretentious crap in there at the end.