Cute piece of animation from the 1970’s, by Sally Cruikshank, with music by Robt. Armstrong and Allan Dodge.
The Future of Psychedelic Video Art // DPV First Anniversary Special – An Interview with Martin Stebbing29 Apr
Martin Stebbing is a pioneer of a new form of psychedelic art. I first met Stebbing last September. After writing Stebbing to let him know about that we posted one of his videos on the DPV, I was amazed to find out that the artist’s new offices reside just a few minutes walk from my apartment in the Freidrichshain quarter in Berlin.
Visiting Stebbing in his studio, I could see where some of the inspiration for his stuff was coming from. The place was like the ultimate psychedelic experience candy store. It had a digitally controlled lighting system which was constantly streaming colorful rays of light across the room, and was full of curious artifacts like evasive holograms which were crawling across the walls, prancing robots and isochronic equipment. The most imposing piece of equipment, though, was a 65 inch Panasonic 3D HD TV, which Stebbing uses (besides 3D video games) to showcase his latest works of art, visually stunning high definition psychedelic 3D films.
If you thought Avatar was psychedelic, you will be in for some wild ride when you encounter some of Stebbing’s mind bending stereoscopic 3D works. Watching these videos in 3D one is struck by a feeling of witnessing a major leap in the history of psychedelic visuals, the dawn of a new art form: the 3D stereoscopic film. My own reaction to these films was that of total amazement, laughing, breathing hard and even crying from joy, almost like during a real psychedelic trip. Surprisingly, the viewing experience of 3D films on the giant 3D HD TV is even more than watching 3D in the Cinema. After watching this stuff for 20 minutes, I noticed that I feel lightness, a high state of awareness, a sort of relaxation and am generally in a great mood. Could this be the effect of the lights coming off the screen? Is this some kind of 3D therapy?
The real boon, though, comes surprisingly enough after distancing oneself from the screen. Moving to the balcony which overlooks an imposing panorama of the Warschauer Str. train station and the Fridrichshain quarter, one is suddenly confronted with a renewed sense of appreciation for the multi-dimensionality of visual space. Indeed, it seems that in a similar way to the psychedelic experience, 3D psychedelic videos are capable of enhancing our perception of space and enable us see the world in a fresh way.
The goal of this kind of work, says Stebbing, is to change the fact that currently 3D can only be experienced if you watch the latest Hollywood movies. “By bringing abstract art and visuals out in stereo, there will be an alternative that many will appreciate.” According to Stebbing the current rise of 3D film is no historical glitch “It’s certain that stereo 3D is here to stay this time. It has had a few periods of fame in the past (60’s monster movies for instance) – but only now is the technology ripe enough for it to take off for real. It won’t be long before we can put the glasses away, and experience the glory of auto-sterescopic content.”
Is this where computer animated psychedelic film is heading to?
“I’m convinced it is going 3D. The added depth just makes a lot of sense when attempting to visualize something that by nature is multi-dimensional. Soon we will have access to new technology that can display holographic images in actual physical space. Being able to deliver psychedelic artwork in this fashion will open up to a completely new experience, where the viewers are actually ‘in there’ instead of watching flat images on a screen. Being able to experience abstract visuals in 3D space will allow a totally new level of immersion – especially when the visual output is synced to surround sound audio. I’m in the process of developing a new platform for delivering visual content in real-time. This will eventually be hooked up to a 360 degree dome screen to deliver some never before seen eye-candy.”
A 3D Spirit Molecule
Stebbing has been on a life long journey of trying to communicate the psychedelic experience through visual art. “The universe wants to observe itself, and artists, expressing their psychedelic artwork is a wonderful way of accomplishing this. I believe that psychedelics allow some users to connect more easily to the creative source of the universe.”
Interestingly enough, Stebbing turned his attention to 3D visuals after watching Avatar, the 3D blockbuster from 2009 which became the highest grossing films of all times. “It just makes a lot of sense to create my work in stereo [i.e. 3D films-I.H.], since we are spending most of our time in 3D space anyway” Says Stebbing. “Being able to deliver that feeling of depth and spaciousness to the viewer is a great way to make the experience even more immersive than it would be in 2D.”
“After moving toBerlinand creating my first visuals for Der Dritte Raum, I realized that my 3D skills could be used for more than producing architectural visualizations. The interest to express abstract graphics is simply a desire to share what is going on in my brain with other people. Creating cool visuals is a great way to get the message across to a larger audience.”
Did anyone in particular influence your work?
“I have always been a big fan of Giger, but also artists such as Luke Brown, (whom I’m currently working with on the Spirit Molecule project), has been a great inspiration. I have of course also been inspired by the psychedelic experience itself. Trying to capture and visualize something that is so fleeting is quite a challenge though, but 6 years at the screen has provided me with the toolset that I require to do so.”
Can you tell us more about your involvement in the “Spirit Molecule” project?
I contacted Mitch Schulz back in October 2010 and showed him a few sample animations created with the custom developed software, Superflow. He liked it and asked if I would be interested in creating something for the special edition of the movie [which is based on the famous Rick Strasmann book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” – I.H.]. The project is currently nearing completion, and will bring some incredible, audio-synced psychedelic visuals to screens around the world. Stay Tuned!”
Some videos by Stebbing:
Regrettably, it is impossible to show Stebbing’s stereoscopic 3D material on this website, with the current technological limitations. Here is a selection of some of his amazing 2D material. More of his videos are available on Stebbing’s Vimeo channel.
Data is Nature
Konkylie Mind I
Xeno Frost I
 The term “Stereoscopic 3D” animation is used here since digital animation software handles a 3D space. In order to avoid confusion between 3D animations and 3D films such as avatar, the term “Stereoscopic 3D films” is used denote 3D animations watched with 3D dimensional (Stereoscopic) technology.
I remember when the Beastie Boys used to be one of the most interesting bands around. Now after quite some time they are back to show that they still rock. To do that they got a huge group of known actors, a bottle of LSD and created this short film.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It made me look up my old B-Boys CDs
Mathieu Devavry lives in my city : Lyon,France. I first met this unique dancer, painter, scriptwriter and movie director in the street. Later on, we met several more times randomly in my quarter. The connection was obvious, exciting and really cool.
Not so long after, he asked me if I would like to work with him on his dance/theatre and video project, a huge show mixing different people and media, I accepted this exciting opportunity immediately.
When I had to pick an artist to interview for the first DPV anniversary, Mathieu was the first to come to mind. We corresponded (in French, this piece was later translated to English) regarding the story of his artistic activities from 2003 to 2011.
Mathieu tells about the last years:
During the summer 2003, after I’ve met three artists and a producer, we started to write a scenario but never put it in images.
Then, in 2005, with the collective “Chouech”, we got back to the project, giving it a name – “Sous Cid Toi” – which, as its name in French points, is a suicidal project based on The Dance of the Painter, but it was a failure… Our copyrights were stolen by the fake producer…and we forbid the use of our images.
In 2007, after I settled in Lyon, I met Jean Baptiste Lepreux and Jeanne Morel and decided to write the scenario again. The first images revealed themselves, the framework was born, and the introduction in “stop-motion’ was realized: “the suicide in the bathtub”. We were setting up the cube, the main point of the story, but then a drama occurred. The project was put on hold after one of the film makers died…
Three years passed, and here we are in the summer 2010, after some discussion, meetings, and making contacts with the video team, the light team, the music team, the photo team and the writers, it became a 18 persons engaged in this project called “Indicium”. It was a fantastic experience!
« INDICIUM »
Babasama: Let’s talk about the story of the central character in this
Devavry: The first idea was to tell the story of a girl in trouble who is between life and death, or more exactly, in a slice of life, in a tunnel, before the light at it’s end, between the little death, a coitus, a Sleep apnea…This moment is transcribed with different medias, it represents her mental imprisonment, materialized by a white cube (a square, an episode…). She appears in a fetal position, between reincarnation, rebirth and shamanic vision. A naked body in the middle of this cube, between disappearance/appearance/dream/reality, it takes life, takes consciousness of his limbs.
She glides into this restricted frame, always in interaction with various evolutions: birth, awakening, body consciousness, observation, retrospection, seeking for freedom, mental imprisonment, observation, aloneness, irritation, anxiety, crisis, escape, destruction of the cube with strips of her life, tearing down pieces of journal paper from the wall of the cube…
Flooded in the journal paper, she get lost inside it, then comes out again cleared, dressed with her souvenirs, she realizes that she can’t get out of being alone, this psychedelic craziness, between a bad-trip, dream, reality, consciousness. It’s an open window between ambiguity of the suicide and a psychedelic orgasm.
Babasamas: What are your artistic references in this story?
Devavry: For the first part (2003-2010), concerning the video part, Yves Klein is THE reference!
His live performances are situated between a plastic showpiece and a scenic piece. For the second part, the one we’re working on at the moment (2011), Josef Nadj was an important artist in my aesthetic construction. He helped me, he was a bridge. For me, he is the link between the canvas and the stage. He found the process that reveals for me the astral travel (how the lifeless doll on a painting in an attic and the dancer on the stage, living the canvas through the motion, the sound and obviously, the aesthetic…
Babasamas: Can you tell a bit more about the psychedelic side of the project?
Devavry: Our goal with these effects was to calibrate, with blue tones, to get away from the “real”. The mesh size of the beginning brings this world between virtual and reality. Disappearance of the character emphasizes this psychedelic state.
She takes out “strips of her life”, letting some blurred images, destructing this solitude, this bad-trip, and coming out from this negation to enter the reality of life, like awaking to consciousness.
In the second part, she gets out of her body, like an astral rise, an awakening after death. Now, she travels inside this known environment, in relative freedom, between life and death. The mouse hole could symbolize an exit, an escape, but also an endless loop, an eternal renewal.
Babasamas: Finally, can you tell us a bit your 2011 project?
Devavry: While trying to schedule “Incidium” in several short film festivals, I realized it was not complete, and hardly comprehensible. I tried to develop the project on stage, then met Manuel Pons (director) and Samantha Barenson (writer). We wrote again the text, the script, the choreography and ending of the whole story…
We are now in a final stage of creation, with 45 actors, artists and technicians; the play is being staged for the first time onMay 31, 2011and takes the forms of an exhibition a show and meetings.
Moreover, here are the links of his other stuff, enjoy !
Various stuff: http://www.myspace.com/devavry_mathieu/photos
Poems (in French and Spanish): http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.216185532364.135028.621437364
and for anything else: devavry_mat[at]hotmail.fr
Another mind-blower from the German demofreaks. If you want to run it real-time on your computer, you can download the demo from the Farbrausch site.
A little more than a year ago I was talking with a friend of mine who was showing me a cool psychedelic video by Gong. At the time I was keeping track of my growing collection of A class psychedelic videos links by sending them to my email account and arranging them with tags, planning to watch them all sometime when tripping heavily. The system worked. However, it seemed like a rather clumsy way to keep track of all these videos.
What if we would build an internet site dedicated to psychedelic videos, I asked my friend? “You could call this site ‘The Daily Psychedelic Video’ and feature a different psychedelic video each day, so that this would turn into an amazing bank for psychedelic videos. Every person in the world ever tripping next to an internet connection would always be able to go on the site and access a huge bank of high-quality psychedelic videos for him to trip with.”
The idea sounded cool, and what more, it didn’t seem to be too grandiose to be accomplished. It took me a while to get there, but a few weeks afterwards, on the 25th of April, the DPV went online. Less than two months later, in June, the site turned into a collaborative effort and pretty soon there were 6 different contributors participating in the DPV, each of them contributing on a regular weekday, together fashioning a psychedelic week, composed of the 6 distinct tastes of the six psychedelic video curators.
And there was also the 7th contributor, which were you, all the people who have been sending us links to cool psychedelic videos all over the past year, and who have been an integral part of the video selections published on the DPV during the previous year.
The DPV actually started out as an attempt to solve a very personal problem: how to organize my growing lists of psychedelic video selections for tripping? Since then, it has featured more the 320 psychedelic video posts (Despite being the DAILY psychedelic video, we sometimes lost track of the dates, so we’re not at 365 posts yet, but give us a break, after all it’s the daily PSYCHEDELIC video, and some time bending is to be expected…), and become perhaps the most extensive exploration into the realms of psychedelic aesthetics in video.
I never thought we would find so many psychedelic videos to keep us going that long, but the amazing thing is that the more we keep going, the more we find out about amazing stuff that’s being done out there by psychedelic artists and spirits worldwide.
As someone who is genuinely in love with this kind of art, it just personally makes me happy.
This year we will celebrate the DPV anniversary with a series of 3 interviews with 3 leading psychedelic video artists which will be published this Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, so be sure to check it out.
I’ve chosen to celebrate our one year anniversary with a beautiful rant from the man with the psychedelic glasses on the top of DPV page, John Lennon. This short interview with Lennon was done in 1969 by a 14 years old beatles-obsessed reporter who snuck into his hotel room. Lennon answered in his sort of witty, off handed and cosmic way, and 38 years later the 5 minute recording was turned into a highly associative and beautiful video by director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina. The short film was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet). Enjoy!
I want to thank all the people who made this all possible. Thank you to the different contributors, who have shown me new ways to think about ‘what is a psychedelic video’, thank you to all those who have sent us links to psychedelic videos, and another big thank you to all who keep coming back because they are interested in this kind of video, quite dissimilar from many of the other YouTube gags so popular these days, and yet much more satisfying, in my eyes at least.
Thank you all, and may we see many more mind-blowing psychedelic videos this year.
The relation between psychedelic aesthetics and capitalism is one that still needs to be elaborated upon, and those who wish to explore it are welcome to explore “Psychedelic Commericals” category here on the site which features a selection of psychedelic commercials.
The “Shtusim” Yoghurt series has already been featured here on the site, as a prime example for an extremely psychedelic video. The new video from the “Shtusim” Yoghurt series, has the same vibe of psychedelic children in a la la land.