Lunchmeat 2018: Prague’s formidable A/V pageant proves visuals can matter

Prague’s Lunchmeat Festival is popping into one Europe’s most fun festivals. FACT’s Henry Bruce-Jones travelled to the Czech capital to take a look at three days thrilling performances within the bowels the town’s National Gallery.

During the digital arts symposium at this 12 months’s version Prague’s Lunchmeat Festival, techno luminary Regis was requested in regards to the significance visuals to his dwell present. “Shall I allow you to in on the key,” he requested dramatically, “It doesn’t matter. You can have lasers beamed into your eyeballs from Tokyo, it doesn’t fucking matter.”

But regardless of Regis’s bolshy opinion – half a rambling dialogue that veered from how a lot better techno was within the ‘90s to sleeping on the ground with Kurt Cobain – the forward-thinking Lunchmeat crew was, over the course three days, capable of efficiently reveal how highly effective an audiovisual expertise can actually be in 2018.

Lunchmeat 2018: Prague’s ambitious A/V festival proves visuals can matter
Photography by: Dita Havrankova


Taking place in two rooms within the basement the Veletržní Palác constructing, the biggest the buildings that make up Prague’s National Gallery, a live performance corridor and a smaller ‘membership stage’ supplied the proper atmosphere for experimental artists resembling Lanark Artefax and Aïsha Devi to ship impressively immersive A/V exhibits. Lanark’s seismic drums and Devi’s shamanistic bass assault supplied the brute power essential to accompany formidable shows: the previous’s 2001-influenced mild present and the latter’s multi-wall projections.

In the identical room, Lee Gamble set loud and summary jungle deconstructions to visuals riffing on business slogans and advert campaigns. “I don’t suppose as artists now we have to look very far to seek out the psychedelia, the strangeness,” the producer asserted throughout his discuss. I used to be reminded this throughout Demdike Stare and Michael England’s jaw-dropping collaboration, as Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker’s industrial groans heralded photos assault helicopters flying towards a blood-red sky.

Lunchmeat 2018: Prague’s ambitious A/V festival proves visuals can matter
Photography by: Jakub Červenka


Each these performances confidently built-in music and visuals to kind multi-sensory experiences that had been each coherent and sophisticated. However, this was not all the time the case. During Enchanted Lands & Wim Dehaen’s present, technical limitations demonstrated the methods wherein audio-visual integration can fall flat, as their laggy computer-generated graphics prevented me from staying immersed on the earth they’d created.

It was the artists that relished the interaction between sound, picture and performer who actually tapped into the theatrical potential the Lunchmeat expertise. Donning a protracted wig while singing in each English and Kuwaiti, Fatima Al Qadiri reworked into her “evil as fuck” alter ego Shaneera and was made full by Transforma’s shiny visuals. Eomac’s pummeling techno was plunged into even additional darkness by Sal’s unsettling imagery pale, writhing our bodies, but it was the Irish producer’s equally spasmodic stage presence that introduced the efficiency collectively.

Yves Tumor contributed one essentially the most visually arresting performances your complete pageant, filling your complete room with smoke and charming the viewers along with his rock n’ roll theatrics, leaping into the group to scream alongside to ‘Licking An Orchid’. Meanwhile, the multi-sensory chaos Amnesia Scanner’s dwell present made the most effective use the live performance corridor, the duo’s demented nu-metal freak-outs and cyber-trap instrumentals shaking the stage as gigantic smoke canons billowed into the viewers and LED screens flashed esoteric photos that had been half meme, half post-modern hieroglyphics.

Lunchmeat 2018: Prague’s ambitious A/V festival proves visuals can matter
Photography by: Richard Hodonicky


Rather than ignore attitudes exemplified by Regis, Lunchmeat demonstrated a refreshing willingness to enter right into a dialogue relating to the place visuals in dwell digital music. Through good curatorial selections and the choice to ask DJs extra at house in pitch-black dungeons than high-concept A/V areas, Lunchmeat was capable of strike a fascinating stability between sound and spectacle. This was most obvious throughout Fis’s efficiency, which explored noise and silence in addition to mild and shade. As skeletal beams mild swept via the darkness and intermittent strobes punctuated the artist’s monolithic soundscapes, it felt like essentially the most full assertion in response to Regis’s cynicism. Visuals needn’t matter, however Lunchmeat supplied a compelling argument that they completely can.

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