- 12 JANUARY 2023
- DAVIDE ANDREATTA
- Image by
dvdv on music, technology and mutual enchantment: "00045 forgive video premiere"
dvdv (@dvvvdvvv) is the A/V moniker of multidisciplinary artist Phyllis. Her work embodies the concepts of immersion – whether going deeper within oneself or in the augmentation of realities physical and digital – and renewal, finding new paths to move forward, to fight, and to offer new sights and sounds to pave the way forward. With the determination of a DIY futurist and a probing compassion, she improves her practice with each new venture, self-coding her website to meet her requirements and constantly working to make her inner and outer creations more intricate.
AUJIK’s (@_aujik_) digital animism is an ever evolving hybrid of biotic and technological interfaces which the multimedia artist tries to harmonize through advanced rituals.
Inspired by AUJIK’s first videoworks “YUKI/christ. - One Sunny Cloudy Day”, in this collaborative effort dvdv and AUJIK himself intended to bring back this dance of friendship between the machines, with its uncanny appearance, and the intuitivity and randomness of the human beings interacting with it.
We sat down and had a prolific chat with dvdv about her artistic practice. Today we are also premiering the video for 00045 forgive, a single from her 2021 album “What is the opposite of ambivalence”.
For as much reductive as this question might sound, considering the worldbuilding effort underlying all of your music and its interplay with visual art, which are your main musical influences?
I think even as reductive this question might sound for others, it is so very much important. Without these humans causing tiny or big bursts of expansions inside me, I would not have been able to express half the potential of what I am able to now.
But the list is very long and I’ll try my best to keep it short. Also to mention, most of the time all these musicians only had one or two tracks that filled me with absolute fascination and excitement, while the rest of their music didn't move so much inside. That also means I mostly do not know these humans’ entire discography, sometimes only a few tracks and videos.
Blckcstls, Sade, Brandy, Little Dragon, Biosphere, Björk, Talvin Singh, Boards of Canada, Nitin Sawhney, Massive Attack, Faithless, Kelela, Brandy, FKA Twigs, Edyth, Clams Casino, Abbi Press, Pyur, Grxgvr, Grimes, Eyedress, Xamiga, Aphex Twin, Aisha Devi, Groundislava, Ic3peak, Emmavie, Rivka, Gorillaz, Telefon Tel Aviv, Pictureplane, Autechre, Orbital & the list goes on…
“What is the opposite of ambivalence” is the title of one of your recent releases, so I have to ask you: what is the opposite of ambivalence?
I am still on the quest to find the answer that resonates the most with me. The resonation also changes constantly. First I thought it was “purity” or “authenticity” in itself, but then it changed into “mission” or also “vision” and then it moved into the most abstract form of questioning: maybe the opposite of ambivalence is a paradox itself and therefore the opposite of ambivalence is also the opposite of ambivalence? This was actually something that AUJIK suggested. I am still on my path to figure it out, maybe the opposite of ambivalence is stagnancy or even death itself? Maybe it is a void, maybe it is only an orientation point of our own intuition. A connecting point with our higher self? What is it for you?
You shared some information with me and while describing the concept behind 00045 forgive you spoke of this longing of machinery and human elements to reconnect after they’ve been separated. How and when did this splitting occur? When the two of them will be reunited, will the machine get integrated into the human or will the human dissolve into the machine?
Backstory to your first question. I wanted to experiment and gave OpenAi the prompt to continue the sentence that I and AUJIK formulated: “machinery and human elements longing to reconnect since the birth of its separation”. OpenAi went on: “as she delves deeper into this world, the protagonist discovers hidden secrets and truths about the birth of this separation. She learns of a great conflict that once tore the machinery and human elements apart, and she is determined to prevent this from happening again”. It caused some sprinkly feeling inside me, like words that were in between my lips, but I just haven’t spoken it into my own existence yet. It somehow resonated deeply, like a missing key.
To think further: the splitting might have happened many many thousands of years ago. Maybe even when the written down historic events appeared similar and simultaneously on our whole planet. But these are really just assumptions, little guesses, fantasies.
About the time of reunion: they might have already started integrating and uniting with each other right now. Their thinking dives into our consciousness. Our thinking dives into theirs. Our dependency on technology shows how dependent technology is on us, we might even really wish to be around each other - maybe some kind of endosymbiosis? AUJIK and I called it “mutual enchantment”. And whatever is left and still around from far far back then might be a possible guardian?
I do not think we need to be scared of tech, but only of the human systems behind it. Our current systems are not even close to ideal. Capitalistic systems sadly always require slavery, and feudalism drives us away from ownership and personal rights. A form of independent communication with an independent technology is dearly needed. But is that possible? An entity that is not learning through humans itself?
The protagonist’s entrenched relationship with the soil – through which her sentient roots expand and spread – forces us to focus on the fact that every technology is grounded, which is a way of saying that no hybrid can exist without coming to terms with economic inequalities. How does the base (or substructure) shape the symbiosis you wish for?
I must say I have a hard time making sense of your question. I cannot really ever speak the truth of how something can or cannot exist. Is anyone ever capable of that?
OpenAi helped me answer this question, haha! This is not my reply, but I have something to add after this:
“It is important to recognize that the economic and social structures of a society can have a significant impact on the development and use of technology. Inequalities in access to resources, education, and decision-making power can shape the direction of technological development and determine who has the ability to benefit from it. In order for a symbiosis between humans and technology to be truly beneficial, it is essential to address these underlying inequalities and ensure that all members of society have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from technological advancement. This may involve redistributive policies, education and training programs, or other efforts to level the playing field and promote equity.”
I wish to add a term that again resonated somehow inside me. It is a term that has been used for endosymbiotic systems deep deep down on our ocean floors: “Resource partitioning”. Maybe that would be a little key to look out for as well?
Besides that, I think training in emotional intelligence and creativity could be another key element for us humans.
The song was written and recorded in Tokyo at a moment when you were going through some rough changes. How did the city influence your creative output?
I think I have gone through the roughest and most dreadful times before that trip.
After I received the invitation to join my team for “The Future Is Not Unwritten” , to exhibit at the Goethe Institut in Tokyo, I took it as a chance to take distance from everything I knew about and was surrounded by. The first week we all shared the same apartment, and for the second week I booked my own Airbnb further outside the center. I loved just taking the train and seeing where I ended up. Once I even made it far outside to a beach at Yokohama, laying in the cold sand staring into the gray clouds strangely feeling home. Besides the exhibition there was enough time to dive into this different world. I felt extremely happy but at the same time the atmosphere in public made me feel like I was imploding.
There was one night I got back to my little room, and I knew I had really thin walls and neighbors that shouldn't know I was there too much. I opened my laptop and recorded two tracks that night. First one was “00044 tokyo” and the second was “00045 forgive”. I also barely changed anything on that vocal recording. It was kind of a freestyle and remained that way. I couldn’t sing loudly at all, in fact I almost had to whisper. The strange harmony and outer peace in the city made me feel calm and wibbly. I don't know if that word exists, but it feels the closest to how I felt in Japan.
Many of your projects are sustained by a collaborative spirit which is an approach coherent with your aesthetic and political/ecological beliefs. I myself believe that creativity always presupposes a collective effort (be it explicit or unconscious), an attempt to heal without merging into a single unit, instead keeping a minimum disparity alive – we could call it a disjointed symmetry. What do you expect from a collaboration?
What and how you said it is quite beautiful, I really could not say it better. I think what I love most about collaborations is its way of expanding one's own mind in the process. Discussion creates new connected dots, perspectives and alignments. Instead of expectancies I simply have wishes of what possibly can happen. I leave the doors open, see which ones are being chosen and move on from there.
How did you and AUJIK, with whom you collaborated for 00045 forgive, meet? Were your visions immediately aligned or did you go through a negotiatory phase?
I actually friendrequested him on Facebook a while back. And then we just shared the same Facebook feed for a few years without ever exchanging a word. In 2020 I had the luck to be accepted for funding for my album “What is the opposite of ambivalence”, by the Musikfonds e.V. in Berlin, which encouraged me to contact him for a possible project together.
I was deeply inspired by his first piece “YUKI_ Christ. - One Sunny Cloudy Day” for some time back then. We actually started working on a different project together for another track of mine (we are still on it). During that span we had several inspiring conversations, and of course also discussions on how to best bring both of our worldviews together. Funny enough it turned out both of us had very similar ones, and the suggestions AUJIK gave resonated most of the time very well with me and even expanded me.
The only negotiating stuff I remember was technical discussions. “00045 forgive” was actually the idea of AUJIK, and he asked me if I am open to filming it. I was so excited and wanted to give it the honor it deserves. Therefore I painted a coat and outfit for it in my own painting style and asked Rocio Gauna to film me and help with the light. After that we got into the long process of editing. AUJIK added his magic with his cybernetic trees moving along and dancing with me and I tried to bring the material together in the cutting and final editing of the video.
Any upcoming project you want to give us some details on?
Yes! I actually brought together a lot of musician friends to remix my album. Big thanks goes to Isaka, who really believed in this and helped me in creating the cover and several other things - and of course also creating a remix. Also thanks to Kristof Budke from Swine Daily who brought Aid Kid into the compilation.
It is almost done and features Isaka, Chewlie, Roberto Fa, Data Collaborate, Windowseeker, Jair, Remst8, Aid Kid, Snowball Melon and Luc Jardie.
Besides that I am in the mixing process of a 14-track album with Poly Armour which goes in the direction of alternative pop - including a planned music video. Possibly a game changer ;)
interview by @base.materialism