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PEOPLEText: Simone Biffi

This month I’ve decided to make an interview to an interesting Milan based group of multimedia artists that are all under the name of Otolab. They make visual video mixing and multimedia exhibitions in many Italian clubs and they generally take part to the best known Europe VJing Festivals.

Can you please introduce the Otolab project?

The Otolab project started in Milan in 2001, as a conglomerate of different projects in electronic music, graphic arts, architecture, video, painting and multimedia. Right now we are a collective numbering about 15 people, working on both video and audio. A member of Otolab usually works in parallel on several projects, either on his own or in a team.

Where do you take inspiration to realize your works? Have you a philosophy,you generally follow to realize them?

It’s hard to find a specific definition of the inspiration for our works. Teamwork means that each one of us has his own way of working. In order to collaborate, we have to compare our diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds; different opinions about aesthetic and method; different sources of inspiration. For example, minimalism has a strong influence on some projects authored by xo00 or Maikko.

Works from Mud or Dies Irae may remind one of industrial atmospheres. At the same time a lot of tech data’s work is contained by the rave-breakbeat scene; Orgone’s work has strong ties to psychedelia, and so on. Anyway, the most important part of our work takes place in the lab. It’s a common area where we can confront, discuss and eventually merge single projects, trying to investigate in depth the language of choice.

Quartetto.swf, live audiovisual performance (2003)

Could you talk about one work you think is most representative of your style and philosophy?

As far as teamwork is concerned, it is probably difficult to find a “most representative work”. Otolab’s most known work is probably the quartetto.swf. It’s a performance for four performers with laptops: four different files feature different, but correlated, sound/vectorial graphics; sound and video is generated by invisible mouse-dragging and by activating invisible buttons. The result is a dialogue of four audiovisual objects projected on different screens.

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