Being creative and working with various media has always been a passion of mine throughout my life. Here is the first instalment of a 3-part series which is a retrospective account of the ten most memorable highlights over the past three decades.
1986 – Creating Audio Plays with a Voice Recorder
When I was about six my dad who worked with typewriters and other office equipment at the time brought home a voice recorder and let us kids have a play with it. It being the 80s the simple recorder had a very limited recording time, but it did have a great feature – the option to adjust playback and recording speed. My friends and I had many hours of fun recording simple audio plays ranging from soccer game commentaries to an adventure story about chipmunks (the adjustable playback speed came in handy for fast high pitched voices) and some supposably scary deep voiced stories with the speed setting set to slow. Creating something out of nothing using our imagination – it was very cheap entertainment, yet priceless.
1994 – Editing Home Movies the ‘Old School’ Way
As you did in the 90s, our family ended up with countless hours of amateur boring home movie footage, mainly from holidays, shot on our very first VHS camcorder which had its own suitcase! Of course, TV and cinema played an important role in shaping a perspective of what a quality video production should look like, and our home movies were far from it, especially regarding entertainment value. Professional editing equipment was not available to us and too expensive. I am not sure if video editing software for computers was even invented yet. A low-tech, make-shift analogue video editing setup was assembled by utilising the available equipment: 2 VCRs, a CD player and an amplifier. It was simple, but it did the job! Through careful timing of pressing the right button at the right time, the interesting video footage could be cut together. The choice between the original sound or music from a CD added extra interest to the multimedia production.
1997 – Creating DJ Mixtapes
The computer age had finally arrived for me but strangely enough in regards to my passion for music, especially R’ n’ B’ and Hip Hop an icon of the analogue world survived in times that were more and more influenced by digital technology: the 1200 Technics turntable. With the help of friends, we acquired a decent collection of vinyl records. Countless get-togethers where we would mix music, practised scratch techniques and played around with microphones and effect devices provided us teenagers a creative outlet with our own interpretation of the Hip Hop movement originating from the United States. The desire to create something, to leave a mark in our social circle lead to the creation of various mixtapes (which actually were mix CDs). The combination of the rich sound of analogue records and precise editing tools available on a computer enabled us to make mixtapes that we were quite proud of and that we circulated amongst friends.
1999 – Graphic Design Project at the Advanced Technical College (Alfeld, Germany)
Even though I had played around with various graphic design applications and taught myself a fair bit about how to edit and manipulate images, I started to get more serious about design and composition in my final year at the Advanced Technical College in Alfeld, Germany. A memorable activity was the creation of various print advertisements using Adobe Photoshop. I can recall creating a poster ad for a sports clothing brand and assembling a montage of various scanned and re-touched images in combination with other design elements such as shape, colour and text. I can remember being pretty happy with the finished result which was printed in a large format and displayed alongside other students’ work at the hallway of the art department.