The following will appear in the forthcoming 4Talent site:
What is Prime Objective?
It wouldn’t be fair to call Chris Keenan AKA Prime Objective just a VJ. In fact, considering his pseudonym, the man has many objectives. His projects range from photos with Holgas, SLRs and Lomo, to films using digital, stop-motion and Super 8. He’s also a notorious mandolin player.
Check out any of his work or projects he’s involved with and you’ll see that there’s plenty of overlay. Perhaps, most telling is the work he has done with Southern Comfort. Originally invited to New Orleans to take photographs for Blowback magazine, Chris was commissioned by Southern Comfort to extrapolate his film making skills; which in turn led to VJ sets at Southern Comfort’s Fat Tuesday’s tent across some of the best UK festivals.
We’re sitting by the Fat Tuesday Tent at the Big Chill festival, Chris is snapping merrily away – whilst inside his visuals are scrolling out on the screens. It occurs to me that there is a connection to these shots and Chris’ short films. Chris’s Super 8 style, from his first film ventures to Fidget is always about catching snatches, quick glimpses and moments of stillness. Always loosely edited to music.
“The music gives the films a flow and something to edit to. I guess my other work VJing and making music feeds into that. I’m putting an extra layer of myself in there.”
Chris actually began VJing before he had a Super 8. Using his home-made skate videos and youth archive footage, he manipulated the footage through V-Jam software. Chris even managed to convince a local bar: Browns in Coventry to buy some equipment so he could play there
“One of the best times was at Christmas 2003. Me and a friend Mick did a six hour set taking it in turns to DJ and VJ. We spent weeks getting it together, it lots of fun but there was no real money in it.”
I ask him whether the preparation factor is intrinsic to his VJ gigs
“Well you build up an archive. Some VJ’s I see use simple, but effective material; graphical stuff and simple animation. Then for the live version they add effects – through certain bits of software. Video turns out to be a lot more time consuming – especially when it’s original.”
We slurp at our Soco Cocktails; whilst plastic alligators (put there to fit in with the New Orleans theme of the tent), goggle at us open mouthed.
“Sometimes visuals are done really well at big gigs. When it’s more of an event they take on more of a shape,” says Chris “It often works really well at festivals. The Big Chill has had some great work on the main stage this year. Incredible.”
Chris’ favourite gig was for Exposure Film Festival’s closing night at the Cornerhouse in Manchester. He was invited by Rant Magazine to VJ with DJ outfit Iacon.
“There was a long table with 5 decks: MPCs and Kaos pads. Then me stood at the end with a lap top – vision mixer and DVD players. It was amazing.”
Recently, Chris Keenan found himself another objective: to direct an MTV style video for My Alamo.
“I’d helped out on ones before and worked on treatments but this was my first proper music video. I directed a camera man, assistant director and a producer. I worked with a prod company Antidote. I edited it all as well – over several days! We’ve had a really positive response from it which is pushing me to do more.”
It’s Chris’ hope that in future he can develop an array of projects from photographic reportage exploits in the state’s to further Super 8 fun and mandolin madness
“A style and passion for your work is what makes people take notice of you. The small projects you set yourself can often be time consuming and costly but occasionally they snowball and can generate new work and even revenue. This is something I haven’t forgotten and I’ve got a load of other projects planned , you know, seeds to sow… which will hopefully bear fruit as they grow and develop. ”