Oddscene - 'Siamese Mermaids'

Formed in 2004 by Sonia Vera and Helga Signes, Oddscene is a multimedia visual production project specialising in stop-motion, digital composition and live video art. With deep roots in DIY subculture and the emerging film and entertainment industry, Oddscene has been active creating live video for musicians and events in London, Berlin, Poland, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Morocco and more.

Passionately bringing cutting-edge video production, animation, VJing, photography and sculpture to the creative industry, Oddscene’s work combines various media and is strongly influenced by surrealism. Educated at the University of Art London, the duo specialise in producing a collage of imagery inspired by science, horror, technology, natural history, sci-fi and puppets.

In 2007, Helga moved to Barcelona to enter a BA degree in History, studying while working as in-house lighting technician designer at Barcelona’s well-known Razzmatazz nightclub. Since then, Sonia has directed Oddscene for most projects, although with many artistic contributions by Helga, preserving the project’s strong visual identity throughout.

After three years of learning their craft via a punishing run of live VJ performances – and continuously producing new artwork in various media – the first notable debut as Oddscene was on the Strummerville stage at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival; managing the live video recording and filming station, as well as VJing. Oddscene subsequently post-produced and edited a Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music promotional reel and, in the same year, were invited to VJ at the respected Blocweekend Festival (and so on in 2008 and 2011).

In 2008, Oddscene showcased a feature-length abstract film, ‘Seavenseals’, at the Roundhouse, accompanied live by a string quartet performing a score by Dave Skelcey. The event was organised by the City University London. Inspired by the seaside and marine life, ‘Seavenseals’ used well-refined research and sympathetic editing to re-create a journey by means of cut-up clips of old cinema and original footage and ended its first year as a video installation in the creek of Benitatxell, in Valencia, Spain. Also in 2008, Oddscene became artist-in-residence for the Cybersonica AV LAB 08 in Brighton, preparing and showcasing a collaborative audio-visual live performance with Voice Controller Kristi. From there, emerged a collective of artists who actively connect and engage with visuals; VJs collectives and art and technology showcases. Some as Musion, Flux, Veejey London, Crux and Kinetica Artfair.

The nexus of art and technology has always been a focus of Oddscene’s work, resulting in joining various showcases, including for Musion Hologram. In 2009, Oddscene collaborated with Polish artist Magma on the stop-motion hologram animation ‘Mutlove’, nominated for the Musion Academy Mama’s Awards. In 2010, Oddscene’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ – another stop-motion holographic animation – was picked for the Randstand VJ Gold Award 2010, as well as being part of a Yota Space Festival video installation in Red Square, Moscow, in the same year.

From 2009 to 2013, Oddscene’s short stop-motion histories were showcased at Kinetica Artfair, via the Musion Eyeline Hologram stage – when art mixes with technology, the result is science fiction! Showcased artwork included ‘Jungledelia’ (2012), ‘Seaweird’ (2013) and ‘Galaktica Battlesounds’ (2014).

Between 2009 and 2012, Sonia became video artist-in-residence for And d’Art’s international projects in Morocco, funded by Terre Sans Frontiers. The residencies were at the Cinémathèque of Tangier, The Royal Palace of Marrakech and Instituto Cervantes Casablanca. A collaborative project published in 2011 as a result (‘Lost in Marrakech’) and Oddscene can also seemingly now lay claim to being the first VJ live streamed internationally from Morocco via the web too!

During the years 2010 to 2012, Oddscene experienced the ‘Berliner’ art scene, touring Germany and Poland with a live collaborative AV project; Bitches on Bikes. Highlights were performances at Barcelona’s Gay Pride Parade in 2013, Teatr W Oknie Two Windows Theatre’s experimental sessions in Gdansk in 2013 and at City University London’s ‘Tek Art My Junk’ event at the Roundhouse Theatre, in 2011.

Since 2012, Oddscene has been regularly working at many of the Movimientos events in London, producing a tropical explosion of psychedelic visuals and graphics and becoming a resident artist for their Latin American London Fusion cycle – events with a social, political, cultural and artistic message. Notable appearances for the Movimientos collective include: London Remixed Festival (ongoing), La Selva (closing event for the Brazilian Festival, 2014), Day of the Dead Futuro (horror and sci-fi film festival in collaboration with Ritzy Cinema, 2014), Flipside Festival (Snape Maltings, 2015) and Love Carnival (ongoing).

2014 saw Oddscene’s return to a more regular VJ schedule – a high point being their performance backing BBC Radio One DJs and others on Glastonbury’s Shangri Hell stage, in the acclaimed Shangri-La field. An inferno of abstracted post-punk imagery filled the stage, subtly intimating a political and social message, following Shangri-La’s brief of that year. Shangri-La kindly invited Oddscene back to perform on the Shangri Hell stage in 2015 and 2016, when they also performed for the Brainwash crew, in their AV mini-club featuring the best of London’s electronic music underground scene. Other performances from this period include those for The Case of Arabic Hip Hop (featuring Sadia Manzour) MARS and Alaraby Television Network (2015), All of This Is Temporary CCI Collective political art exhibition by City University (2016) and Can I Kick It? SOAS end of year party (2016), in London.

Oddscene is always probing for new areas to explore, with a refreshing willingness to embrace everything from site-specific audio-visual installations to more classical forms of fusion. Instances include providing live visuals and video mappings in two historic London churches, for the classical orchestral concerts ‘When The Lights Goes Out’ (London Arts Orchestra, Shoreditch Church, 2013) and ‘Symphony N7 “Leningrad”’ (Philharmonica Britannica, St. John’s Church Waterloo, 2016). Other multi- and mixed-media collaborations include ‘Tales from the Tunnel’ – an audio-visual installation mapping the Islington Tunnel from a moving boat, alongside a specially commissioned soundtrack by Phuq (founder of the Bad Sekta record label) – for Regent’s Canal Art Festival in 2012. Oddscene has also regularly collaborated with the Bluemission lighting company, on installations combining video, sculpture and performance, often for the Random Artist and TAA events in London.

In partnership with Bluemission, Oddscene entered the world of independent science fiction and horror in 2014, when they took on the combined roles of art director, lighting designer, props and video effects for Inferno Mortal’s short ‘Have a Good Trip!’. Since then, new projects have initiated, with post-production currently underway for ‘Locale’, a short scheduled for 2017 release. Oddscene is also proud to have provided the title sequences for cult Spanish film, ‘Antonio Cumple 50’ (Mira Films, 2015) – premiered in Barcelona’s famous Verdi Cinema. Oddscene’s artwork has also been featured prominently by several online TV networks, including the HDFEST film festival’s showing of the animation ‘Automaton’ (2008) and Dotswaves TV’s 2016 showcasing of ‘Laboratorium’ (2009), a short stop-motion film produced in collaboration with Magma and Maggie (Polish artists working at Tim Burton’s stop-motion studio).

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