Video in retrograde: Talking analog video arts practices with artist Misha Lozovoy

Artist Misha Lozovoy discusses his analog visual work and explains why he does not see himself as a glitch artist in the strictest sense.

by Manu SharmaPublished on : Jun 20, 2022

Misha Lozovoy introduces himself as a video artist, known most specifically for his use of analog video hardware. He tells STIR, "I am primarily known for my videography work. I often direct, film, and edit music videos, as well as perform and project visuals in real time at concerts to create live audio-visual experiences, which is a practice known as “VJing”. I also create long visualisers for albums and mixes as part of online music festivals or VHS releases. This has led me to the absurd but awesome feat of selling hundreds of original VHS tapes on platforms usually used to sell music!”

Still from 'Sad B*tch', 2022, video still, variable dimensions, YOVOZOL | Sad B*tch |YOVOZOL, | STIRworld
A still from Sad B*tch, 2022, video still Image: Courtesy of Misha Lozovoy

As of now, Lozovoy has been VJing at shows for more than three years. While his early performances were relegated to dimly lit, local dive bars for his friends' bands, the last couple years have seen him perform several times at a venue called the 'The Burl', which Lozovoy considers to be the ideal size for his visual setup, with an indoor capacity of about 400 people. Of late he has also begun VJing at outdoor concerts.

Catalogue of Helios VHS, photo, variable dimensions, YOVOZOL, Luxury Elite | Helios VHS | STIRworld
Catalogue of Helios VHS, photo Image: Courtesy of Misha Lozovoy, and Luxury Elite

Lozovoy is 21-years-old, and hails from Lexington, Kentucky, USA. While he was born in the United States, his larger family is from Russia. He is currently completing his Bachelor's degree at the University of Kentucky, with a major in Digital Media and Design, and a minor in Russian studies. Thinking upon what inspires him, Lozovoy tells STIR, “Initially I was strongly inspired by a friend named Travis Hall, who was the first person I ever met - and the only person in my area who was VJing regularly for a psych rock band called Sweet Country Meat Boys - using a software called Resolume, and MIDI controllers connected to a powerful PC of his. Since then, I have met other live visual artists in the Midwest and South, many of whom perform with "liquid lights", which are essentially coloured oils pressed between glass plates, exactly as it was done for psych rock bands in the 1960s and 1970s.” Lozovoy has been working with a variety of artists and acts, and in February this year also happened to work on analog glitch visuals with famed digital artist ‘Tachyons+’, in Jacksonville, Florida for a festival called Winterland IV. He continues to mention, "I have also befriended other artists who use digital software like Resolume or Touch Designer to create live visuals. I have always and primarily been inspired by visualisers. And the fascinating visual aesthetics they present. It would be a very long article if I listed out all the art I am influenced by!”

Music video excerpt from Silence' by Akiaura, 2021, video clip Video: Courtesy of YOZOVOL, and Ryan Celcius

In conversation with Lozovoy, the question of creative culture comes up. One wonders whether he sees himself as a part of the glitch arts movement, some other creative cultural movement, or as something of an independent agent. He responds to this by telling STIR, “Right now, I would consider myself more a part of the VJ community than specifically the "analog video glitch art" scene on the internet; lately my life has increasingly revolved around live music. Regardless, many people are interested in my work because I use analog video hardware, modified or unmodified, as part of the workflow in my projects. It is true that analog video hardware is a major component in the process that gives my music videos their signature look, but I must say most of my time is spent inside software environments like Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, in order to achieve the best possible results with my hardware. This is especially true with most of my work published in the last year, as I have gotten better with the entire Adobe Suite. Not a few people seem to think I work exclusively with hardware, even down to the level of making cuts. To me that would be insane! The only reason I even use analog equipment is because I have been working with digital cameras and video editing software since I was 14, and it’s only very recently that I began to feel skilled enough to take what are my primarily digital works to the next level with analog video gear.” Lozovoy often finds himself quite surprised when he receives messages from folks looking to enter the world of analog videomaking, who mention that they have little to no experience with filming or editing videos. He finds this rather backwards, and mentions that people must understand the basics of video, or art in its greater sense for that matter, before thinking to pick up analog tech. He continues, returning to the question of creative culture, and says, “I get that a lot of people are more fascinated by the technology than the art made with it, but I am by no means one of those people. I would sooner sell all my video gear to create other art than to pigeonhole myself in "glitch art" forever.”

Excerpt from Helios VHS, video Video: Courtesy of YOVOZOL, and Luxury Elite

However, this must by no means be seen as some admission of disdain for the glitch arts community. Lozovoy mentions having a high measure of respect and admiration for the artists he comes across on the internet, who compose beautiful compositions and short videos highlighting the otherworldly aesthetics produced by analog video hardware; work that undoubtedly takes countless hours of preparation and editing. He even looks out for practitioners in this genre that have taken to the crypto world. “I have also seen and heard of many glitch artists inhabiting spaces like NFT marketplaces. This is something that really excites me, but I haven’t delved into it very seriously as of yet. Even TikTok has a scene, and artists like ‘analog_mannequin’ have exposed so many young people to the wonders of this old technology. The more I discover new glitch artists the more I see myself as one small part of this “analog-video-in-the-21st-century” scene that has sprung up over the last decade. Because of that I am very grateful for the people who found me as the first example of it, be it through my YouTube videos or anything else,” Lozovoy tells STIR.

Misha Lozovoy| YOVOZOL | STIRworld
Artist Misha Lozovoy, 2022, photograph Image: Courtesy of Misha Lozovoy

Lozovoy ends his interview saying, “Another thing I want to say is that glitch art is not synonymous with analog video, even though it is easy to equate the two. I believe glitch art is a much bigger movement within the realm of the deliberately vague term 'new media art'. Glitch art can be an attitude as much as it is a process. Glitch art, in essence, is doing something you are "not supposed to do" with technology or any medium really, so it doesn't have to be limited to analog video!”

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