[Written in 2005 ]

When I moved to Barcelona in July 1999 the first thing I discovered was SONAR festival, as for many visitors itÕs the landmark of Spain besides toros and playas. Sonar has grown into being a wellknown electronic music festival which also has space for live visual acts. Sonarama shows the latest developments on the  audiovisual scene and this year the programme included performances from such a excellent artists as Skoltz_Kolgen, Mikimona, Slub vs Nebogeo, My Robot Friend y Fuss. Sonar night offers VJ acts  to accompany the DJs, and as a rule they invite artists who practise live cinema or generative art, like LIA and Casey Reas or experimental visuals like the local crew No-Domain. 

One reason behind the success of Sonar is  the city itself with its formidable weather conditions and relaxed athmosphere full of skaters and street art, attracting cultural tourism. Barcelona is also the city of design and trendy magazines. Rojo is one of them, but besides of the printed magazine itÕs also known for audiovisual events they organise. Rojo has taken under their wings several local visual designers like Alex Beltran, Glaznost and Actop, who also practise Vjing and thanks to RojoÕs nowadays worldwide distribution, these artists have also reached international fame. Their latest initiative is a compilation DVD of visual works, from international and spanish artists, called RUGA, published twice a year.

As Sonar and Rojo are tuned mostly into international exchange, to find out what is happening in the local VJ scene its better to talk with Eloi Garcia from Telenoika. The name pays hommage to Roy Ascott and his writings about telenoia which served as an inspiration when he first started planning a meeting for Aestesis software users in 2000. This event turned out to be the first VideA festival. And the first festival in Spain (and perhaps in Europe) dedicated to the art of Vjs. Each VideA  pays a special attention to the set-up of the space and the screens, something quite unusual still at many festivals.

The organisation has layed on the shoulders of volunteers who believe in the joy of sharing audiovisual experiencies without financial gain. This kind of tradition has also hold together the famous free parties, an active rave scene, which had itÕs golden era around 1999-2002, taking place in abandoned factories around Barcelona. These parties ended up being massive week-long events with nonstop visuals and music, aided normally by excessive use of drugs. Eloi has also had his share of organising underground parties but nowadays has changed his strategy due to the funding Telenoika has received from the government. This has helped putting up monthly VAX events which present local visual creators and help  building a VJ community. On their website local Vjs can catch up with the latest news and publish their own.

The work of Telenoika is welcomed as many VJs dont find easily appropriate outlets for their work,  as the club scene can be quite unencouraging experience.
Most VJs seem tired of the lack of respect they receive from the club promoters, added to that, their contribution is not well paid considering the amount of work they do and the gear they bring.

Oscar Udaondo from Madrid has similar goals as Telenoika. In 2005 he published vjspain.com, which is a space for sharing information, experiencies and video clips amongst the community. The amount of users is growing steadily and he is planning to organise events to help the local VJs to get known for their work and to promote VJ culture in general. He, as many others, thinks that the VJ scene in Spain is running behind other European countries, but also believes that giant steps are being taken in order to change the situation. Most of the VJs in Spain look for inspiration elsewhere, naming groups as Light Surgeons or Cold Cut as their favorites. This can be due also to lack of knowledge about the work of the other Spaniards as the scene until now has been quite disperse.

Besides Barcelona and Madrid there are plenty of VJ related activities around the peninsula, as almost every village has their fiesta major which present also audiovisual acts. Groups like Fiumfoto in Asturias, InOutProductions in Tarragona  and Zemos98 in Sevilla make efforts to organise events to make sure that the local people also outside of the major cities can experience what is going on in the audiovisual world.

The future looks promising as the only way is up.
During the workshops on realtime audiovisual creation IÕve organised in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Girona it has become clear that there are a lot of talented creators interested in VJng. What they are lacking is information about the tools and the places to show their work. And that is changing rapidly now when even the design schools have started to give classes on the art of Vjng and the cultural centers have opened their doors to live visuals.