CITY PULSE
Lansing, Michigan
art:: JANUARY 26, 2005

Potter-Belmar Labs Does Battle

By AMANDA TIGNER

 Potter-Belmar Labs, Ann Arbor-based husband-wife duo Jason Jay Stevens and Leslie Raymond, were poised and incredibly entertaining at (Scene) Metrospace’s first audio/visual battle of 2005.

 The audio/visual battle was staged against The Earthwurms for the opening of “Unreal Tournament,” a traveling exhibition pitting artist against artist in which viewers are invited to pick their own winners and losers.

 The battle consisted of three sets per team, beginning with a warm-up and then followed by two challenge sets in which the teams had to illustrate a random topic such as “creepy” or “sunsets.” The two groups were more or less even until the final challenge, “revolutions,” when Potter-Belmar stole the show.

 In essence, Raymond combined visuals of President Bush, an old, animated sci-fi film and tanks, among other things, and the audience gasped and chuckled when Stevens threw in the voice Bush saying, “Children are expendable.”

 To create their improvisational a/v experiences, Stevens mixes original and found sounds on a computer while Raymond, a.k.a. VJ FutureWorkerGirl, mixes video clips. Usually, their sets last from an hour to 90 minutes, but the 10-minute per set time constraint imposed last Saturday night forced them to get into a harmonious flow quickly.

 Competition really pushes creativity, Raymond says.

 “I was looking at a documentary about Akira Kurosawa,” she explained. “He and his screenwriters all write and then pick the scene that’s the best. Because he puts himself in the situation that he has to compete, he really has to do his best.”

 Potter-Belmar Labs’ next gig will be at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in March. For further information, visit its Web site at www.potterbelmar.org.