Collective Video's singular mission

Radstorm and Bleep in the Dark build a video archive of the sound of 2020.

click to enlarge Vulva Culture's solo, shot-from-the-living-room-floor show is a primo example of the intimate vibe on offer with Collective Video. - YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT
Youtube screenshot
Vulva Culture's solo, shot-from-the-living-room-floor show is a primo example of the intimate vibe on offer with Collective Video.

How long ago was March? Technically, it’s been 162 days. But it’s also been several lifetimes and several rapid blinks, as a global pandemic and a social justice uprising changed everything over and over again.

How long until it’ll be normal again? Technically, not at least until there’s a vaccine that’s widely administered for COVID-19. But it’ll also be until businesses and people recover from the economic stagger that began this spring.

At least throughout it all we’ve always had Radstorm, the north end beacon of DIY culture and punk attitude. How long will it be until we can crowd into the downstairs of 2177 Gottingen for a face-melting show? Technically, it’ll probably be a few more months at least (though the space is open for drop-in use to jam and access art supplies in the meantime). But at least until then, we’ll have the archive of Collective Video, a collaboration between Radstorm and Bleep in the Dark, to help Halifax musicians take their live shows online.

A YouTube channel started in early April, Collective Video is a showcase (and archive) of artists performing from home during lockdown. There is a variety of in the types of performances, ranging from a Vulva Culture set on a living room floor, to ambient drone from My Lost Era and even jaw harp beat boxing from Chik White.

“Radstorm and Bleep in the Dark were hoping to collaborate before,” says Radstorm member Charvel Rappos, “but then Covid happened and the partnership just kind of grew into this.”

The project gives artists a platform to put out visual content and uphold a sense of community, during a time when a live performance would likely be followed up with contact tracing. (These days, as venues start to reopen shows to family bubbles for hundreds of dollars, it also serves as another way to scratch the live show itch.)

“It’s an emotional thing for people, and to not be able to play shows and see the other people in your community is hard,” says Rappos, “Although I don’t think this takes the place of that, it keeps it up in a way.”

Fellow Radstorm member Lucas Goudie says that the project has also been great for both those looking to get their music into the world and for seasoned performers looking to experiment with new sounds: “There’s been at least three or four people that I know who didn’t have a solo project before, and this was a safe way to present that,” says Goudie. “I think this feels less intense than making a recording and calling it a recording—even though it is a recording—and also less intense than playing a show.”

This comfortability—a chance to throw the idea you’ve been holding onto for too long at the wall, to see how it sticks— is something that Bleep in the Dark fosters at its live events (which, much like gigs at Radstorm, will be on hold for the foreseeable).

Back when getting in someone’s personal bubble was not a matter of life and death, the group held shows in complete darkness. This created a unique experience for the audience and allowed performers to feel more at ease.

“Because you’re able to play in pitch-black, that wall of insecurity has gone,” says Bleep in the Dark co-organizer Ian Kennedy. “I think it provides an opportunity for people who may have performance anxiety, or people who are in a separate music project, but it is their first time playing a certain style.”

While navigating social media algorithms and growing a steady viewership as a new project has been challenging,  Bleep co-organizer Danielle Jakubiak says the music and community are what is at the core of this project.

“There’s so few opportunities for people in the city to play in between big festivals, and there’s especially a lack of venues for experimental music. So for me, Collective Video is important because it gives people a platform to continue to share their voice when they don’t get to do that enough anyway, despite it being a pandemic,” says Jakubiak, “I think we share a common goal with Radstorm in that we want to develop and continue to sustain a healthy music environment in Halifax.”

Both Radstorm and Bleep in the Dark plan to resume putting on shows as soon as they are safely able to do so, but in the meantime plan to keep Collective Video running. (To date, the Youtube page has 38 videos listed.)

Anyone is open to submit to Collective Video, and if you’re interested in doing so reach out to either Radstorm or Bleep in the Dark for more information.

About The Author

Alec Martin

Alec is a student finishing their degree at University of King’s College School of Journalism. They have been covering arts on the east coast since high school, and are currently an organizing member of New Feeling Co-op.

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