Undervolt & Co. is a label for experimental video artists launched by Yoshi Sodeoka, Johnny Woods, and Nicolas O’Brien. Undervolt comes to VIA this year as the festival’s feature label. They lecture Thursday Oct 2 at 12pm in CMU School of Art. Saturday Oct 4 they perform live visuals at the festival’s Main Event in the Union Trust Building alongside Zebra Katz, Blue Hawaii, L-Vis 1990, Traxman, Cakes da Killa, Diode Milliampere, Troxum.

Undervolt Artists @ VIA:
Yoshihide Sodeoka

MSHR (Brenna Murphy & Birch Cooper)

Johnny Woods

Sabrina Ratte

JJ Stratford

Check out website for more information and current roster.

—A video label? What is that? Why?

Why not?! Anything goes. Sometimes it’s hard for experimental videos artists to find institutions that can maintain long term representation. Very few art galleries want to sell, maintain, and deal video art. Even if some of the artist working with Undervolt & Co. are hired to make music videos sometimes, it is always the musicians that come first in that relationship. As a result, none of the traditional distribution systems seem to be a perfect fit for people like us. So we figured it would be a good idea to do it ourselves and make a hybrid child of the good parts of old distribution paradigms.

—Are the videos available outside of your store?

No. We offer exclusive content created by the artists specifically for our label.

—What’s your future goal?

We are starting out as a small video label/publisher, but we are aiming to grow into a significant video archival institution for the future. There’s a whole new generation of video artists who grew up in the age of digital revolution. Currently, we don’t see any institutions that actively reflect this generation of experimental video art. We want to to fill the void. In short, Undervolt will help people to find good curated experimental video art for our generation.

—Why mp4 downloads, no streaming service?

We realize that everything is heading toward streaming/cloud direction, but we want to still borrow from older distro-platforms by using download and some DVDs in the meantime. It may look like we are going one step backward, but we are ok with that for now because we believe that streaming does not equate the kind of distribution we want to bring to this work. We want more control, and fear that services like Youtube and Vimeo don’t give makers the opportunity to control the ways that they want to show their work. So, we will stick with digital download to provide higher quality videos for now. That being said, we are looking out for new videos streaming options in the future.

image: Sabrina Ratte “Sightings II”, 2014, to be released in September @ Undervolt&Co