Last autumn Peter Rubin, the grandfather of VJ’s, has passed away in Berlin, Germany. As we are working with cultural institutes to preserve his legacy, we thought it fit to write a brief in memoriam for him.
Peter, originally a New Yorker, was the absolute pioneer in live video art as early as the nineteen-seventies. He received wide acclaim as a performer and artist because of his work at many major film festivals. With ‘Maxavision’ he became a landmark of the early heydays of house music, e.g. at Chromapark, Berlin, Mayday, and legendary Love Parades. In Amsterdam, where he lived a large part of his live, he was one of the artists that made Mazzo such a legendary place.
Peter was also an intense observer of society and politics, and a livelong untamed critic of the 1%. However fierce, he stayed optimistic, challenging artists to use their medium to express meaningful ideas, not to just entertain. In his work and private live, nature was extremely dear to him.
Over the last six years, Peter has graced our own VjAcademy as a guest lecturer a few times, teaching our students about the origins and history of video art, the principles of visual rithm, and much more. It is thus that we had the privilage to share unforgettable conversations (yes, debate he could!), and carry with us a lasting call to make our work matter.
Peter, thank you for bringing moving colors to our world.
Note: there is much we could’t fit into this brief post, and much more we just don’t know about his live and work. Feel free to respectfully add any memories or insights in your comments below.