Amy Alexander
Since 2009
Works in United States of America

Amy Alexander is a new media, audiovisual and performance artist who has also worked in film, video, music and information technology. Her current and recent work approaches digital media art from a performing arts perspective, often sitting at the intersection of art and popular culture. Amy’s projects have been presented on the Internet, in clubs and on the street as well as in festivals and museums. She is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. In summer and fall 2012, she'll be Artist-in-Residence at iotaCenter in Los Angeles.

Amy – who has also worked under the names Cue P. Doll and VJ Übergeek – was a dinos^H^H^H pioneer in the development of software-based net art, beginning in 1996 with the Webby-nominated Multi-Cultural Recycler, a project that spoofed both net celebrity and faux multi-culturalism on the web. In addition to her art projects, she was also a co-founder and moderator of the software art repository and has been active in software art curation.

Amy’s projects have been exhibited at venues ranging from The Whitney Museum, Prix Ars Electronica, Transmediale, SIGGRAPH, and the New Museum to club performances at Sonar (Barcelona), First Avenue (Minneapolis) and Melkweg (Amsterdam). She has performed on the streets of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Zürich, and Aberdeen, Scotland. Her work has been discussed in publications including Wired, The New York Times, Slashdot, Ecrans, Leonardo, The Boston Globe and the Washingon Post.

Amy’s work has been influenced by her background in musical performance, and she’s recently expanded her performance endeavors by studying and performing standup comedy. Besides continuing her VJ performances, she’s recently published texts on audiovisual performance history. In collaboration with Annina Rüst she’s currently performing Discotrope, an audiovisual performance involving solar energy and various histories of dance in cinema. She’s also doing research toward combining her visual performance work with her background as a percussionist in the not-too-distant future.
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Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells at Hollywood Fringe

Wed Jun 13, 2012 19:00 - Wed Jun 13, 2012

Los Angeles, California
United States of America

Do solar cells have a nightlife? According to artist-professors Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst, solar cells aren’t just for making green energy anymore. Solar-powered nightlife comes to Los Angeles, where “Discotrope: The secret nightlife of solar cells” makes its road premiere this month at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and at HM157 in Lincoln Heights.


“Discotrope: The secret nightlife of solar cells” is an audiovisual performance that resembles a nightclub light show. At the heart of the show is the Discotrope, a disco ball where mirrors have been replaced with solar cells. (Discotrope’s low-tech gadgetry is reminiscent of early motion picture technologies like the zoetrope, after which it is named.) When Alexander and Rüst project videos of dancers onto the Discotrope, the cells produce electricity, causing the ball to rotate at varying speeds. But the cells do more than just power the ball - they also reflect the videos projected onto them. The reflections form a kaleidoscopic, rotating circular projection that encompasses walls and large screens around the space - as well as whatever people, trees, furniture or other objects lie in its path.

Discotrope’s projected visuals depict the history of “people dancing at cameras.” As Amy Alexander explains: “Early cinema took its cues from theatre and vaudeville attractions. If you look at movies from a hundred years ago, people danced very overtly for the camera - as they would dance for a live audience. There was a direct connection between performer and viewer, which often walked the line between voyeurism and exhibitionism. This perspective gradually disappeared as narrative film structure developed; the camera and audience became more like a fly on the wall. It’s come back now with YouTube: people set up webcams and dance directly ‘at’ the camera again. But where early cinema dancers were at the mercy of producers and directors, YouTube performers are largely self-directed. What interests us is how they represent themselves - what has and hasn’t changed now that the dancers are literally calling their own shots.”

Alexander and Rüst’s projected visual journey through dance cinema history is mixed live and isn’t chronological: a clip of a nineteenth century skirt dance filmed to show off Thomas Edison’s early motion picture technology might be juxtaposed with a YouTube video of man in a leotard dancing in his living room. Accompanying this visual amalgamation is an algorithmic sound design by composer Cristyn Magnus, which creates a real time, danceable remix using samples of music from the projected clips.


GALLERY@CALIT2 Presents: DISCOTROPE, March 19, Reception and Performance

Mon Mar 19, 2012 19:00 - Mon Mar 19, 2012

La Jolla, California
United States of America

Please join us for this reception and performance presented by the GALLERY@CALIT2

Discotrope: The secret nightlife of solar cells - an audiovisual performance
Monday, March 19, 2012
Reception, gallery@calit2, 7 p.m.
Performance, Atkinson Hall Courtyard, 7:30 p.m. /

Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife Of Solar Cells is an audiovisual performance by Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst, with sound design by Cristyn Magnus. Performances invoke both alternative energy and the curious history of dance in cinema – from backlots to backyards.

At the heart of Discotrope performances is an unconventional projection system: a disco ball that has been modified to use solar cells as mirrors. The ball rotates slower or faster according to how much light reaches the solar cells on the ball and creates fragmented projections on surrounding walls, floors, surfaces and people. We’ve written custom software to project videos onto the ball and have developed a live audiovisual performance around the system.

The concept springs from the genre of YouTube clips of people dancing at (directly in front of) a camera. With the advent of social media, this type of video has become a phenomenon, with countless people recording themselves dancing and sharing the results through social media platforms. In our performance, we trace this type of dance video back throughout film history. We’ve found that the sense of intimacy and immediacy between performer and audience that characterizes the YouTube performances was popular in early silent films and Hollywood musicals, where models for performance were drawn more from vaudeville than from theatrical narrative.

During the show, we project this historical trajectory onto the Discotrope disco ball. We perform the ball live, adding color and light to the video projections, improvising layering and mixing to create visually rhythmic stream-of-consciousness juxtapositions. The changes in imagery vary the light to the solar cells, which changes the speed of the ball’s rotation, allowing us to “choreograph” the movement of the projected visuals.

Accompanying the performance is an algorithmic sound design by composer Cristyn Magnus. Sound is generated and mixed in real time from the audio tracks of the projected videos, creating a seamless, danceable connection between audio and visual.

All gallery events are FREE and open to the public.


To RSVP, contact Trish Stone,

Media contact Tiffany Fox,


Meet Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells - live audiovisual performance.

Fri Oct 28, 2011 20:50 - Sat Dec 31, 2011

Meet Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells - live audiovisual performance.

For shorter excerpts, please visit our video page:
Ever wondered what solar cells do at night?
Introducing Discotrope: The Secret Nightlife of Solar Cells - an audiovisual performance by Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst, with algorithmic sound design by Cristyn Magnus. Discotrope performances invoke both alternative energy and the curious history of dance in cinema – from backlots to backyards – from Thomas Edison to YouTube.

So what does that mean? We project films and videos of people"dancing at cameras" onto a disco ball where we have replaced some of the mirrors with solar cells. The solar cells reflect the videos back onto walls and surfaces. The light from the projection causes the solar cells to produce current and consequently, they power the motor that rotates the ball.

Know someplace that might enjoy some nocturnally solar-powered semi-zoetropically live audiovisual performance? Discotrope events can range from seated concerts and gallery performances to public space dance parties. You can contact us at:

Can a crazy, lo-tech gadget be a serious visual performance instrument - and possibly represent the future of the future? We’re just about daft enough to think so. We wrote a little essay about that and some other things. It's called, "The Future is Dead. Long Live the Future." You can find it at:


The VJ Übergeek Textperience - with DJ Emile Zile, Eindhoven, NL

Mon Jan 10, 2011 00:00 - Mon Jan 10, 2011


Howdy! Since VJ Übergeek performances have evolved over the years, thought I'd post this recent look. This one's at an art opening, so it's a little more scripted than some of the club performances. But you can find a whole schmeggege-full at or
The latest Übervideo! Featuring, dancing, drumming, and other manifestations of my neurosis. Beats by the megamultitalented Emile Zile.

VJ Übergeek enters queries into the CyberSpaceLand search engine, on topics ranging from cheerful memes to existential angst. The search results become live-animated on-screen visuals: funky, fluffy, and maybe even cool. Hyperactive Übergeek controls the visuals in realtime with a variety of gadgets ranging from dance pads to drumsticks. Music by Emile Zile. Funware exhibition opening, MU, November 2010.

Amy Alexander (VJ Übergeek) has performed CyberSpaceLand in a variety of venues from nightclubs to festivals to museums to the streets. Performances vary with the setting, ranging from more theatrical and character-based to laid-back and ambient. The content and visuals have evolved over the years, and no two performances are ever the same.

More info, videos & propaganda:


Dead is the New Rich Album Release Party

Sat Jul 25, 2009 00:00 - Thu Jul 23, 2009

United States of America

Hello... FYI, for those of you in the San Diego area who've been interested in catching my alter ego VJ Übergeek in action... she'll be VJ'ing this Saturday night at the Kava Lounge. For those of you new to the ever-evolving Übergeek textperience, it involves internet narrative, sometimes-hyperactive hand and foot-based performance, and psychedelic 21st Century(tm) visual music visuals... And if that doesn't do it for you, check out these bands! Hope to see you there..... -Amy Alexander, Talent Manager for VJ Übergeek

Location: Kava Lounge
2812 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92101

Event Description:
Dead is the New Rich album release party featuring Leif(Kolt), Ubuv, Griefshare, Puppykicker, ID, Dr. Nickel. Also featuring The Technomania Circus & Planet Jemini.

Visuals by the VJ Übergeek Textperience

More info:

Doors open 9PM... visuals start around 10...