I also talked about the dilemmas I experienced during the development of the sound for “Dialog/Overgang”. David Toop found that an interesting observation. According to him there’s a huge difference between electro-acoustic music from the 60s and the 80s. Electronic music of the 60 is a lot more gestural and expressive while electro-acoustic music from to 80s seems to be a lot more static. Composers from one of the two stylistic eras tends not to like the music of the other era. he thought that a reason for this difference is that composers for a while composed in a traditional ways within a new medium creating music based on the idea of performed music.
What has pussled me is that Maia Urstad was able to create strong and convincing gestures for the recent “Lydmur” installation. I believe the reason why this worked for her but not for me is that her sound is attached to a large body the wall built from record decks. When you hear strong gestures moving through the wall it is as if the wall has been possessed by a spirit. There’s a physical body that the gestures can be associated to. In comparisment I created sound using 12 loudspeakers distributed sparingly in a large 65 × 10 meters room. The sound is present in all of the room and the loudspeakers were not hidden. Still my sound appeared without a strongly attached physical body as a kind of aural fog. This appearance seemed to me to ephemeral to have the bodily presence and strength required to produce strong physical gestures and movements in a convincing way.
Most of the other presentations were good and interesting. David toop did a sort of performance reading from his upcoming book while playing music from an accompanying CD compilation. I got so involved with the music that I had problems focusing on the text but he had several interesting thoughts and observations and I’m definitively going to check out the book.
Anne Karin Rynanders presentation gave an interesting insight into project done prior to the “sound showers” at Gardemoen airport. her homage to Pollock is a personal favorite: A blank canvas hiding 48 loudspeakers creating sounds moving around in similar ways to the action painting of Pollack.
The only project presented that I have problems with is the current “Norske ledd” project by Jørgen Larsson. He’s using a digital stethoscope to record the sound of joints and tendons moving. The sounds are then further processed and presented as an installation and concert/CD. So far it’s fine and the compositions he’s been making sounded very good indeed. For some reason they reminded me of the slight melancholic feeling of some of Ovals music.
The part I’m doubting is that he has chosen to use the sound of Norwegian celebrities as the source material. From the very first time I heard about the project I’ve had the feeling that the main reason for this was to create hype and publicity. During the presentation he presented several arguments for the use of celebrities but none of them were able to convince me. One of the arguments was that it “gives the artist the status as “somebody who has met a celebrity”” (quote from the Power-Point presentation).
Of course he might get a bit more publicity due to this but artistically it IMO do the project no good. The sound of somebody’s body is something private and intimate. The only persons you are likely to get so close to are your mother very close relatives someone you are in a relationship with and your children. When Warhol was working on celebrities he was investigating the iconic and de-personalized impression they give in the public sphere. To him they had as much depth and significance as a can of tomato beans. There’s a gross contradiction in Jørgens project between the intimacy suggested by the sounds used and the superficial sphere of the celebrities. In my opinion Jørgen is betraying an idea that could have been good and thought-provoking by not trusting it and superimposing an assumed curiosity for celebrities that adds no artistic significance or meaning.
Blog archive for May 2004
On Monday May 3 the “Prøverommet” event at BIT Teatergarasjen will focus on electronic arts. This is a collaboration between BEK and Teatergarasjen and will include a variety of artists who in one way or another utilize electronics in their work. Being an expanded version of the “Prøverommet” filling the venue with installations concerts paintings photo and film the event will start one hour earlier than usual at 7 pm.
In addition to the 25 invited artists there will be an international programme containing experimental film and video work called .screen. It has been curated over the internet and is assembled for this occasion.
- Ap – artificial paradises (London)
- Andrew Bainomugisha (Uganda)
- Bjørnar Habbestad (Bømlo)
- Borghild Unneland (Sørlandet)
- Dalas Verdugo (New York)
- dj marieke (Amsterdam)
- dj silje aka silje heggren (Bergen)
- Fokuda aka Håvard Pedersen (Brevik)
- Force Majeure (Oslo/Göteborg)
- Gisle Frøysland (Bergen)
- hc gilje (Berlin)
- io med nelle ink og hans (Bergen)
- Welsh Lossius Mogstad (Bergen)
- Maia Urstad (Bergen)
- Rasmus Brinch (Bergen)
- Tulle Ruth (Danmark)
- Videohometraining (Nederland)
- Anna Anderson
- Martin Parker
- Wesley Smith
- Geert Mul
- Fabrice Vincent
- John Hopkins
- Michael Betancourt
- Paul Ritt
- Gideon Kiers
- Pedro Soler
- Eric Redlinger
- Amanda Steggel
- Kyle Lapidus
- Sam Woolf
- nancy aka sister O
Supported by PNEK
Curators: Ellen Røed and Torunn Skjelland
For a while I’ve been in touch with two students at the Institute of cultural studies and art history at the University of Bergen. Steinar Sekkingstad is writing his thesis on sound arts in the Nordic countries in the last ten years mainly focusing on installations by Maia Urstad and Natasha Barrett. Erlend Hammer is writing about the installation Seven+Eight Years of Sound and Light by LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela.
Robert Worby gave a lecture today as well and afterwards Erlend showed documentation to me and Robert and we spent a coupple of hours discussing. Erlend has mailed me scetches for parts of his thesis earlier. So far I’ve only had the time to skim through it but it will be interesting to see how his work will evolve. He’s planning to graduate by Christmas this year.
When I was doing the revised project description for the research fellowship a while ago both Erlend and Steinar provided feedback and suggestions. I find this kind of exchange valuable. According to Erlend there’s also someone in Bergen currently doing a master or PhD thesis on the work of John Cage that none of us has been in touch with yet. We’ll have to track him down…
Another good thing about this kind of networking is that I can get others to check out if something is of interest or not. Right now Jill is checking out if Netbehavior. I hope she’ll let me know if it is worth spending time on… -)
Tomorrow an exhibition of works by early digital art pioneers in Sweden is opening at Electrohype. For the exhibition Gary Svensson has been writing a text on the origin of digital arts. He is also the author of “Digitale Pionerer” based on his PhD research on the early development of computer arts.
- Samspillweb is a web resource on musicians in Norway involved with World Music.
- Du store verden! is a network for artists organisations institutions etc. aiming at international artistic collaboration in Norway and beyond.
- Bergen internasjonalt kultursenter (BIKS) is a cultural center for imigrants to Bergen.
- culturebase.net is an online information source on contemporary international artists from all fields. Knowledge and information of international arts from several leading European cultural institutions are linked under culturebase.net. The database features practitioners and experts from geographical regions as diverse as Asia Africa Latin America Middle East Central and Eastern Europe.
In Norway the higher eduication system is currently going thru a radical change aligning to the common international educational degrees batchelor master and PhD. KHIB is now approved for offering master degrees in fine arts applied arts design etc. Application deadline for this year is June 1st. It’s a bit awkward to find the information at the web pages but here’s how to: choose “Informasjon” from the lefthand side menu next “Opptak” at the right hand side and finally “Opptak til Master-studiet”. If you don’t care for fancy layout you can use this link instead.
The Research Rellowship in the Arts program that I’m part of will hopefully develop to become a full-fledge PhD program based on artistic practice rather than scientific research.
In the past I’ve not been good at documenting projects I’ve been doing always short on time and forced to focus on the next project or administrative matters rather than making proper documentation of past works. It not an ideal sitation. I managed to do some documentation last spring required for the application for the fellowship. Sometimes I’ve ended up loosing money because I couldn’t provide required documentation in due time. Last year I did a 3 week tour of 30 concerts for the Hacker project. The music for the production was a joint commission for me and Frode Thorsen. We got half of the money beforehand and the rest when the commission was fulfilled and proper documentation delivered. In addition composers gets some money from TONO whenever compositions are being played in Norway. If you don’t have a score recording or other kinds of documentation you get none. I got none.
As part of the fellowship program I have to improve on this as I have to be able to document what I’ve been doing during the fellowship period. Lately I’ve looked into video editing and DVD authoring something I’ve never had the time to do before. Today I managed to burn the first DVD of documentation. (Insert ClipArt here)
Sometimes knowledge pays off. A few more copies and I’ll finally get the rest of the Hacker commission fee.
Last spring PNEK the Production Network for Norwegian meda labs did a joint workshop on DVD authoring. During the workshop hosted by Atelier Nord a systematic testing was performed for different DVD formats authoring tools and players. Ellen Røed aka ink wrote a thourough summary. It’s never been published but is still available from the sux mailing list archive. Unfortunately it’s in Norwegian only.
I think I know why the DVD burned yesterday did not work at home. We’ve got a Philips DVD player and apparently the Philips ProDVD players do not support General Media DVD-R only Authoring DVD-R. Bugger!
I tillegg til å vise til radioen som objekt viser radiolyden også ut over seg selv. Både til konkrete steder i verden der lyden har vært kringkastet og til det mer abstrakte og mystiske ikke-stedet i atmosfæren der radiobølgene til enhver tid befinner seg.
Steinar is talking about “the abstract and mystic Nowhere in atmosphere where radio waves are existing” using the term “Nowhere” in singular form.
To me the works of Maia seems clearly post-modern in the sense that she’s accepting and aknowledging the fact that many different places exists at the same time and that the world is to big and complex for man to develop a universal overview or understanding. This was particularly present in the installation Stasjoner (“Stations”) positioned close to the harbor of Bergen. The port of Bergen was an important part of the hanseatic trade. In earlier eras the fjord out of Bergen was important for trade and exchange with the rest of the world particularly abroad. The radio offers new channels for communications and a new way of reaching out to the rest of the world.
The sounds of her installations are based on clips and montage creating a fragmented complex and multi-layer sound world out of voices languages morse nosie and interference containing more information than you’re able to grasp. Still the expression is not threatening. To me this implies an acceptance that the “chaos” of a globalized world doesn’t have to be threatening but rather present us with as potential for enriching our lives and cultures.
According to information at VideoHelp.com the DVD player I’ve got at home a Philips DVD761 is supposed to work with DVD-R. I’ll try to upgrade the firmware. Hopefully it will help if not I hope I don’t blow the whole shebang.
The notes from the workshop last year was named “deeweedesux.pdf”. I see the point.
Apart from that I appear to be in documentation mode at the moment. Today I managed to get the DAT recording from the Cracker concert last fall to play so that I could get it digitized. DAT seems no better than DVD. I had to get hold of the actual DAT player used for the recording in order to play the tape. Even if it was recorded using a Tascam it would not play back on two other Tascam DAT players I tried. Not to speak of the Sony and JVC players I tried…
Project idea: DVD from Hell.
Exploring all possible features of DVDs (menues tracks chapters intros outros background movies subtitles slide shows scripts….) but getting it all wrong. Every time I help the kids playing a Disney DVD I’m amazed at how awkward it’s possible to make something that ought to be simple and straight forward. If I loose the remote control I’ll be unable to play most of the DVDs I’ve got just using the Play button on the player thanks to ridiculous interactive menues and extra features.
The future of World Wide Video Festival is uncertain as the Deutch Art Council has advised the State Secretary of Culture to stop future fundings for the festival. Wolrd Wide Video festival has for a long time been one of the most important international media art festivals and it’s impossible to me to understand how the Deutch Art Council is reasoning.
Quietly and without making any fuzz about it my main supervisor Jeremy Welsh has uploaded lots of images from past projects to his web site.
The Ars Prix Electronica 2004 is announced.
The installation “Banlieue du vide” by Thomas Köner won the golden nicas for digital music. “Banlieue du vide” deals with surveillance and emptiness. During the winter of 2003-4 he collected approximately 3 0 images recorded by surveillance cameras and made freely available in the Internet. All of these images show empty snow-covered streets by night. Köner then added an accompanying soundtrack of colorless ambient noise and traffic sounds that represent memory. The only noticeable movement in these images framed within a setting of monumental background sound effects is that of the changing structures of the snow on the streets. To me it sounds like a very poetic and appealing work and I would like to see/hear it in real life.
(If you don’t know what it’s all about I recommend that you check out their web site.)
Below is my letter of support for the World Wide Vide Festival.
To whom it might concern.
I was invited to World Wide Vide Festival in 2001 together with Reinert Mithassel teaming up as the artist collective Fata Morgana exhibiting the installation Ekkofisk at Baby World Wide Media Lounge. Ekkofisk was a hybrid of physical installation involving an aquarium video surveillance and real-time sound synthesis. During our stay both me and Reinert were impressed by the professional and helpful assistance from the festival. The festival succeeded to be at the same time a large festival offering a rich and varied program reaching a big audience and creating an intimate and friendly atmosphere for the visiting artists. We both felt it to be a great honor to be invited to participate in the program.
I consider the Netherlands to be one of the most vibrant and exciting places in the world for new media art. The Netherlands is home to a number of internationally acclaimed media labs e.g. Steim Waag V2 and de Balie and also some of the most important international new media festivals e.g. World Wide Video Festival Dutch Electronic Arts Festival and Next Five Minutes.
When the Norwegian Art Council in the late nineties wanted to better facilities for new media artists in Norway they looked to Netherlands for inspiration on how to organize it. The Netherlands has managed to encourage a diverse environment encouraging several media labs and festivals with different profiles. From abroad I have the impression that this has caused a dialectic and dynamic process that has resulted in The Netherlands being at the forefront of current development in new media art. In Norway we have adopted this way of thinking with very good results by creating a de-centralized structure with media labs situated in different regions of the country and at the same time formally collaborating within a national network. As a former manager and artistic director of sound arts at BEK Bergen Center of Electronic Arts and also as a member of the board of the Norwegian Production Network for Electronic Arts I’ve been deeply involved in this development. In this perspective the possible discontinuation of World Wide Video Festival will not only be a loss in itself but also have a strong and negative influence on other organizations and festivals.
One of the main challenges of new media arts in the future will be to mature and to a larger extent integrate with the art world in general. There’s a need to balance the hype of current technological development with the ability to read current trends in a larger perspective. Compared to other branches of new media art video art has a relatively long tradition and thus might lead the way. The retrospective exhibition during WWVF 2003 is one example of how World Wide Video Festival is contributing to this.
I kindly appeal to the Dutch Art Council to reconsider their position and ensure that the important work carried out by World Wide Vide Festival can be continued.
Research Fellow in the Arts
Bergen Academy of Fine Arts Norway
A new exhibition of sound sculptures and installations has just opened
at the Sheffield Millenium Galleries in Sheffield Yorkshire UK.
“Amazing Sound Machines” will be open every day until 15 August.
The Show includes work by Johannes Bergmark Lawrence Casserley Hugh
Davies Simon Desorgher Max Eastley Peter Jones Dan Knight Helmut
Lemke Kaffe Matthews Martin Mayes Will Menter and Matt Rogalsky.
This exhibition has been organised by the Nettlefold Festival Trust
creators of the Colourscape Music Festivals.
Further details from: www.sheffieldgalleries.org.uk
I’m still using a lot of time documenting old projects. At the same time I’m also trying to make templates and default solutions that can result in a coherent look for past and future documentation and at the same time save me time when doing future documentation. Thinking in terms of templates.
By the end of the fellowship period in fall 2006 I have to provide decent documentation of the work I’ve been doing and this seems like a good time to create a structure for how to organize it.
It’s also a good time for improving my skills on video editing and DVD authoring. It will proberbly still take a while before I’m able to do video editing fluently but I’ve more or less figured out what I need to know concerning DVD authoring. I’m looking forward to start working systematicly on 5:1 surround sound. It will be interesting to see what difference that will make concerning documentation of sound from installations.
Another new phenomenon (…) is one that started outside of the business space more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS.
HIPR is a web resource explaining common image processing algorithms in a very simple and straight-forward way.
Right now I’m attempting to make a Final Cut Pro filter for conservative smoothing. For some strange reason this is not a standard FCP filter. I need it for noise removal in a documentation shot from the Régla installation during Oslo Open in 2001.000 The installation was taking place in a dark room with several videos projected onto stage scenography from the Régla production by Verdensteatret. The camera did automatic lighness adjustment to prevent all images from being black or almost black. This introduced a lot of pixelation noise in the images and I know that it will be possible to enhance video quality using this filter.
I managed to make two filters for noise removal for Final Cut Pro yesterday using FXscript. I’m midway through a third one but right now I’m stuck with not finding a method for retrieving and setting single pixel values within an image.
Seaching the net I always seems to end up at one of Joe Maller’s web sites. He has made a number of FCP filters named Joe’s filters available as demoware/shareware. He’s also spent a lot of time documenting FXscript past the documentation offered by Apple. His documentation used to look like this but later on he registered www.fxscriptreference.org and it seems like the old resource will close down at some stage. Actually I much prefer the content of the old site to the new one. The old one has descriptions of the process of making several scripts thus providing additional sample code to what comes with FCP. It also contains a number of filters that you proberbly won’t use for actual video editing but rather for debugging of your own scripts. The new site so far is made up from quoting function calls and a number of posts on bugs etc.
While I’m at it here is links to free FCP filters. Simon Kirby also has links to lots of other FCP related stuff.
OK from now on whenever I make a record I’ll upload this to the web site for the record.
My e-mail reader crashed today due to lack of disc space. Afterwards I had to rebuild the e-mail database to get it to work again. Since 1997 I’ve been collecting 157388 mails going in or out.
That’s is in spite of most mailing lists subscriptions being in digest mode.
Mojo JUNE 2004 – by Johnny Black
Portrait of a composer-performer whose influence has been wide-ranging and heretofore
An inspiration to artists as diverse as Red Hot Chili Peppers Brian Eno and Julian Cope
Roedelius has pursued his unique and extraordinarily beautiful vision for half a century.
He has also lived a life that screams out to be told in a movie but this will do nicely for
starters. Born in East Berlin in 1934 he found early celebrity as a child actor in Hitler’s
propaganda movies survived the Allied bombardment of Berlin was drafted unwillingly
into the Hitler Youth spent two years in prison for his rebellious stance became a rubbish
collector farm-hand and masseur – all of this before turning German music upside-down
as a member of avant-garde bands like Kluster and Harmonia. Iliffe’s affectionate and
detailed book overflows with great stories from a previously untold life at the heart of
twentieth century musical change so that Roedelius is recognized for contributions to
music which have been in their own quiet way as revolutionary as Robert Johnson
Stockhausen or The Beatles. [The foreword is by Brian Eno]
I’ve been to busy to attend all of the new media conference New Media as Culture Techniques and as Fora for Communicative Action but the third session was very interesting. In particular the lecture “Music technology and vocal performance. The microphone – an extension of the singing voice?” by Kate Augestad was relevant and interesting in regards to my own work. The lecture was based on parts of her work for the PhD and not yet published.
Yesterday Steinar Sekkingstad master student at Institute of Cultural Studies at the University of Bergen mailed me a draft of his analysis of the installation Adsonare a permanent sound installation for the new University building “Bygg for Biologiske Basalfag” made by Natasha Barrett. The analysis seems to be thorough and interesting and I’m looking forward to read it.
The installation seems to stirr some mixed reactions with some of the users of the building complaining about the noise. If you do a piece of public art in Bergen it’s always a good sign if it raises heated public debate and strong negative reactions. Ten years later the general public has grown fond of it and will fiercly resist any attempts at (re)moving it.
Bergen is a strange conservative city. There’s a saying that if you’ve done something twice in Bergen it has become a tradition.