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Entries in performance (31)

Tuesday
Jul052016

Pietre Sonore

 

I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more sculptors making use of sound in their work. Even though Wikipedia has quite a list, it’s not something you run into very often. Also, most of the artists on the list have only made use of sound one, or only quite a few times in their career.

Pinuccio Sciola, a quite renowned Italian sculptor who sadly passed away two months ago, was one of those artists who used sound in his sculptures, and even performed them. Often called “the man who makes the rocks sing”, his most famous works are the Pietre Sonore, or the Sounding Stones: sculptures, often made of limestone, that he used to play with his hands or with small rocks.

His ideas on these sounding stones were quite spiritual: he believed that stones have a voice that has always been there, but he only helps to release it. His limestone sculptures for example make a sound of a “liquid quality” when played, because geologically seen limestone is just fossillized water. As if the memory of water was imprisoned inside the stone during glaciation. An interesting way of looking at the world which might be very abstract, but helps one to think about long timespans.

To the rational minds that are sceptical of his ideas, Sciola only had only one thing to say: “I want to remind those who are sceptical that all the information circulated today by computers and digital networks in the end is stored and elaborated using infinitesimal silicon crystals.”

Monday
Feb152016

Ground

Jeroen Uyttendaele & Dewi de Vree are two artists from the iii initiative, an artist-run platform supporting radical interdisciplinary practices engaging with image, sound and the body. We’ve featured work by iii-artists before. “Ground” is a performance that Uyttendaele and de Vree have been doing for years, but when I saw it in Berlin a few weeks back, it still seemed novel to me.

In Ground, graphite drawings are used as a control interface for several electronic instruments. By drawing, erasing and touching, they’re able to control pitch, amplitude and sound colour. Graphite is conductive, so conducts electricity. In Ground, it is used as a variable resistor, instead of using a standard knob. Basically, they’re drawing an integral part of an electronic circuit.

In a way, de Vree and Uyttendaele “draw” their own controller, live. Because of this, it allows for a great field of experimentation possibilities in which auditive and visual elements are interconnected. Drawing, touching, slowly or rapidly repositioning instruments: the sound is modulated immediatly, creating a performance that blends senses together. A very tangible way of making live electronic music. If they’re ever playing near you, I suggest you go see the performance!

Friday
Nov202015

Noids

For his final bachelor project Noids, interaction designer Cas Zeegers created four small rhythmical instruments, small entities creating different patterns.
From a research perspective, Zeegers was interested in making the sound source more intuitive. Noids does this by simply showing how sound is physically produced by it’s mechanical movement. Being able to see the sound being created strengthens both the audio- as well as the visual aspect in the perception of the viewer.
The musician or interaction can change the speed of the patterns create a composition. The four patterns are all different, shifting over each other, creating polyrhythms. During the performance, the audience is invited to explore the space where the instruments are set up. Because the instruments have their own rhythm and movement, the audience can start to recognize patterns and see how a certain sound is created.
Tuesday
Sep082015

The Automatic Trio

Tom Moore is a musician playing traditional music, contemporary acoustic music and sound art. He’s primarily a violinist, but also plays other instruments and works with assorted electronics and hardware.

For his latest performance “Automatic Trio”, Tom performs with simple “kinetic” or animatronic instruments which play themselves. By attaching a bow to a simple bicycle wheel, he’s able to simulate the bowing of a violin or cello, making for some automated accompanyment to Tom’s playing. The set-up is quite simple, but really works with the ambient string loops and improvisation that he’s playing over the droning of the mechanical instruments. The fact that it’s part “installation piece”, part performance makes for something that is also visually compelling.

Monday
Apr132015

Inner Out

The inner sounds of objects and substances picked up with contact mics or hydrophones never cease to amaze. For Inner Out, Italian sound designer and artist Nicola Giannini uses contact mics frozen in ice, and performs a concert on them by playing the ice. Using different objects and techniques, such as grinding, tapping, hitting the ice, or pouring hot water, he creates the source material which he processes with live electronics to create a surround concert.

 

Monday
Dec152014

The Enlightenment

 

The Quiet Ensemble is an Italian sound designer duo, consisting of Fabio Di Salvo and Bernardo Vercelli. We’ve seen their mice orchestra, and fish based installation before. Their latest project isn’t based around animals, but around lamps.

The Enlightenment is described as a “hidden concert of pure light”, performed by an uninhabited orchestra of lighting elements, including stagelights and high-powered bulbs. It reminds me somewhat of Francois Bayles “Acousmonium”, but with a variety of lamps instead of speakers. Neon lights instead of violins, strobe lights instead of drums, etcetera.

Each lamp is fitted with its own copper coil, receiving electrical current at various intervals. The electromagnetic field of the lamps are captured by a sensor attached to each lamp, which turns currents into sound. Salvo and Vercelli modify the electric emissions in real time, performing the orchestra.

Wednesday
Oct082014

Ryoji Ikeda's Superposition

We’ve seen the works of Paris-based artist Ryoji Ikeda before. They are often raw, glitchy works exploring data sonifications and, more recently, the combination with visuals.

Ryoji’s latest work, or rather update of the work superposition is described as follows:

A multimedia music, visual, and theater work at the intersection of art and science, superposition, inspired by the subatomic world, mines the notion that it is not possible to fully describe the behavior of a single particle except in terms of probabilities. The work is an immersive experience, an orchestrated journey through sound, language, physical phenomena, mathematical concepts, human behavior, and randomness, all simultaneously arranged and rearranged in a theatrical arc that obliterates the boundaries between music, visual arts, and performance.

To achieve this, Ryoji has two performers generate the materials live; videos, point clouds, text, sounds, and superimposes these over 21 screens. Premiering in the US this month on October 17th and 18th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Sunday
Jul062014

Frequencies (a)

Nicolas Bernier is a Canadian sound artist who we’ve seen before. His “Frequencies” is an ongoing process focusing on basic sound generation systems. “Frequencies (a)” is a sound performance combining the sound of mechanically triggered tuning forks with pure digital soundwaves. The tuning fork, producing a sound closest to a pure sinewave, provides a historical link between science, tonal instrument works, and electronic music. The performer is triggering sequences from the computer, activating solenoids that hit the tuning forks with high precision. Streams of light burst in synchronicity with the forks, creating an intense sound and light composition.

Friday
Feb282014

Porcelain

Continuing in the theme of Oliver Jennings’ work we saw last week, “Porcelain” is also about exploring sounds present in everyday objects. The interactive sound installation is based around a concept by the Swiss artist Jacqueline Rommert. In this interactive sculpture she wants to merge the “old” and the “new”. By drawing you in with the old-fashioned looking porcelain plates, she wants you to touch and play the plates. As you do, you get to hear it’s “soul” and listen to it’s voice: the voice of the material itself.

“Porcelain” is an installation made for Schweitzer AG. The artist worked together with sound/installation artists Fedde ten BergeMalu Peeters and Marloes van Son to realise the project. Fedde gives us an insight on the technical workings of the project:

The sound is picked up by 4 electret microphones. When you hit a plate, a knock-sensor registers, and a short bit of the sound is sampled and used for the sounds. The knock-sensors are furthermore used for different parameters of the sound transformation and synthesis. Transformations include additive synthesis, modulation delay, sample playback speed, noise modulation and reverb. The speakers are mounted and hidden in the box itself. All of this is running in a Pure Data patch on a Raspberry Pi.

I like how this installation is quite playable reacts in different ways, and is built very neatly: everything from the system it’s running on to the speakers are neatly built in to one box.

Wednesday
Jan302013

FS/Partial

Teaching Music Technology brings back additive synthesis, year by year. For some students the concept of every harmonic sound being a multitude of frequencies is hard to grasp. Visualizing it is always a good way of crarifying things. FS/Partial would come in handy during those lessons. 

FS/Partial is an instrument created by Dogo Tudela and is meant as a visual way to perform additive synthesis in live contexts. Eight partials can be controlled by the user, by pushing the columns up and down, increasing and decreasing the volume of the sine waves: