crSeptember saw the completion of a really big new commission. As part of body > data > space, and in collaboration with a big team (40-odd, if I’ve counted right) of excellent people we made a large interactive audiovisual experience called Collective Reality – pictured.

The project was commissioned by/for Nesta FutureFest, which took place over the 18th and 19th September at Tobacco Dock, London, for ‘Future Love’, one of their themes this year. We built an installation which was interactive – not with the individual but with interactions between people. We saw it as an emotional creature who’s happiness increased when it experienced collaboration (people meeting and moving together). FutureFest had visitor numbers of 4000, and we had counted numbers a little higher – so people must have come twice!

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synth2In August I went to Toronto for this years Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium (TIES). I find this a very enjoyable event. It feels like one of a number of conference-type events – I’d include Seeing Sound here too – which are moving away from the typical academic model. They’re small, friendly and fun and break up monolithic paper sessions with installations, performances, concerts, discussions etc. Most importantly, they don’t only attract academics but also freelance artists and other practitioners. It was great to hear John Oswald as this year’s keynote speaker, and I also very much enjoyed the headline concert of works by Oswald and Paul Dolden. My own contribution – a paper outlining the development of my hybrid analogue/digital synthesiser (pictured) – seemed to go down pretty well too.

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wobbulatorI had a super-enjoyable residency at Signal Culture, a world-leading centre for analogue video in the slightly unlikely place of Owego, a small village in upstate New York.

I spent a week there pretty much entirely incarcerated (by choice) in their studio, generating reams of material with their amazing collection of old (and new) and rare video equipment, including the Jones Colorizer and Raster Scan, the video synth system and – most (and best) of all the Wobbulator and Color Wobbulator (pictured). I’ve got lots of good stuff I think, and lots of ideas as to what to do with it – hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that soon!

July also saw the return of our audiovisual club night, Sensonic, in the Frome Festival. After being shut down by the council last year, we had a sell-out triumphant return!

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dotproductSeeing Sound 4 in April was a resounding success – the biggest iteration of the event so far. What made a huge difference this time is that we were able to use the fantastic facilities of our new Commons building. As well as much better rooms for the paper sessions, we made extensive use of our lovely new preview cinema, the new TV studios proved themselves as really good spaces for installations, and most of all the two-storey MediaWall at the centre of the building provided a great centrepiece for the event.

Once again I was delighted to be able to host delegates from around the world, including our keynote speakers Vibeke Sorenson, Margaret Schedel and Joost Rekveld. More information as always on the Seeing Sound site. Image: performance by Dot Product and Panther Panther, 09/04/16.

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Oh dear.. 2015 hasn’t been a very good year for my website, has it? I’ve been meaning to give it a major overhaul, but never quite had the time. Hopefully in 2016!

In the meantime I’ve been keeping myself reasonably busy – danceroom Spectroscopy at Z-Space, San Francisco and at Stanford University in March, the Understanding Visual Music conference in Brasilia in June and the continued proliferation of my modular synthesiser, now an 8-channel digital/analogue hybrid that produces visuals as well as sound (much more on this in the New Year).

The biggest upcoming news is the next iteration of Seeing Sound – the international event I run at Bath Spa for all things audiovisual, which will take place on the 9th/10th April. Check it out!

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mountain2I’ve been ridiculously busy over the end of January and beginning of February, with three premieres over three successive weekends.

The first two were contemporary dance collaborations – on January 31st it was Unfold to Centre with the Yorke Dance Project, part of their new triple-bill with Robert Cohan, Figure Ground. Then I went over to Den Haag to finish off the highly interactive sensor-based Wild Places: Mountain with Roosna and Flak for the Cadance festival, opening on 6th Feb (Külli Roosna, pictured).

And I’ve just got back from Seia, Portugal, and the Dias De Música Electroacústica, where I curated a programme of videomusuc for the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, including my brand new danceroom-Spectroscopy-bending work Cloud Chamber. Phew!

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vectrexPerhaps inevitably, my recent interest in all things analogue has extended into some tentative forays into analogue video synthesis.

My Christmas present was a Gieskes 3TrinsRGB+1C kit, and I whiled a way some of the Christmas holidays building the thing (rather beyond my skill level – I’m amazed it actually works!). My new favourite thing is an 80s MB Vectrex games console which I’ve hacked into an analogue video monitor (thanks to Andrew Duff for help on this). Makes beautiful organic patterns like this and this. (also pictured). In January I made some visualisations for the upcoming album release by Vessels, which will be released soon. I’m also planning to make an all-analogue visual music piece with it.

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modularOver the last sixth months or so I’ve been engaged in (what I think will be) a long-term project – building a modular analogue synthesizer. Having spent so much time working on multimedia and collaborative projects I thought it was time to focus back on sound for a bit, and I wanted to try something different.

As Frank Bretschneider put it in this interview (I remember using those synths at EMS years ago), the pace of developments in the digital domain has slowed right down, and in the absence of much new, it’s time to return to the old and find ways to renew that. The Eurorack format has caused an explosion of new analogue modules made by all sorts of funky specialist manufacturers – it’s an exciting world. I’m putting together more details on what I’m doing here.

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CineseizureI managed a bit of time off in August, although I did go to the TIES conference in Toronto and kick off a new collaboration with super talented dancer/choreographers Roosna and Flak in Tallinn (this one will run for a while, so more anon).

Now everything’s very much getting under way: September saw the culmination of a long-planned collaboration between Seeing Sound, the Arnolfini, the Encounters Film Festival and McLaren2014 - McLaren the Musician (Cine-Seizure audiovisual club night pictured). It also saw me reaching the final stages of several collaborations: Cassandra with Ana Silvera and Ludovic Ondiviela (Royal Ballet), Unfold to Centre with Yolande Yorke-Edgell, and the REACT Object Sandbox Breathing Stone project (video here). Plenty more next month, so watch this space!

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rainbowAs usual in the summer I try and take it easy and do a few fun things locally – this is mainly due to the wonderful Frome Festival, which I’m usually involved in one way or another. Unfortunately, our audiovisual club night, sensonic, which was a sell-out success last year, had to be cancelled due to insanely stringent sound restrictions from Mendip District Council. We’ve got a bit of a protest going on, so maybe something good will come of it.

Luckily I’ve got something else on though – I’m very excited that danceroom Spectroscopy are doing a Molecular Music performance in this year’s Bristol Proms. This time we’re playing with the wonderful Charles Hazlewood All Star Collective, and we’re undertaking Terry Riley’s acid-fuelled 60s epic Rainbow in Curved Air. We’re trying some new things with the system – it going to be dazzling, psychedelic and loud!

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