For the last couple of months I’ve been working with a great team of people on a project for the REACT Objects Sandbox (Internet of Things) scheme, funded by the AHRC and produced by Bristol’s iShed. The project is called Breathing Stone (I think – the name is somewhat in flux), and it centres around an object, the size and weight of a large pebble, you can cup in your hands. It uses sensors to detect your heartbeat and breathing, and produces music in response. The idea is that the music will give you cues to breathe ‘better’ and therefore aid relaxation, with all the health benefits that brings. My own role is purely on the development of the music – an interesting challenge to make something generative that gives the user clear enough cues whilst remaining engaging. We already have a working prototype, and some promising leads for further funding. Watch this space – there’s more info on the project here.
I’ve got two London premieres coming up at the end of this week (and month). Feb 27th/28th sees a preview performance of Unfold to Centre by dance company Yorke Dance Project, choreographed by Yolande Yorke-Edgell, part of their Figure Ground programme, at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells. The piece uses Larry Cuba’s animation 3/78, and I’ve made a number of musical interludes based on the beautiful original Shakuhachi soundtrack by Kazu Matsui. The piece will tour over next winter/spring. On the 1st and 2nd of March, danceroom Spectroscopy is once again resident at the Barbican’s Weekender event. The weekend will feature the installation, the latest versions of the Hidden Fields dance piece, and the UK premiere of Molecular Music, my sound-based work based on the system.
January started with a bang, with a residency for danceroom Spectroscopy at the very wonderful ZKM in Karsruhe, Germany (pictured). We had the installation up for three days, and did seven performances of the dance piece Hidden Fields. It went down very well – thousands of visitors, and standing ovations!
Since then I’ve been busy on Molecular Music, a new danceroom Spectroscopy offshoot. I’m trying to really see how far I can push the sonification of the particle system, the control of the particles by sound, and both at the same time in some kind of chaotic feedback loop.
I went over to the SoundImageSound festival at the University of the Pacific, California, to premiere the piece. It crashed twice, but I still felt it went well (and got a really nice reaction), so I think I must be on to something. I’m going to keep developing it.
While I was over in California, I did a couple of talks with Dave Glowacki on dS – one in SoundImageSound and one at Stanford University’s CCRMA. It was a busy week!
Seeing Sound 2013 was a great success. By some distance the biggest so far, we featured 22 papers, 10 performances and 27 fixed media works, including a rare chance to see the films of James and John Whitney, some in glorious new HD restorations.
We had over 100 delegates from all around the world, with visitors from the US, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Ireland, Germany and the Nethelands. Our showcase Bath Spa Live performance on Saturday night sold out, and responses to the event have been overwhelmingly positive. Many of the works shown are embedded on the site, and you can also find a gallery of photos. Here’s to the next one!
(photo: Yorke Dance Company, Paul Prudence)
Pretty much everything I posted about back in August has now come to fruition, and I’m near the end of an exhausting but very productive few months. We had rehearsals for Hidden Fields (the dance piece based on the award-winning danceroom Spectroscopy system) over the summer and into the autumn, culminating in the premiere of a much expanded and improved version which premiered at the danceroom Spectroscopy festival in October. This took place in the Igloo 360-degree projection dome, rather spectacularly sited within Brunel’s Old Station at Temple Meads Bristol (photo: Paul Blakemore). Now we go on tour! (more soon..)
The Touretteshero piece also had a rather grand premiere, at the Albert Hall in the wonderful Albertopolis TEDx event. Jess’s talk is fantastic, and I’m very happy that our piece made it in there, even if only for one minute! We’re working on a much grander project to follow up – more anon.
It’s too early for me to reveal much about developments on the the Cassandra / Royal Ballet project, but let’s just say I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing more on that here soon too.
Most of my efforts right now are focused on the 3rd Seeing Sound, Bath Spa University’s biennial Visual Music Symposium, which takes place on the 23rd and 24th November. The theme of this year’s conference is live performance, but as always the event spans a broad range of audiovisual work. I’m very pleased with this year’s packed programme, all of which can be seen on the Seeing Sound site.
As previously mentioned, there’s been lots going on that I’ve not been posting about. danceroom Spectroscopy continues to go from strength – a recent highlight was a performance in the all-new Bristol Proms with violinist Nicola Bernedetti. We have rehearsals throughout September and October to make an all-new Hidden Fields dance piece to tour through Autumn and Spring – fixtures already include an igloo dome performance in Bristol (more details soon), the Barbican in London and ZKM in Karlsruhe.
I’ve got a few new collaborations in the works too. One is a piece based on the Cassandra myth and exploring attitudes to mental illness. It combines live music, electronic sound and dance, with singer Ana Silvera, choreographer Ludovic Ondiviela, artists Kate Church and Kate Keara Pelen and some of the Royal Ballet’s finest dancers – we’ve just done a pilot performance in the ROH’s Clore Studio and will see what happens. Another is a collaboration with Tom Mitchell and Jess ‘Touretteshero’ Thom. Jess has come up with the great idea of seeing what artists can do with her tics (as seen on the website). Our brief is to sonify a year’s worth as a piece of abstract music, a section of which will be presented by Jess at the TedX Albertopolis event on the 23rd September.
There’s more coming up soon too, so watch this space. One thing I can give advance notice of (although there’s not much on the website yet), is that we’ll be hosting another Seeing Sound Visual Music symposium at Bath Spa University on the 23rd/24th November – more anon.
I tend to keep it local in July, as we have the fantastic Frome Festival right on our doorstep. I’ve been involved in a couple of events this year. The first is Adam Jansch’s ongoing in tones event, which this year has an audiovisual theme which is right up my street. The second is a new venture on my part, an audiovisual club night called Sensonic. I’ve always wanted to combine dance music with an immersive video environment, and this is my chance. We’re using the lovely Silk Mill (pictured) – inside will be wall-to-wall multichannel projections, and outside will be projector mapping and interactive installations. We’ve gathered together some amazing people, and it looks set to be a great night.
My site has been quiet for a bit. Cogs have been whirring in the background, and things shift up a gear over the summer, with several exciting projects coming to fruition soon. Watch this space!
I’m in Bangalore, India at the moment for the FACETS choreographic forum. This is a fantastic international meeting point for 16 young choreographers who are supported by an equal number of mentors. Each of the choreographers is working for two months in Bangalore to present a new work in the Attakkalari India Biennial 2013 at the beginning of February, several of them with music by (or partly by) yours truly.
The choreographers and mentors are an amazing, and amazingly international bunch. The top image shows the mentors (from left to right): me, Janet Lilly (US), Thomas Dotzler (Sweden), Nicole Seiler (Switzerland), Gideon Obarzanek (Australia), Meryl Tankard (Australia), Ryoya Fudetani (Japan), Horst Muhlberger (Germany), Jayachandran Palazhy (India), Margie Medlin (Australia). Not in picture: Lars Erik H. Bratlie (Norway), Ong Ken Sen (Singapore), Helena Waldmann (Germany), Sankar Ventateswaran (India), Jatin Vidyarthi (India).
In the bottom image are the choreographers. From left to right: Deepak Kurki Shivaswarmy (India), Santhosh VS (India), Airi Suzuki (Japan), Paula Rechtman (Mexico), Yola Yulfianti, Isak Immanuel (US), Jade Dewi Tungal Tyas (Australia/Java), Inbal Oshmam (Israel), Aguibou Bougobali (Burkina Faso), Yeon-Woo Na (South Korea), Anoushka Kurien (India). Not in picture: Kristina Soetorp (Norway), Leandro Kees (Germany), Rianto (Indonesia), Surjit Nongmeikapam, Choi Ka Fai (Singapore).
It’s been a brilliant year for pioneering abstract film-maker Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), with major exhibitions of his work across Europe and the US. I’m delighted because I think he’s a wonderful and somewhat neglected artist (although that seems to be changing very quickly). I’m also happy for more selfish reasons – I’ve been researching his work for the last two years, so this all seems very timely. I’d like to particularly recommend two ongoing exhibitions – the AMAZING multiscreen piece Raumlichtkunst (from 1926!) at Tate Modern and the Oskar Fischinger retrospective at the very shiny new EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam. The former is on until May 2013, the latter until March. Accompanying the EYE exhibition is this rather beautiful and very useful book, with two essays of mine in, which I’m very excited about. It’s currently only available direct from EYE or to CVM members, but will be distributed by Thames and Hudson early in the New Year.
me and my shadow was presented at the fantastic Robots and Avatars – UK Selection exhibition that body > data > space presented at the Star Gallery, Europe House, London in September, and will also feature as part of their presence at the AHRC’s Digital Transformations Moot on the 19th November.
danceroom Spectroscopy will also feature in the AHRC event, and this weekend (3rd and 4th November) is making a special appearance at the Barbican as part of their Weekender festival – come along!