Here some pictures of the instrument I made at the Instrument Lab #3.Thanks to Hasan Hujairi for taking the photos.
Here some pictures of the instrument I made at the Instrument Lab #3.Thanks to Hasan Hujairi for taking the photos.
Residency at STEIM (23.04 – 6.05 2012)
Patricia Bosshard: augmented violin, conception
Dragos Tara: live electronics, conception
Live electronics performance for violin and embedded motion sensors Bow
inspired by Joseph Beuys
Two main gestures categories: sound effective or not
Data mapping throughMAX/MSP:
Bow length, distance to bridge, bow speed, hand pressure on the bow
low frequency oscillators, amplitude and frequency modulation with sinus waves or random generators
Gestures sequencing: towards a choregraphy that will be repeated several times during performance, but with different consequences on sound.
I am Iris van der Ende, harpist and theatre maker. During the Instrument Lab residency I have worked on a system that extended my harp to an interface. I wanted to play the strings and interact with stellar sounds.
I arrived at the Instrument Lab with my pedal harp and an interactive system that was almost working. Fetapapa who worked at Steim developed this for me: a software programme connected to some of the strings by small microphones. The Stellar Sound System. But it was hard to gain specific midinotes by playing the strings because the harp is an instrument with a lot of harmonical overtones.
When I showed my case at the Instrument Lab I immediatly got advice from the staff. How I could better attach the microphones to the strings. Where exactly on the string the vibration was most intense, in order to gain the best signal. And the wise advice to put some foam material between the microphone and the wooden body of the harp to isolate the signal from one string to another and to mute the vibrations of the harp.
After some days of testing materials between the strings (yogamatrass, handkerchiefs, rubber) I found the best material: soft sponges. And my Stellar Sound System started to run! I could play harp and rely on the computer giving midinotes. Harpists can download the tool Stellar Sound System here: http://www.fetapapa.com/FetaPapa/Stellar_Sound.html
Next to this technical victory it was very inspiring to work between the other residents who all developed new instruments. The way they intergrate technology in their performance was an eye opener to me. The theremin extended with arduinos performed by Jan Klug. The sculpture of Luigi Pizzaleo interacting with the sound the oud from Hasan Hujairi. The saxophone with electronical distortion from Sam Andreae. The movement tracking Space Palette from Tim Thompson..
And I was very inspired by the lectures in the Instrument Lab about new instruments. The performances developed at Steim blew my mind. The performance with 2 Wii controllers by Alex Nowitz. The internal amplified laptop screen played with a violin bow by Hans Koch. His crashing computer concert. The Hands from Michel Waisvisz. A world of technologic music performance opens to me.
Rightnow, since my harp is really interactive, the new question arrives to me. How can I relate me playing harp to the sounds being triggered… I am very excited to explore this new world. I will integrate the system in my performance Stellar Sound Rooftop for end of June. And I am very excited that I am welcome to continue my artistic research in the house of Steim next six weeks!
During this week we mostly played the instrument to understand what kind of movement it demands , through the rehearsals we understood once again that such an instrument is meant to be tuned in advance , like building a pupet , and through its behavior (piano/pupet) our work as musicians and performers is to activate the beast , make it sing its own song, through actions of the body rather than exclusively a musical goal .
since the instrument is big and has a lot of strings, four hands are required at all times.
Narrative structures where used in order to give the performance a smooth flow.
one metaphor we worked with is the moment pinocchio turns from wood into flesh , by developing the idea of a puppet turning from wood into flesh action emerged as well as an abstract goal of giving life to an inanimate object.
another metaphor that was used is “autopsy” , the first movements on the piano is played with bows , the bridges for the strings that can be bowed where placed in such a way that the action we do with the bows portrays the movement of cutting wood with a saw.
on this opportunity i want to say thank you to all Steims staff for the wonderful hospitality and warmth and support along the way . (you’ll be seeing more of me:)
Excerpt from Cadavre - on youtube
Thank you to the STEIM Staff and to those fantastic musicians who shared the Concept Stage yesterday night. A praticular thank you to Hasan Hujairi for working with me and sharing the sound of his oud. An experience I hope to repeat in the future.
Here’s a rhetorical proposition: One of the (not so) secret agendas of an artist on an art residency programme is to take time to reflect on his/her person and art practice. This ‘agenda’ is of course goes along other intentions such as developing new work, experiencing working with different people, and to be more informed of the types of practices taking places in distant – or not so distant – locales.
Steim’s Instrument Lab residency programme is mainly about developing our own approach to the notion of electronic instruments (software and/or hardware). On a personal level, I see this residency as a chance to better understand the possibilities that I have not considered before. Most importantly, however, I think that this residency is a chance for me to reflect on my process and own ‘career’ as an artist.
My activity in music started in earnest with the oud, although I had studied classical guitar for many years. In my four years in Tokyo as a visiting scholar and graduate student at Hitotsubashi University, I had the opportunity to constantly think and rethink about my relationship with music and where I would like it to go. It was in Tokyo that I began to experiment with the idea of experimental music and electronics, as opposed to simply playing ‘oriental’ music on the oud (which, as a medium, I felt did not best reflect my own self). I had a similar experience to reflect in London, when I was part of the Red Bull Music Academy 2010: At the RBMA, not only did I work on developing new music, attend lectures by the likes of Steve Reich and Cosey Fanni Tutti (from Throbbing Gristle fame), and meet some great artists from around the world; I felt that I connected with the city of London in a meaningful way. Of course my experiences while working on my PhD at the University of Exeter and while working at Al Riwaq Art Space in Bahrain have also been important in my development and approach.
The main issue I wish to highlight in this blog is that over the time of this residency, I have connected with the city of Amsterdam in my own way as well. I feel that being able to absorb the locale’s social/cultural/historical nuances enrich an artist’s personal experiences that on some level inform future practices and developments. Being away for someone like me is also a chance to reflect on where I come from and where I hope to go in the future. This idea was triggered while I made a brief visit to Foam Gallery, where I saw a work entitled “Let’s Sit Down Before We Go” by Bertien van Manen. The work “refers to an old Russian custom (Присядем на дорожку): before you leave on a journey, take a moment to think about where you come from, where you are going and why.”
At the Instrument Lab, where we are encouraged to sit down before we ‘go’, I have been thinking about my approach to instruments and my approach to music in general. I am very excited about some of the projects I am in the process of developing (which will have to happen after my current residency ends in a few days). I must also admit that my discussions with the other residents here with me have been of extreme importance, and I learned a lot from each of their approaches.
As an artist and as a person, my experiences and the processes I go through are of great importance to my creative output. By connecting with a city such an Amsterdam (which holds an important cultural position globally) and by interacting with all the individuals I’ve met through Steim, I feel that I have taken one step closer to understanding my own practice and my own motivations better.
And now, I will go back to rehashing my Post-Esoteric (Oriental) Art Music Manifesto based on these findings.
(by Hasan Hujairi)
Yesterday I had a session with Hasan Hujairi. We made about ten minutes of music for oud and live electronics, you can find a selection of this impro on soundcloud:
This is a good result for me, since it is the achievement of one of my best expectation for this lab: sharing musical experiences and backgrounds, and making them interact.
As to the technical evoution of my work, I could make sensors work through Arduino, with both junXion and a little sketch I wrote by myself. However, I did it on a breadboard but I wasn’t able to solder them to wires, even why they are too little for my not perfect sight (and even less perfect skills with solder). Moreover, only position sensors gave me a consistent and useful result, while others (mostly pression ones) should undergo an accurate work of calibration and it would take too a long time. So I decided to use, for this time, a joystick, not very beautiful to see but very affordable, as I could observe during Frank’s workshop. Tomorrow…
Off topic: I was at the Van Gogh Museum today. I think everyone should see it at least once in his/her lifetime.
It may sound crazy to be spending a sunny Easter Sunday programming and experimenting in the bowels of STEIM, but that is what I came here to do. In the first few days of the Instrument Lab, we received a variety of presentations which were always thought-provoking. The best part of the week has been interacting with and seeing the work of the other Lab participants – their instruments and ideas cover a wide spectrum. I also gave a presentation about my work, which people seemed to enjoy.
I originally thought I wouldn’t be able to bring my Space Palette instrument because of its size, but I was able to cut it into four pieces and bring it along. It was originally designed as a “casual instrument” for people to enjoy at festivals (like Burning Man), but over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with different arrangements of the controls and features of the sound generation to make it more suitable for performances. It’s always useful to have deadlines (such as the Tuesday night performance here) to force myself to make progress. I doubt I will ever find the perfect arrangement of controls, but I’ve been able to experiment with several different approaches while I’ve been here.
When describing my work in one of the presentations, I mentioned that one of my ideas was to use the outline of the hands (or body or any other physical object that you stick in front of the Kinect) as a waveform, directly. It’s a relatively simple idea that seems to have a lot of potential for creating and evolving sound in a direct and intimate way, and I was happy to hear Kristina Andersen echo my enthusiasm for the idea. I haven’t been able to implement it completely, yet, but I made some progress toward that goal – TUIO 2.0 has a spec for an OSC message that conveys the outline of an object, and I implemented that in the MultiMultiTouchTouch software that forms the basis of the Space Palette. It isn’t clear to me what approach I should use for converting the outline to audio in realtime, but SuperCollider is a very strong possibility, and this finally gives me a good excuse to learn that language.
One of the Lab participants (Iris van der Ende) has a harp which can trigger sounds created from stars. She brought some short star-related video clips (for example, time-lapses of the night-time sky), which I was able to convert and play from within Resolume. Soon we’re going to try triggering these video clips using the MIDI output of her harp.
Some impressions from lectures and workshops.
Technical workshops (on STEIM software and physical compyting) were wonderful: I’m actually able to do things and use tools today I wasn’t a week ago.
The lecture of yesterday, April 5th, by Tijs Ham, gave new impulse to my old idea of studying accents. Accent is an aspect of linguistics that has never been investigated for lack of either theorical or practical tools and concepts. Just now some papers and websites on USA accents begin to appear. I think the approach Tijs Ham described yesterday could give impulse to a new field of research in the field of linguistic, in close collaboration with linguistics. My interest for this research is partly due to my phylological background, partly to the incredible richness of accents and prosodies of italian speech. All this has very little to do with music, but it shows how knowledge throws seeds with unpredictable outcomes.
A thought on a video we have seen this morning, a viola player playing Bach without the bow. How gestures become lightness, dance, poetry of movement, when they are free from the burden of their function…
Maelstrom 2600 is a a wearable instrument that is played simultaneously by multiple people. Maelstrom 2600 uses soft circuit technologies to translate a modular synthesizer into multiple costumes which can be used in participatory performance.
Each costume will feature embedded audio modules that can be played individually but can also be patched to other costumes to shape the sounds and rhythm.
Over the next five months I will be working on Maelstrom 2600 with the assistance of STEIM who will be consulting and supporting the project. Henry Collins is also working on the project to guide the audio direction.
We made our first residency visit to Steim recently to kickstart the project. There are so many aspects to the project that all need to fit together so it was really useful to chat with the different staff there about materials, logistics, technologies, performance and possibilities.
During this visit I investigated cutting vinyl circuits and used the machines at fablab to try cutting a circuit. I’m hoping that these circuits will be durable within costumes so I’ll be testing this one to see what it can withstand.
The vinyl cut I made was fairly basic. I was wrestling with eagle software for a while until I decided to draw a basic lunetta inspired circuit to keep things simple and to keep my options open for testing.
“A Lunetta is a basic concept, the pins of the Ics are brought right out to a panel that you can connect together using wires. Some people use alligator clips to connect them, some people use bannana jacks, but it’s all the same.” - Intro to Lunetta CMOS synths
We also spent a fair bit of time playing with the wonderful synthesizers that dwell in the STEIM Bunker. Including a VCS, System 100, korg ms-20 and some odd Steim creations. We made some recordings and Henry also combined them into tracks using local sounds and recordings in the STEIM studio, these should be posted to the STEIM blog in the near future.
Now it’s back to France to get busy with Maelstrom 2600. I’ll be posting updates as the project progresses at my blog here as well as some milestones on this Steim blog.
Maelstrom 2600 is made possible through support from the Australia Council