With the skies getting darker and rainfall on the horizon I’ve been fortunate to spend much of the past working month in the outdoors sunshine, and indeed the month began and closed around the theme of nature.
August began in collaboration with musician, composer, author and philosopher-naturalist David Rothenberg who plays clarinet with a band of birds and crickets and writes thoughtfully on the deep connections between humans and the natural world. I’d recommend his book ‘Why Birds Sing’ for an engaging and amusingly educational exploration of this very phenomenon, which the BBC are adapting for television broadcast and hence our collaboration, improvising around English bird song. Stay tuned for the broadcast and possible live performances later on.
Jumping forward the month closed with discussions about re-designing the sound world of the Coney Island aquarium in New York, so let’s see where the whales and dolphins will take us all on this adventure.
In between this my work has taken me from outdoor musical festivals to the South of France, from recordings of Vietnam traditional dance to climbing mountains in North Wales in epic nine-hour bursts. I’m currently developing a new project for October 2006 to celebrate the anniversary of French artist Paul Cezanne, the extraordinary Impressionist painter who spent much of his life in Aix-en-Provence, and as such was drawn to the area to research and develop ideas. I was fortunate enough to get to visit Cezanne’s studio, his old lodgings, his summer house and the countryside, with rolling mountains and glorious views across the valleys. In such a picturesque environment one loses track of time and can easily become hooked on the hypnotic pleasure of sitting on a rock towering above the land and simply watching the world barely pass by.
I’d recommend any visitors also take a look at the Vasarely Foundation, a building that is a work of art in itself, built in 1976 and inspired by Bauhaus architecture, formed out of 16 impressive hexagonal units. Inside are 42 impressively monumental works by the artist Vasarely, the father of ‘cinetism,’ with works that constantly trick your eye in optical illusions. Colour, shape, materials conspire to produce an amazingly disorienting effect, an intelligently clean way of getting high without risk!
From France to Latvia, for the opening of WAVES at the Latvian National Museum of Art, where I was invited to install work and perform a concert at the opening. Organised by the dynamic team at RIXC in Riga, this exhibition and festival was conceived as a large-scale exhibition that looks at electromagnetic waves as the principle material - the medium - of media art. The WAVES exhibition itself brings together about 40 international works of (media) art by 70 artists from 18 different countries, in which electromagnetic waves are seen not just as carriers of information, but as the material and/or theme of the artwork. I was honoured to show work alongside such inspiring artists as Anthony McCall, Paul de Marinis, Marko Peljhan, Radioqualia, Farmersmanual, Jay Needham, and then to perform with Atau Tanaka and Jacob Kirkegaard. The interruption of a stripping woman and man, naked in the audience, was enough to distract poor Jacob during his performance and reduce others to tears, but somehow no-one was inspired to get naked during my performance. What DID I do wrong?
The sixth episode of Night Haunts is on line now too (http://www.nighthaunts.org.uk), this time focusing on mini-cabs, where Sukhdev writes:
'Night cabbies claim they prefer to drive at night because the streets are quieter then and there is less of the pollution and pressure that has sent their colleagues to early graves. Others - laughingly, grudgingly - confess to being misfits. Their cars are secret caves into which they retreat to close out the disappointments and regrets of their daily lives. Night-riding allows them to live in London incognito, to lurk in the shadows away from the glare of family and friends.”
The adventures of the London night continue to inspire us all.
I recently composed the soundtrack to Vietnamese choreographer Anh Ngoc Nguyen’s new work which will premiere in London in September and hope that this will travel, whilst this will soon appear at iTunes for a special edition release, alongside other exclusive works.
If you still haven’t claimed your FREE Scanner CD, NightJam, then visit http://www.nightjam.org.uk, click on the link and request it, whilst stocks last. Remixes of this project will be forthcoming for free too, beginning with an extraordinary mix by Hakan Lidbo, who has released more than 180 records on labels all over the world, stretching from obscure minimalism on Mille Plateaux to cheesy house on Ministry of Sound. He has remixed and produced artists like Yello, Fatboy Slim, Si Begg, Ennio Morricone, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Rechenzentrum and Akufen, so it’s a honour to have him create exclusive new work for this project and generously agree to share it for free with everyone.
If not climbing mountains or cycling early in the morning for exercise, then you can pick up the new single by Dutch singer Lilian Hak (http://www.lilianhak.com), on vinyl and CD, ‘Faces,’ out on Steamin’ Soundworks, with mixes by Vector Lovers and two exclusive mixes I created. It finds a place between Madonna and Peaches with a reassuringly 80s groove. Pull up those legwarmers, tie back your hairband and get funky!!
Off to The Netherlands, Philadelphia, Wales and other surprises in September so hope to meet some friends in surprising places.
Until next month
::: listen :::
Humcrush: Hornswoggle (rune grammofon)
Bob Dylan: Modern Times (Columbia)
Easy All Stars: Radiodread (Easystar)
Susanna & the Magical Orchestra: Melody Mountain (rune grammofon)
::: read :::
Mary Gaitskill: Veronica (Vintage)
Marshall McLuhan: Understanding Me (MIT)
Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint Vol III (Leeum)
Gordon Matta-Clark: Works & Collected Writings (Ediciones Poligrafa)
A History of Violence, David Cronenberg,USA
This Film is not yet Rated, Kirby Dick, USA
A Very Long Engagement, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France
Destricted, Mathew Barney, Larry Clark, etc
::: diary dates :::
08 Sept-LTD De Effenaar Einhoven The Netherlands
09 Sept- LTD Arnheim The Netherlands
14 Sept- Parallax Beat Brothers Blackfriars Arts Centre Kings Lynn UK
19 Sept-Lecture, Temple University Philadelphia USA
06 Oct-Cabaret Aléatoire de la Friche Marseille France
20 Oct-Bios, Athens Greece
26 Oct-Parallax Beat Brothers: Alsager Arts Centre Cheshire UK
27 Oct-Parallax Beat Brothers: Miskin Theatre Dartford UK
04 Nov-Ground Control: Aarhus Denmark
11 Nov-52 Spaces:Powerhouse Brisbane Australia
18 Nov-Blindscape, Beursschouwburg Belgium
21 Nov-Alphaville;Teatro Miela Trieste Italy
24 Nov-Nights of London Extravaganza Shoreditch Town Hall London UK
30 Nov-Parallax Beat Brothers: Colchester Arts Centre UK
03 Dec-Broken Blossom with Pierre Bastien: Palais des Beaux-Arts Lille France
06 & 07 March-New work with Shobana Jeyasingh QEH London
17 March -Présences electronique Salle Olivier Messiaen: Paris France
19 May-Shots in the Dark with D-Fuse/Alter Ego, Wroclaw Poland
::: exhibitions :::
Latvian National Museum of Art
24 August - 17 September 2006
WAVES looks at electromagnetic waves as the principle material - the medium - of media art. The exhibition is the main part of the "ART + COMMUNICATION" festival organised by the new media culture centre RIXC to promote the current issues and emerging experimental creative approaches in the new media, culture and communication.
The exhibition brings together works of (media) art that deal with properties of waves in imaginative ways, exploring, making visible or making us feel waves on a host of different bands of the spectrum. In this exhibition electromagnetic waves are not just seen as carriers of information, but as the material and/or theme of the artwork.
By Sukhdev Sandhu
Design Mind Unit
Sound Design Scanner
04 February 2006 – on-going
Artangel Interaction invited writer and historian Sukhdev Sandhu to write a nocturnal journal unfolding over the course of 2006. His postings will appear sequentially at this microsite specially designed by Mind Unit. Sandhu's forays see him prospecting in the London night with the people who drive its pulse, from the avian police to security guards, zookeepers and exorcists. Acclaimed artist and musician Scanner has collaborated with Sukhdev and Ian Budden of Mind Unit to compose the sound for the site. If you would like to be kept informed as each episode is posted, join artangel‘s mailing list by clicking here.
Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
20 July 2006. - on-going
NightJam is the latest project in Artangel Interaction’s Nights of London series of artist-led collaborations with people who have a special view on a hidden side of the nocturnal city. Scanner invited young people at New Horizon Youth Centre in King’s Cross to collaborate on a creative project that expresses how the city at night looks and sounds to their ears and eyes. Through music and voice workshops they explored the sense of freedom and fear, celebration and solitude of the concealing darkness. Meanwhile, they captured their nights on disposable cameras, taking images that are at times eerie, startling, contemplative and funny. NightJam presents two elusive visual and musical journeys through the city’s ‘quiet’ hours.
NightJam resents two music tracks, a film, photographs, that can be experienced and freely downloaded. A limited edition CD is also being distributed for free through the website. A series of remixes by other artists will be available over the forthcoming months.