Travels in Scannerworld

August 2007


I write this from Vienna where I’m been on an artist residency at the Museumsquartier, apparently one of the ten largest cultural complexes in the world. Living in a Stanley Kubrick inspired apartment, with pristine white walls, a hidden kitchen and a bed on wheels, it’s a spectacular location, surrounded by gorgeous baroque buildings, the imposing black box of MUMOK, the Kunsthalle Wien, the TanzQuartier, and countless creative offices where busy heads sit at desks, working on pop music, VJ projects, book publishers, designers, cartoonists, and more. It’s almost impossible to find time to be bored here.


I’ve often wondered where else I could live, given that much of my life is spent mobile, through numerous cities and continents, often in a matter of days, and here I find a city where I could finally be content to live for an extended moment in time.

At the invitation of Tonspur, an organization that invites artists to create immersive works on a 9.1 surround sound system in the Passage area of the Museumsquartier, I have developed a new piece that will play each day now until the end of October this year. I’ve never felt confident singing and yet revere choral music, so I wanted to create a light spiritual piece that uses the voice, my single voice, in an imagined choir, multi-tracking the piece. ‘Klusterblock’ opens out into this corridor-like space, echoing against the walls, suggesting a weightless luminosity, as a little choir were singing this piece each day, or at least a group of naughty school-boys.

I’ve taken to eating ‘Schnitten mit Haselnusscreme,’ a naughty sweet delicacy, greeting locals with ‘Servus,’ and even taken several long drives into the countryside to visit a Heuriger Zur Schildkrot, to eat and drink an Apfelsaft Spritzer. I’ve seen an amazingly comprehensive show of Koloman Moser, one of the most important artists in the history of Viennese Jugendstil, whose skills puts to shame many contemporary graphic artists, and a huge 400 photo retrospective of Austrian architecture photographer Margherita Spiluttini, offering up a pictorial atlas of buildings throughout this country.

A most memorable moment though was an opportunity to meet the Pope of Viennese 'Aktionism', Hermann Nitsch, who together with Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, and Rudolf Schwartzkogler, reformed the face of sixties art, shunning the illusionary confines of traditional painting and sculpture, reinventing an art that exists in real, corporeal, and violent terms. With his eponymous museum only open since May 2007 in Mistelbach, the smell of wet paint and fresh concrete still fresh in the air, I joined a small gathering to hear him speak of the ritualistic incorporation of viscera and entrails, of robed processions, of symbolic crucifixion and how to show sex in the theatre. Drawing parallels between religion and the ritualistic spiritualism of creativity, he spoke with a modesty and humour. He smiled when he learnt I was from London, kindly signed a catalogue and later I joined him for a meal at a local Heuriger in the town.

Vienna Subway

It’s with some sadness that I just heard of the death of Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni at the ripe age of 94. I had the great honour of his blessing and support for my 52 Spaces’ project at the British School at Rome in 2002. This work uses sounds of the city of Rome and elements of his movie L’Eclisse (1962) to create a soundtrack of an image of a city suspended in time, anonymous and surreal. The result is a distilled narrative of seductive conversation, musical fragments and city soundscapes. I will be performing this in Moscow later this month and dedicate this night to him. Presumably Ingmar Bergman was waiting for him in cinematic heaven, since he passed away only less than 24 hours previously.

I’m off out around the globe again in August. I’m working over in Lyon developing a major theatre production based around the film Kirikou. We’ve already confirmed 100+ shows in Paris and elsewhere so it’s shaping up for a busy year in all. Then it’s off to Moscow for the Linoleum Festival at the Moscow museum of Modern Art, to the beautiful Les Brigittines chapel in Brussels for an opening called ‘Strange Boutique’ with Regis Cotentin and Transcultures, then over to Dresden for the outdoor ‘Electronic Garden’ performances, and closing the month at the Punkt Festival in Denmark, collaborating with American artist David Rothenberg on a live remix.

Back to my suitcase, as always

Best wishes


::: listen :::
Burial: Ghost Hardware (Hyperdub)
Justice: Cross (Vice)
Beirut: Gulag Orkestar (4AD)
Pan Sonic: Katodivaihe (Blast First)

::: read :::
Nicholson Baker: Checkpoint (Vintage)
John Gregory Dunne: Regards (Thunders Mouth)
Ilf & Petrov’s American Road Trip (Cabinet)
Doug Aitken: Broken Screen (d.a.p)

::: film:::
The Simpsons: Movie, David Silverman, USA
Welcome to L.A, Alan Rudolph, USA
Taxidermia, Gyorgy Palfi, Hungary
The Odd Couple, Gene Saks, USA

::: diary dates :::
18 August-Electronic Garden Dresden Germany
20 August-Chapelle des Brigittines Brussels Belgium
25 August-Electronic Garden Dresden Germany
31 August-Duet with David Rothenberg Kristiansand Norway
7 Sept-Raconteur with David Toop+Steve Beresford Tate Britain London
15 Sept-Light Turned Down with D-Fuse BFI London
28 Sept-Night Haunts book launch City Hall London
04 + 06 Oct-Switch ballet Brussels Belgium
06 Oct-Githead La Laiterie Strasborg France
26 Oct-Museum of Garden History London
03 Nov-Blindscape with TeZ La Casa Encendida Spain
10 Nov-William S Burroughs event Paradiso Amsterdam
24 Nov-Blindscape with TeZ at STRP Festival Eindhoven Holland
01 Dec-Switch ballet Porto Portugal
19 + 20 Dec-Switch ballet Creteil Paris France

16 Feb-Night Haunts Stockholm Sweden




Museumsquartier Vienna Austria
Daily 10.00-20.00

22 July - 31 October

This sound installation explores an idea of the ensemble voice. Traditional choirs use a series of voices to compliment each other in an elegant formation, but here you listen to the singular voice of the artist in a choral manner. Using breaths and pauses within the piece to echo around this open location, the work suggests a collision between physical space and the human voice.

Klusterblock, a playful amalgam of German/English, suggests the use of the voice as a wall of sound, leaving subtle traces of the human, embedding the walls with harmonies of an imaginary nature.


Night Haunts

By Sukhdev Sandhu
Design Mind Unit
Sound Design Scanner

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.
An exposition about the reactivation of the paranormal in contemporary art, especially the recurring interest of artists in forms of possible communication with "other worlds" via electronic media. Scanner presents 'Breakthrough,' a work that uses recordings from highly amplified recordings of empty haunted spaces, to demonstrate the redundant and undesired flotsam and jetsam of environmental acoustic space, and the 'ghosts' of our natural world.


Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
Artangel Interaction

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 presents 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. Now featuring remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.