I have just landed today from the USA, having traveled up the East Coast. Many people today are accustomed to Immigration and Customs at airports but nothing had prepared me for the surreal encounter on entering Philadelphia airport. Standard questions as 'what are you doing in the USA? How long will you stay here? Where are you staying?' were greeted with my standard answers. Nothing could have prepared me for the additional questions from Customs though - with suitcase in hand I handed over my form.
'What would I find in your suitcase if I were to look inside?'
the security guard asked.
'What would I find if I were to search your backpack?'
Then looking me up and down, head to toe, he calmly asked
'So...what are you wearing?'
I was stunned. After a long pause all I could do was sleepily point to myself and mutter '...er...clothes.'. He looked at me again, smiled coolly, and repeated, 'yes but what are you wearing?' pointing at my Vexed Generation outfit. He then told me to move on, leaving me thoroughly bewildered. Are there now fashion restrictions on entering the USA?
A very busy time working with Peregrine Arts over in Philadelphia, installing and premiering The Order of Things project at The Wagner Free Institute, with two live shows using the Latin names of some of the 100,000 objects in the building as a kind of litany and memorial to this extraordinary collection. In addition I performed an adaptation of Gavin Bryars classic 'Sinking of the Titanic' with violinist Todd Reynolds as a prelude to future projects, which proved to be an elegant adventure.
As the snow fell and softly landed so I traveled up to New York City to record a session with clarinetist and writer David Rothenberg for the the legendary John Schaefer show at WNYC. We composed music with recordings of nightingales, grasshoppers, crickets, beluga whales and an orgy of copulating animals! This arousing adventure was then expanded on at a live show at Tonic. We both agreed it was a cheap alternative to Viagra.
I seem to have spent a lot of time working on composing for images recently too - everything from the tv advert to the forthcoming San Francisco International Film Festival, Dead Bird, a new British short film premiering in London in March, and The Games, a short film that constructs a surreal document of a changing city through an alternative Olympics staged on the wasteland of the 2012 Olympic site.
On a grander scale it looks like the promising British horror movie, 'Reverb,' is beginning to make the rounds of festivals. It showed recently at the Berlin EFM festival and so you'll soon be able to experience some unsettling sound design I'm responsible for. Curiously the film is set in a recording studio, with a terrifying voice hidden in the music. Starring Leo Gregory and Eva Birthistle the band try to unravel the truth behind the hidden plea of "help me" on the record, leading them into to a life or death battle with evil. Book the edge of your seat now!
March is a busy month too. Off to Rio Brazil for the Hipersônica Festival alongside Kode 9, and then to Paris for the GRM Festival which is remarkable in that its completely free entry and features performances from Alva Noto, Mouse on Mars, Matmos, Edgard Varese, Blixa Bargeld, The Books and many more.
So to close with another amusing incident. Whilst recently over in Groningen for the bewilderingly entitled conference, European Multiple Choice Identity, I was sitting in my hotel room watching a television documentary when suddenly I recognized some of my music on the soundtrack. Pleasantly surprised I kept watching to see what else they might use, and during the ad break switched channels for a moment, only to discover that they were also were using my music on another channel. Now confused I muted the volume of the television only to discover that in fact 'my music' was the vibrating air-conditioning behind my bed! Ah, the delusions of grandeur.
On that non-note I bid farewell.
Until next time.
::: diary dates :::
01 & 02 March-Faultline with Shobana Jeyasingh Mac Birmingham
06 & 07 March-Faultline with Shobana Jeyasingh QEH London
12 March-Dead Bird-Film Premiere Curzon Soho London
15 March-Riff-Stratford Circus London
17 March -Présences electronique Salle Olivier Messiaen: Paris France
20 March-Faultline with Shobana Jeyasingh Sherman Cardiff Wales
24 March-Hipersônica Festival Rio de Janeiro Brazil
27 March-Plexus/Praxis-Les Ondines Changé France
30 March-Plexus/Praxis-Théâtre la Licorne Cannes France
30 March-Riff-Greenwich Dance Agency London
07 April-Sugar Factory, Amsterdam, Holland
10 April-Cie Illico, soundtrack for dance, Roubaix France
12 April-Future of Sound Queen Mary’s College London
13 April-Live Lenz Teatro Parma Italy
28 April-Open Ears Festival, Kitchener Ontario Canada
05 May-Störung Festival Barcelona Spain
09-12 May-Blindscape at Elektra Festival Montreal Canada
19 May-Shots in the Dark with D-Fuse/Alter Ego, Wroclaw Poland
20 May-Light Turned Down with D-Fuse at Wroclaw Poland
24 May-Slomo:100 Minutes show Radiokulturhaus Wien Austria
02 June-Girona Spain
23 June-Riff Ipswich UK
22 August-Duet with DJ Olive Chapelle des Brigittines Brussels
10 Nov-William S Burroughs event Paradiso Amsterdam
::: exhibitions :::
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 2006-2007. 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.