December 2008


It’s that festive time approaching, the clock ticking towards the New Year and another opportunity to reflect and analyse that which has passed and prepare for the future.

November was another month of life in a suitcase with trips all. Beginning in Eindhoven with a collaborative performance with filmmaker Olga Mink for Image Radio, it was off to perform in the Energy Museum in Vilnius for World Music Days 2008 Festival, where outside temperatures were enough to leave one watery eyed, with a high of minus 4 degrees Celsius.


Over to Monfalcone for the 20th anniversary of the All Frontiers Festival where I dared to debut my solo guitar set, closing with a warped country number that allegedly had toes tapping and celebrated composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton dancing in the aisles. Then it was directly on to the USA for a week, presenting work at VCU in Richmond Virginia and New York City for some modest retail therapy. Richmond was a delightful place and a chance to engage with Professor Stephen Vitiello’s fine pupils, whilst NYC was a whistle-stop trip to ensure my suitcase was overweight with purchases and my arms several centimetres longer once home.

In connection with my travels I was also recently interviewed for a visa for one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. A stranger encounter with authority I could not imagine. Taking a medical as part of this routine application I was interviewed in detail about my medical history. ‘Do you smoke?’ ‘No’ ‘Do you drink?’ ‘No’ ‘Do you or have you ever taken any form of recreational drugs?’ ‘No’ Oh we shall have to stop the interview here Robin for you need to answer the questions honestly. When I insisted I had been we could continue. ‘Can you read this eye chart across the room’ she asked, pointing to a wall chart about 3 metres away with print of a size that resembled tiny ants forming a revolution in line. I couldn’t read the lowest line, but could happily make out those above. ‘That’s not good enough’ I was told, ‘our nation requires citizens with 20/20 perfect vision.’ I paused for breath.


‘Do you have any artificial limbs? ‘No’ ‘Then please remove your shirt.’ I duly obeyed whilst she prodded my arms and chest. ‘Please remove your trousers.’ I stood up and let them fall to my ankles. ‘Okay I can confirm you have no artificial limbs’ she said confidently as I stood there in my finest knickers. Looking at me, then at her clipboard, then at my underwear, she proceeded to ask me one of the most surreal questions I’ve ever encountered. ‘Robin, would you please confirm your genitalia.’ Clearly I looked slightly bewildered, so she repeated the question, I pulled down my knickers to show her my parts and she nonchantly ticked a box on her form and reassured me by saying ‘I can confirm that you are male.’ It’s so very reassuring. Oh, the wonders of traveling to a land of independence.

Given that it’s that time of the year to round up and review the past 12 months, Artforum magazine in the USA invited me to choose my Music Top Ten for 2008, where I selected everything from Holy Fuck, Wire, Greater than One to Health, Throbbing Gristle and Loris Greaud to sum up my listening and viewing choices. I hope you might find it something interesting to explore.

In the meanwhile whilst fully clothed I just released a tiny 300-edition picture disc seven inch single in a handsome picture sleeve with artist Benge/Wrangler on Static Caravan Records. Twiddling our knobs and switches, whilst caressing our oscillators and event generators led to this double-header release, Two Systems - Music By Modular Synthesisers affectionately bows before Bon Moog, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and White Noise. Both songs were entirely written on the Moog Modular System 3C and the Formant Modular Synthesiser and join the dots between the past and possibly the future.


Since I’m often occupied on a variety of projects that have limited accessibility of terms of actually experiencing the work I wanted to share this link regarding collaboration with designer Di Mainstone this year. Sharewear explores and distorts the seam between home comfort and urban exposure within an idea of fashion, so with the assistance of V2 Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam NL. Ms Mainstone designed a pair of reconfigurable, electronic dresses that physically slot together to activate atmospheric pools of light. Unleashing potential for intimate chance discoveries, they are worn as part of a performance, inviting both wearer and audience to, get close, lean on one another, morph space, manipulate light and cast long shadows. Clicking through the website you can watch films of aspects of this we collaborated on. Strangely surreal and engaging indeed!

December is no quieter than usual. Off to Madeira for the Madeira Dig Festival, to Tel Aviv with Githead to perform at Club Barzilay, and to perform The Nature of Being in MoTA - Museum of Transitory Art in Ljubljana, and of course Christmas and the New Year.

It only remains for me to wish you a peaceful and positive close to the year, and look forward to catching up in 2009.

Robin / Scanner


::: listen :::

Noriko/English/Chantler: U (Room 40)
Alina Orlova: Laukinis Suo Dingo (Metromusic)
Arthur Russell: Love is Overtaking Me (Audika)
Stephen Vitiello with Eighth Blackbird (IEA)

::: read :::
Richard Yates: Revolutionary Road (Vintage)
Stephen Shore: American Surfaces (Phaidon)
David Foster Wallace: The Broom of the System (Penguin)
Robert Bolano: 2666 (FSG)

::: film:::
Innocence, Lucile Hadzihalilovic, France
The Changeling, Clint Eastwood, USA
The Baader Meinhof Complex, Uli Edel, Germany
John Cassavetes DVD Collection box set


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