September 2008


Olympic fever has seemingly gripped the UK, anticipating our grand adventures in 2012, whilst I’ve barely caught a sighting of a running shoe or headband, as I’ve been keeping my head down on work. Indeed as I write this I am working on a new film work with artist Olga Mink in the Canary Islands,moving between each of the seven islands, filming each of the seven islands in a work that will be premiered in December 2008 at the 2nd Biennial of the Canary Islands, following an imaginary trail between the islands.


August began in Vienna, researching for the Paraflows 08 show that opens this month at the CAT–Contemporary Art Tower, part of the MAK museum. Themed around an idea of utopia, the show draws on concepts of a possible future, dreams and prognoses, whilst striving to provide a multi-layered examination involving the overwhelming architectonic and historical reality of the venue - the MAK Gegenwartskunstdepot Gefechtsturm Arenbergpark.

Any visitors to Vienna cannot have missed these foreboding ‘Flak Towers’ in the city, the largest of which is half a million cubic metres, weighs several hundred thousand tonnes, and stand more than 55 metres tall. Built during the Second World War to fend off Allied bombers all six of these thuggish buildings survive, dominating the landscape but somehow do not exist as part of ‘official’ Vienna, invisible to tour guides and books. With walls up to three metres thick this warren of corridors and rooms will host a series of artworks that look towards a future and a past. My work Countdown will use uses a multitude of clock recordings, counting the seconds, minutes and hours away until this earthly paradise. Suggestions of violence hover under beneath the surface; the ticking of a clock could also be the ticking of a bomb, echoing attempts at demolishing the towers in the past, moving towards utopia by erasing the past, whilst at the same time offering a positive message of counting down towards utopia. On 16 September I’ll be performing three free live performances inside this fortress too, so any complaints and you’ll be left inside the building!


Many years ago back in the 1980s I was fortunate enough to be able to see a show of American artist Robert Rauschenberg’s prints based on Dante’s Inferno, depicting the horrors of the underworld in unsettlingly graphic terms, images sampled from many sources. Modern in their outlook they also recalled the tumult of Hieronymus Bosch paintings. More recently I had the opportunity of developing a project based around Dante’s Inferno at the invitation of Art and Adventure’s Roger Elsgood and Willi Richards. Originally an idea for a radio piece it rapidly developed into an ambitious theatrical experience with Mr “call me Bob” Rauschenberg himself who gave his enthusiastic support, but sadly due to pressure of work and failing health had to withdraw from the project. With the tragic passing of Bob in May this year, it’s fitting that our adaptation of Dante’s Inferno should now be available as a CD release on CSA Word.

The Inferno is an epic poem of Italian literature, a tale told by Dante as he’s drawn by the spirit of Virgil through the twenty-four circles of Hell. For our adaptation we were privileged to get Corin Redgrave, Alex Jennings, American artist and musician Laurie Anderson and the original God of Fire Arthur Brown to feature in the work, whilst I designed and composed the soundtrack for this anguished adventure. Favorably reviewed already in The Observer newspaper it wrote that:

“This brave venture, presenting Dante's Inferno in 60 minutes, works amazingly well... The eerie background sounds and cacophony of anguished cries and lamentation are truly haunting as Dante does the Grand Tour of sinners' punishments - flung into boiling tar by the Devil, turned into bleeding trees, locked in ice, wrapped in snakes or consumed by unrelievable itching. The Bosch-like cameos of suffering are so visual, the language so vivid, the sounds so atmospheric that I was as relieved as Dante to see that Heavenly Light.”

Ah Hellboy has nothing on us! And in our step towards the Light, proceeds from the sale of this disc go To The Corin Redgrave Threshold Fund, an organisation which helps young actors jump-start their careers.


September is really a month of premieres too. Finally after months of developing Of Air and Ear, a new audiovisual work in collaboration with visual artist Sophie Clements, we can present it to the world at large on 13 September at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. Over three days, Deloitte Ignite will represent a revelatory tour through the senses, with a whole spectrum of experiences to stimulate, tantalise, and inspire. Leading choreographer, Wayne McGregor has curated a programme that will radically challenge peoples’ perceptions not only of themselves, but also of what they can expect to find at the Royal Opera House.

Of Air and Ear is a six-hour installation/performance, using a spectacular playable light sculpture, live percussion by Pete Lockett and a narrative that begins in an immersive womb like state and develops into a full out pumped up propelling theatrical experience. Stay for the duration or choose your times wisely, as each of the three key live sets is unique.

As Composer in Residence at Déda I spent some time recently in Derby developing a series of new projects. This month I’ll be premiering a new composition to accompany the landing of a giant heliosphere in the grounds of Derby Football Club on 20 September to the accompanied cheering and noise of 30,000 football fans. A week later I’ll be taking part in the Derby Feste 2008 from 26-28 September, celebrating both the official opening of the QUAD art centre, a signature building for arts and film, and also the launch of the Cultural Olympiad, a four-year programme of activity running up to the London Olympics in 2012. Gigantic creatures will walk through the streets; enormous creepy crawlies will inch their way across the city and I will soundtrack a series of pyrotechnics in the countdown towards the launch of QUAD, a dramatic and extravagant gesture of celebration.

September will also take me to Bergen Norway for a conference on sonic arts, as well as other superhero adventures, so until next month, wrap up, stay safe and be good.

Until next time

Robin / Scanner


::: listen :::

Hector Zazou & Swara: In the House of Mirrors (Crammed)
GTO: G-Force + London (Brainwashed)
Wolfgang Voigt: Gas (Raster-Noton)
Goldmund: The Malady of Elegance (Type)

::: read :::
John Gregory Dunne: Regards (Thunders Mouth)
Erik Kessels: In Almost Every Picture (Artimo)
Bill Drummond: 17 (Beautiful Books)
Punk-No-One is Innocent (Kunsthalle)

::: film:::
Le Cercle Rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville, France
Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog, USA
Cocaine Cowboys, Billy Corben, USA
Bonny & Clyde, Arthur Penn, USA


Paraflows08 Utopia
CAT–Contemporary Art Tower

11 September - 24 October 2008

The term utopia, 'the non-place', derived from old Greek 'u-', non, and 'tópos',place, denotes a 'nowhere' which is untraceable and therefore projecting all longing into an unreachable beyond. Utopia is therefore an imagination, which is thinkable as an idea, yet is not directly realisable. Paraflows 08 UTOPIA gathers concepts of a possible future, drawing upon perspectives, dreams and prognoses, daring to take a prognostic look at the future. It will strive to provide a multi-layered examination involving the overwhelming architectonic and historical reality of the venue - the MAK Gegenwartskunstdepot Gefechtsturm Arenbergpark.
Scanner presents Countdown, a new audio installation.


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. 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.