Welcome to 2009, the International Year of Astromony, The Year of Natural Fibres and Chinese Year of the Ox (though it’s currently year 4707 in the Chinese calendar) and a chance for reform, refreshment and restarting.
With the economic decline apparent around the globe, December was a sombre month for many and I spent much of my time away from it all in Madeira and Tel Aviv, mixing up work and thinking time to find new ways forward for 2009. The Madeira Dig Festival was extraordinary, set in a remote area of the island, with performances in Casa das Mudas Art Centre in the picturesque village of Calheta. In such outstanding surroundings it was amazing to share time and stage with the likes of Cluster, Oval, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Philip Jeck and Portuguese artists Nuno Rebelo, Vitor Joaquim & Hugo Olim.
My security adventures of recent months and visa medical examinations simply paled in comparison to my adventures in traveling to and from Israel, with understandable paranoia, given the intense political fights continuing there. With a Githead live show booked I was stopped at the airport for traveling alone, apparently interpreted as ‘suspicious activity.’ Why am I going to Tel Aviv? What is my mother’s name? Brother’s name? Why do I have a new passport? Why do I travel so much? My hand luggage was then kept for additional screening, as the standard airport security was not sufficient apparently. Two hours later and with only 5 minutes until boarding time I was still awaiting the return of my hand luggage, having already had my fresh sandwich and water x-rayed and screened for explosive materials. Five minutes later with the gates closing I still had no luggage. I was reassured that my wallet, laptop, iPod and all other belongings would be sent on.
Refusing to board without my valuables, security were called, the pilot stepped off for a chat with me, 450 people kept waiting on board whilst I agonized about the whereabouts of my belongings. Finally they arriving, missing my iPod however, but the plane had to leave and so did I. Our show was a massive success at Club Barzilay in Tel Aviv, with the warmest reception imaginable, but in true rock and roll style I had to run off stage directly into a taxi to the airport to catch a flight to London at 03.30 a.m, another flight to Venice, then a four hour late night drive to Ljubljana to perform The Nature of Being with Olga Mink at former adult cinema KInodvor, in an apt plush red velvet seated auditorium.
Footage of our previous performance at Image Radio in Eindhoven, NL, can be seen online, whilst our most recent film collaboration can be seen online. Commisioned by Schatten van Brabant, Brabantstad simulates a rollercoaster ride through 5 cities in full speed, using over 5000 still photographs, in Noord-Brabant in The Netherlands, with an original soundtrack that mirrors and compliments the fast paced images.
Two years ago the London based writer Sukhev Sandhu and myself collaborated on Night Haunts, a journey through the nights of London, offering up a lyrical and hallucinatory exploration and exposition of the innermost workings of the city at night. We recently created a new audio work for InsideOut: a Psyche and its Geography, a new CD curated by Andrew Kötting, for Sonic Arts Network. A celebrated experimental film maker and artist, Kötting has created a publication that reflects a shifting, amorphous structure that unites work from poets, artists, friends and family. Our exclusive work be heard balanced between works by Ansuman Biswas, Band of Holy Joy, Max Richter, Jem Finer and others.
And from the present into the future with Futuresound, an intelligent sound that listens, adapts and evolves. FutureSound is a radically different approach to acoustic architecture – the shaping of your sound environment – that puts the user at the centre of an entirely new acoustic experience. FutureSound creates a controlled sound ‘bubble’ that reacts to your own personal environment, enabling you to selectively mask noise, whilst still retaining a connection to what’s happening around you. Last year I was invited alongside artists David Toop and Paul Weir to create sound environments for this software that is now available for the iPhone and iPod.
It uses a series of algorithms to unleash the power of the iPod to transform your world. Sounds evolve, literally, creating a complex soundscape that is ever-changing. The sound reacts to external audio stimuli, acting to partially mask the external world, whilst still maintaining a connection. The music generated listens and adapts to your surroundings, so my whispering voice is distilled into the chaos of traffic noise for example. Even more exciting is that Futuresound will be available as an open composition platform in 2009!
Back to reality this month I’ll be traveling down to Brighton for a rare show in the UK at The Spirit of Gravity, then to Reutlingen Germany for another episode in The Nature of Being, whilst preparing fresh materials for release in early 2009.
Have a safe and positive entry into this new year and I very much look forward to another dynamic year of new friends and travels.
Until next time
::: listen :::
Mark Kozelek: Finally (Caldo Verde)
Fennesz: Black Sea (Touch)
Humcrush: Rest at Worlds End (Rune Grammofon)
Francisco Lopez: TechnoCalyps (Alien8 Recordings)
::: read :::
Francis Bacon monograph (Tate)
Chris Marker: A Farewell to Movies (Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich)
Tim Etchells: The Broken World (Heinemann)
Frankie Poullain: Dancing in the Darkness (Blake)
The Deal, William Macy, USA
Syndromes and a Century, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand
Religulous, Larry Charles, USA
Waitress, Adrienne Shelly, USA
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
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.