Given that so much of my life is spent in transit I must admit to feeling remarkably fortunate in the last weeks to have remained in the UK, especially since that giant plume of ash and smoke made its away across Europe, suspending both airspace and time for many people, all by the most unpronounceable of all beings, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
It has been a month spent in the studio working on a host of projects, which will all see the light of day in the next two years. Everything from arranging and recomposing the Post-Modern Jazz Quartet, traditional English music from Elgar to Taverner, soundtracks for short films about aliens, war bunkers and the loneliness of dystopian urban landscapes and incidental sound have occupied my schedule, in between meetings, greetings and encounters.
I performed my variation on the original score for the 1920 film production of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the UK at the Ether Festival recently which was received very positively, though a more surreal encounter I could not imagine. During the first fifteen minutes of this tense cinematic horror story, spoken voices could clearly be heard over the speaker system, breaking their way into the musical accompaniment I was providing. Unable to decipher what was happening I pulled down the faders on my mixing desk only to hear live football commentary broadcast to everyone. An evil villainous glare at the technicians at the back of the hall wearing headphones was enough for them to realize the error of their ways and proceedings were rapidly returned to normal.
If April may have seemed slightly homeward bound, May more than balances this out. I am directly back to Le Fresnoy art school in Tourcoing as Professor Scanner to work with students and my own project that will premiere next month on 04 June. Pianist Joanna MacGregor and I will then perform together as part of UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica at LSO St Luke’s Church in London on 05 May, in a live, improvised collaboration around Bach chorales, concertos, and arias, in an entirely visionary and original way. Now director of Bath International Music Festival, Joanna has performed solo and with major orchestras in over seventy countries, made over thirty recordings and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Nitin Sawhney, Dhafer Youssef, Andy Sheppard and Brian Eno.
Remarkably still in the UK I will be performing a rare show of Warhol’s Surfaces, taking interview material with Andy Warhol from the early 1970s as the starting point for a soundtrack which attempts to take something very ordinary and make it extraordinary, it will be a live variation on the 2003 CD release of the same name, with Warhol oriented visuals. The show takes place at Weston Auditorium de Havilland Campus University of Hertfordshire on 14 May so hope some of you might join me there.
In between further Eurostar train trips I will again perform a solo show at The Firestation in Windsor Berks UK on 22 May. It is said that happiness is sliding down a fireman’s pole so this will be a microscopic symphonic evening of sound and visuals. Continuing this UK theme I’ll also be performing new work in Plymouth at The Hippo on 25 May alongside many new student works.
Closing the month is the opening of the exhibition Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs at iMT Gallery London. Dead Fingers Talk is an ambitious show presenting two unreleased tape experiments by William Burroughs from the mid 1960s alongside responses by 23 artists, musicians, writers, composers and curators.
Few writers have exerted as great an influence over such a diverse range of art forms as William Burroughs. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine and Junky, continues to be regularly referenced in music, visual art, sound art, film, web-based practice and literature. One typically overlooked, yet critically important, manifestation of his radical ideas about manipulation, technology and society is found in his extensive experiments with tape recorders in the 1960s and ’70s. Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs is the first exhibition to truly demonstrate the diversity of resonance in the arts of Burroughs’ theories of sound. The show will feature a work I created based upon the commission Let the Voice In premiered at Paradiso Amsterdam in 2007.
‘Oops Wrong Planet, ‘my collaboration with Belgian filmmaker Anouk De Clercq will travel to Antwerp for the exhibition Correspondence (20 May-08 August), originally shown at Lux in London in 2008. This collective exhibition by Auguste Orts came about on the basis of the frequent letters the four members exchanged about their work and contains installations by each artist . A score to the original show sourced from many of the original film soundtracks and combined, processed and woven into a completely new work is available.
May brings with it my birthday, on the 146th day of the year and gloriously shared with Lenny Kravitz, Pam Grier and Helena Bonham Carter and an array of creative friends closer to home too, so have a peaceful month and raise a glass in celebration to us all.
Until next month
::: listen :::
Rufus Wainwright: All Days are Nights (Polydor)
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp)
Jim O’Rouke: All Kinds of People Love Burt Bacharach (AWDR)
T++: Wireless (Honest Jon’s)
::: read :::
Susan Gevirtz: Aerodrome Orion (Kelsey Street Press)
Van Doesburg: Constructing a New World (Tate)
Robert Lowell: Day by Day (Faber)
Ben Johnson: Three Comedies (Penguin)
Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau, USA
The Third Part of the Night, Andrzej Zulawski, Poland
The Ghost, Roman Polanski, France
A guide to Recognising Your Saints, Dito Montiel, USA
Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs
iMT Gallery London
28 May – 18 July 2010
Dead Fingers Talk is an ambitious forthcoming exhibition presenting two unreleased tape experiments by William Burroughs from the mid 1960s alongside responses by 23 artists, musicians, writers, composers and curators.
Few writers have exerted as great an influence over such a diverse range of art forms as William Burroughs. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine and Junky, continues to be regularly referenced in music, visual art, sound art, film, web-based practice and literature. One typically overlooked, yet critically important, manifestation of his radical ideas about manipulation, technology and society is found in his extensive experiments with tape recorders in the 1960s and ’70s. Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs is the first exhibition to truly demonstrate the diversity of resonance in the arts of Burroughs’ theories of sound.
The exhibition includes work by Alma/Joe Ambrose, Steve Aylett, Lawrence English, The Human Separation, Cathy Lane, Eduardo Navas, Negativland, o.blaat, Aki Onda, Jörg Piringer, Scanner, Terre Thaemlitz, Thomson & Craighead, Laureana Toledo and Ultra-red.
‘Awake Are Only the Spirits’ - On Ghosts and Their Media
Centre of Contemporary Art
26 March – 31 May 2010
The exhibition ‘Awake Are Only the Spirits’ – On Ghosts and Their
Media is dedicated to a topic that appears, at first glance, timeless: it involves the presence of the supernatural – the appearance of ghosts and (trans-)communication with ‘the beyond’ facilitated by technical media.
The exhibition shows 22 international artistic positions questioning the existence of ghosts, exploring the integration of new media and technologies in spiritualist contexts, investigating the making-visible or making-perceptible of the invisible, and tracing the political implications as well as the aesthetics of such contemporary trans-communication phenomena. Artists include Lucas & Jason Ajemian, Sam Ashley, Kathrin Günter, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Tim Hecker, Susan Hiller, Chris Marker and Scanner.
The Black Cabinet Surveillance and Resistance
Post & Tele Museum
09 October 2009 - 24 October 2010
Exhibition exploring a historical look at phone technology and developments. Scanner is presenting early examples of his controversial scanned mobile telephone calls from the 1990s.
Post & Tele Museum
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. Additionally it features remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.