November 2011


Every month I seem to be reviewing my time whilst in transit, this time on Eurostar returning from Paris and with a busy month ahead of many more travel adventures.

An elaborate game

October began on a scale that could not be anticipated with the premiere of SOON in collaboration with Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, our outdoor work as part of Nuit Blanche that became a monster far beyond our expectations. Lighting up the financial district with strobes, smoke machines, searchlights and an epic score, literally thousands of people passed through until dawn, stood in awe and at one point held hands around the fountain, staring ominously at the sky as the sound of helicopters hovered above whilst some people were even drawn to literally throwing themselves into the icy waters.

Constant Tweets through the night recorded the drama, disclaiming ‘the panoptican-like Soon was awe-inspiring, rattling and epic…like a scene out of Cloverfield, as if you were in some kind of sci-fi movie…exceeded expectation, and things DID happen, soon enough.” For me it was eloquently summed up in the words of the three year old daughter of a friend who confidently told me ‘don’t worry Robin there are no aliens here.’ How perfectly reassuring.Youtube links capture something of the spirit.

Briefly back to the UK and then over to New York City to install and premiere ORIGIN with United Visual Artists as part of The Creators Project. Following on from our previous collaborations in Lyon, Sao Paulo and Beijing this year, this new work was presented as a gigantic monolith, an expansive ten metre square cube that occupied its very own space over in Dumbo, Brooklyn NY.  Like its predecessors, Origin was concerned with using technology to create a sense of presence, thereby provoking an emotional encounter with those brave enough to submit to its embrace.

And indeed brave they turned out to be over the ten-day duration of the installation, when countless spectators remained inside the cube, marveling at the light/sound interaction that followed a trajectory that constantly re-invented itself. Countless videos of the work can be found online now, as it seemed that everyone held a smart phone in the air documenting the alternating moods of the piece.

Equally startling was the flow of well-known visitors who passed through, including Debbie Harry, Spike Jonze, David Byrne, Jim Jarmusch and even apparently Jay Z and Beyonce, but not having seen the latter celebrity couple I believe that a constantly present Hummer vehicle could easily have held these stars behind dimmed out glass windows.

Accompanying our installation were extraordinary installation works by Jonathan Glazer, Mick Rock and David Bowie in Barney Clay's dizzying re-edit of Life on Mars, as well as live performances by Florence and the Machine, Atlas Sound and Justice who pounded out their French Discothèque sounds into the night air beside Origin, an unforgettably outlandish experience that could only have ended as it did, closed down by the local Police force for noise concerns Whoever said that rock ‘n roll was dead?

The wrecked sun founders

This month Creative Review magazine will feature INTO THE FRAY, my new collaboration with hybrid creative agency Rosie Lee. High-end art direction and creative marketing executions around sport have featured in many Rosie Lee projects over the years so to coincide with and celebrate the 2011 Rugby World Cup we embarked upon a creative exploration of rugby from an up-close and personal, players point of view.
Our concept came from wanting to visualise the power and strength of rugby players, and freeze-frame it. In the past we’ve produced many shots of athletes moving at full speed, but we hadn’t before captured a sense of power or intensity over a prolonged period of time.

To harness and convey this idea they built a giant, reinforced glass tank, which they crammed rugby players into, every corner and every bit of space filled with their muscle and sinew. Then art photographer John Ross captured a series of stylized images with different executions for single and multiple players, Dominic Leung and Nick Wood filmed the shoot to produce a short video file and I scored this intensely atmospheric work.

The final film can currently be seen HERE and in just the first week has been viewed over 19,000 times so it’s clear that squeezing six naked men into a giant glass tank in the name of art never caused any harm to anyone  :-D


Jochen Arbeit of Einstürzende Neubauten and I have finally finished up editing recordings of our live performances over the last year from London, Munich and Ghent and combined them into one compacted hour of noisy guitar and electronic dubbed out adventures. We intend to release this in early 2012 on CD and vinyl, as well as give away the remaining material that never made it to the finished album. In the interim, since so many people continue to ask about this release, you have the opportunity to listen and download Jochen’s Mixtape for The Quietus, that features unreleased material for us as well as recordings of his skateboarding son!

Now time for some reading suggestions. Given my origins of scanning phone calls back in the early 1990s it might be of interest to read a feature on Phone Hacking in the heady world of Info-Security magazine, that questions whether operators have really closed all the loopholes that let snoopers intercept the communications of others.

A stilled watchfulness

Here is an extensive conversational interview, conducted whilst over in New York City for The Creators Project, captured in a super busy office as I speedily rant and try to compress and related many of the current adventures I’m involved in, in a fairly light and brisk manner but it makes for hearty breakfast or supper reading.

You still have time to download and listen back to a documentary on RTÉ Radio in Ireland that recently used my work alongside Brian Eno to accompany and intriguing documentary on identity fraud. Entitled I Can Tell by Looking at You It’s the story of how little looks count, of an Irish woman who gets mixed up in an identity fraud that leads to huge sums of money being internationally laundered.

In late 2010 I scored the documentary film A.Visualist, which attempted to capture the culture of contemporary digital visual performances around the globe. This journey begins in Tokyo Japan and then sweeps across the world, drawing in all manner of figures including Alva Noto/Carsten Nicolai, DJ Spooky and D-Fuse. As a gesture of good will and the nature o social engagement with this work it is now available to view online in full Vimeo.

My work and interests tend to slip between the cracks of different genres and ideas, so it’s good to report that later this month I’ll be chairing a panel as part of the annual onedotzero digital arts festival in London at the BFI on Saturday 26 November. This will be a panel and showcase exploring the idea of visual sound, traversing the experimental terrain between sound, space, image and form in new media, performance and art installation. Invited guests include audio-visual artist Quayola, Nick Ryan [Papa Sangre, Fragmented Ochestra] and Fred Deakin [Lemon Jelly / Airside], which looks set to be an unquestionably eclectic evening.

Measuring the stone with the span of my hand

November will take me across the globe again for some very unique encounters, beginning in Berlin. I’m exhibiting a series of my photographic works as part of Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em at Kunstraum Kreuzberg, alongside artworks by David Blandy, Sophie Clements, Die Tödliche Doris, Eno Henze, Khan, Arto Lindsay amongst others, opening on 4 November. The following night, 5 November I will be performing aboard The Partyloader, a sculptural object by Matthias Mayer, at WestGermany, Buro fur Post-Postmodern Kommuikation. This night will also feature Max Hattler, Noriko Okaku and a rare performance from Oni Ahym, otherwise familiar as Olof Dreijer of celebrated duo The Knife. He lives and works in Berlin and Stockholm and it's important for him that in public Oni has no sex and no nationality. Now that’s intriguing!

Then I’m exchanging thermals for sunglasses to visit Buenos Aires for Rain of Spider Over The Riachuelo, a project initiated by artist and curator Sigismond de Vajay as part of Museum Night. This utterly unique performance will take place beneath an old bridge of the Boca Neighbourhood on a floating stage on the water, mixing classical with electronic sounds since I will be working with local classical musicians for my show. With an anticipated 100,000 spectators set to experience this night, an additional live set from Biosphere, falling chandeliers and giant wind chimes, this looks set to be a enchanted transcendent experience.

Closing the month I’ll be returning to Paris for a film concert at Fondation Cartier, which I premiered at Le Fresnoy earlier this year. EntitledToute la mémoire du monde / Le Chant du styrène it features two early short films by celebrated French film director Alain Resnais that he very kindly gave me permission to rescore, abstractly narrative works that sweep gloriously between the real and the imagined.

So a month that begins and ends with high French culture on a Eurostar train.

Until next month

Robin Van Rimbaud
Professor Scanner

Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) 42

::: listen :::
Andy Stott: We Stay Together (Modern Love)
Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump (Deluxe Edition) (Universal)
Justice: Audio, Video, Disco (Because Music)
Apparat: The Devil’s Walk (Mute)

::: read :::
Flogging a Dead Horse: Chapman Bros (Rizzoli)
Gerhard Richter: Panorama (Tate)
John Cheever: Falconer (Vintage)
Jonathan Keates: The Portable Paradise  (Nottinghill)

::: film:::
Melancholia, Lars Von Trier, Denmark
Contagion, Steven Soderbergh, USA
The Ides of March, George Clooney, USA
We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay, UK


Secret and Uncanny Presence in Media, Art and Pop 

Kunstverein Medienturm
Graz Austria 
25 September - 17 December 2011 

For as long media have been in existence, people have believed that these media maintain a special connection to the beyond. Pursuing a cross-section of different media, the exhibition Hauntings – Ghost Box Media is dedicated to various reverberating effects in art. Scanner will be showing a new adaptation of his work with American artist Mike Kelley, Esprits de Paris. 

With Yto Barrada, BIT Bureau of Inverse Technology, Minerva Cuevas, Leif Elggren, Michael Esposito/Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Julian House, Mike Kelley/Scanner, Jakob Kolding, The Otolith Group, Walid Raad, Dr. Konstantin Raudive, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and others.

Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em

Kunstraum Kreuzberg
Berlin Germany

04 November - 15 January 2012

How far are visual artists influenced by current music, and in what ways are musicians bound up with visual culture? The exhibition sets up a literal relation between a Eric B & Rakim song title and visual art—and the lives of artists and their works. Initiator Matthias Mayer has put together the exhibition with works from fellow travelers and significant protagonists whose works oscillate on the border between music and visual art.

Scanner will be showing a series of photos as well performing live on 5 November

With Oni Ayhun/Mar Ritt, David Blandy, Sophie Clements, Die Todliche Doris, Ingo Gerken/Matthias Meyer, Hellmut Hattler, Max Hattler, Eno Henze, Khan, Franziska Lantz, Julia Lazarus, Arto Lindsay, Matthias Mayer, Noriko Okaku Marc Schamuthe, Theodor Storm, Veronika Schumacher, Michael Witte, Ina Wudtke and others.

Breath Taking
Revealing a new wave in British glass blowing

Wrexham Art Gallery: 02 Dec – 28 Jan 2011/12

The new Crafts Council touring exhibition Breath Taking presents cutting-edge work in blown glass, by 22 UK makers. Through their creative use of glass-blowing techniques these makers ask us to consider the medium ’s possibilities for new ways of expression.

Sing in Sand and Roar in Furnace Fire from Neil Wissink on Vimeo.

Scanner collaborated with filmmaker Neil Wissink to produce this film which is installed in each gallery, based on recordings of the Stuart Hearn glassblowing studio in London.
Choreography: Matthias Sperling
Dancers: Matthias Sperling and Robin Dingemans

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. Additionally it features remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.