‘a resonator-feedback-cello duet for live coder and cellist’
This episode of our digital art journey was part of the xCoAx festival 2016 and took place in one of the rooms of the festival’s main location: a fifteenth-century convent in Bergamo (Italy) that has been completely renovated and transformed into a contemporary and fine art gallery –GAMeC. If you have never heard of xCoAx, they describe it as a space “where computational tools and media meet art and culture”.(xcoax.org) As you give a first look at the corner of the gallery room, you can see two hacked cellos laying on 2 chairs. Before Chris and Alice come in and seat, you can look closer and notice the guitar pickups, cables, pedals, speakers built in the cellos or a computer on top one table on the right side. Once the performers start to play, you can feel the rawness of the instruments at every time that the bow scratch, bounce and slide along the strings. The sound goes to the speakers built in the cello generating a process of feedbacks that resonates through the instrument itself. The nature of the sound is palpable, but at the same time, while listening the interaction and fusion of digital and analogue becomes evident. The experience is that of a clear structure of harmony and balance of the musician, the instrument and the digital technology.
Performed by Chris Kiefer Alice Eldridge [musician-researcher-educators based at the Sussex Humanities Lab/Music Department, University of Sussex]
Supercollider [Neural Oscillator UGen]
Two modified cellos, strung with steel strings
CycFi electroacoustic pick ups
3D printed pickup mounts
Volume pedals, audio mixer, digital audio interface
Where is Opera going? We went to Opera Forward Festival to see what could the Opera of the future look like; where powerful voices meet digital scenographies, librettos meet 3D glasses and smokings and gowns meet black t-shirts and jeans. . You arrive at the Muziekbouw aan’t IJ concert hall, Amsterdam, leave your jacket at the wardrobe, take your libretto, ask for your 3D glasses and you are ready for the new Opera by Michel van der Aa. 3D glasses at an Opera concert?! You may ask. Yes, you read it right. The multidisciplinar composer-director creates internal and external worlds that go beyond or, why not, forward from the voice of the actors and the physicality of the stage combining different media such as classical instruments, explorative electronic music and a 3D film. On stage, we see the singer with her beautiful and powerful voice, a white screen where the 3D film is projected, a table with small objects, which the character will interact with, and a 3D live-camera. From the text and characters by Ingrid Jonker’s “South African” poem, Blank Out introduces us to the tragic story of a lonely woman struggling for the loss of her seven years old son, taking us to the intricacies of her psychological journey. With the dark 3D glasses on, the woman mashes up with the film, the film mashes up with the 3D live-recording, the live-recording mashes up with the music and all that mashes up with the state of mind of the character. In the end all becomes one, the 3D film, the lonely woman, the symbolic objects, the sounds and us with our 3D glasses asking ourselves what is real and what is not. In the end, do we really want an answer?
It is not a new thing for an artist to perform audio and visual at the same time. However, Alois Yang’s work MICRO REALITIES breaks from the usual form of presenting visual materials and brings the physical objects to present. Performing live both on audio and visual. The audio part is controlled by Alois and another artist performs on viewing materials through microscope camera. The source materials are mostly taken from field recordings, natural substances and artificial objects. By using different software to program and design, Alois wants to create unrepeatable and very organic hybrids of audio and visual content which are generated by the interaction through various occasions.
This time, Alois Yang brings his performance into visual artist Ting Cheng’s WHAT’S UP PLANTS exhibition at Stour Space London. Ting’s installations and photography are revealed through a microscope in real time performance. From the projection of the microscopic images, you might not know what you are actually seeing. Throughout this 40 minute-long live set, the sound and visual content is held up by each other. This generative back-and-forth process creates an uncanny and surreal atmosphere when you see the real matters and the projections all at same time.
Another interesting part of this show was seeing how the artist managed her gestures and movement in searching for materials which is part of the visual feedbacks. She exposes these between the screen and audiences, providing visual clues as an invitation to enter this imaginary reality.
Alois’s live performance, consisting of raw materials, composting field recording, the experience blurs reality and digital world and create the imagination when the physical and digital meet.
You would never expect an auditorium and cultural centre run by Jesuit Monks to host a program featuring international known artists in experimental electronic music and audiovisual art; nevertheless, the avant-guard thinking of San Fedele Musica and S/V/N/ (SAVANA) together with such a sound system as the Acusmonium SATOR have created INNER_SPACES, now at its second edition.
This year the festival offers five concerts, from January to May varying from the listening of classics such as De Natura Sonorum by Bernard Parmegiani, to live performances of artist such as Francisco López, Robert Lippon, François Bonnet or Oren Ambarchi and live visuals by Andrew Quinn and Otolab among others. .
the ACUSMONIUM SATOR
The big star of Auditorium San Fedele is, with no doubt, the Acusmonium SATOR. The Milanese concert hall is the only one in Italy equipped with this exclusive sound system, an orchestra composed of 50 speakers that allow the spatialization of sound.
Acusmonium SATOR was designed by Eraldo Bocca and includes different types of amplifier disposed along three concentric lines and a selection of effects that, by two mixers, allow the diffusion of acousmatic and electroacoustic music.
The Acusmonium turns the concert hall in a 3D acoustic environment where the sound builds effects of depth and spatiality, offering a unique listening experience.
Blindfolded, comfortably seated in a theatre armchair, surrounded by one of the best sound systems in Italy: the perfect frame to begin a unique sensorial journey. A reference artist in experimental music, Francisco López prepared a live performance especially thought for Acusmonium SATOR. A journey through the realms of sound, noise and their feeble borders; an impressive soundscaping made of electronic and industrial sounds combined with environmental pitches and natural sounds. Almost silent vibrations follow reverberations of low sounds that, due to the sound spatialization, completely enfold the blind listeners, free to undertake their own, individual trip, together, alone in the dark.