Recent travels have brought Peter Cusack to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine; the Caspian and other potentially dangerous places. Most are sites of major environmental/ecological damage; others are nuclear sites or the edges of military zones
The Wind Tunnel project filled with site-specific commissions two wind tunnels buildings, known as R52 and Q121, that were built to test planes, from Spitfires to Concorde, from the first world war onwards. These buildings were decommissioned after the 1960s and have remained closed to the public ever since
Darsha Hewitt built a whole installation that exploits the inherent and irritating glitches emitted by vintage baby monitors. The receivers are attached to motors and slowly bow back and forth in front of the emitters, creating a subtle soundscape of nuanced feedback patterns and squelching radio interference reminiscent of the whimpers of crying babies
Inspired by Bell’s patent for the photophone (a kind of telephone that uses light instead of electricity), artist Arcangel Constantini developed the Phonotube which uses fluorescent tubes and strips of leds as light instruments and sound sequencers for audio and visual performances
A thrilling remake of a 1904 experiment in which live trees antennas act as antennas for radio contact. Simple and magical at the same time: the combination of nature and technology. This concept was not developed any further at the time, but now BioArt Laboratories has decided to take up the challenge again
The work of Owl Project goes from simple ironic devices such as the iLog which is a log that thinks it is a music player to large scale installations such as ~Flow which was a floating tidal waterwheel powered electro acoustic musical instrument responding to the river Tyne in Newcastle. Owl Project has also toured festivals and events with their rather ingenious Sound Lathe, a musical instrument based on a traditional green wood turning pole lathe that explores the relationship between the crafting of physical objects and the shaping of sound
There will be live events, an on-line auction and special broadcasts. We really need your help this year but the good news is that Janek Schaefer, Yuri Suzuki, Rie Nakajima and many other exciting performers will party, perform and fund raise with us. Do join!
This brilliant little exhibition considers the connections between craft practice and sound art in the ‘digital age’. Exploring the physicality of sound, the works are characterised by both their sonic properties and materiality
Ototo is an experimental printed circuit board (PCB), which, combining sensors, inputs and touchpads, allows you to easily create your own electronic musical instrument
At the moment of being heard brings together works and performances by a group of international artists, musicians and composers engaging with sound and modes of listening
I had an exchange of emails with Mario De Vega to talk about Thermal, a performance in which he uses microwave ovenss to alter the molecular composition of different materials. The work also uses custom-built hardware to sonify the electromagnetic activity produced by the overheating of the content of the ovens
The event brought together two men who share a passion for whales. One is environmental scientist and marine biologist Mark Peter Simmonds who investigates and raises awareness about an issue that is far away from our sights: the threats to the life of marine mammals caused by the increasing emissions of loud noise under water. The other is artist and inventor Ariel Guzik who has spent the last ten years looking for a way of communicating with cetaceans
Marco Donnarumma is a young performer and sound artist who gained fame across the world for a series of performances and instruments that use open biophysical systems to explore the sonic dimensions of the human body. His interactive instrument Xth Sense won the first prize in the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition and was named the 2012 “world’s most innovative new musical instrument”
Behind its menacing aspect, SPPS considers selectively permeable structures under lenses that range from the molecular level to the macro scale.It explores the (xenophobic) history of immigration in Australia and more generally current infrastructures that define socio-political boundaries. It also looks at the history of biowarfare, from Antique Chinese gunpowder rockets carrying poisonous material to virus injected into chicken eggs
Atau Tanaka is a composer and performer whose practice bridges the fields of media art, experimental music, and research. During the show we will talk about the relationship between art & tech and how it has evolved over the past few years, about reenacting one of John Cage’s performances, about the space and place for (new) media art in the contemporary art world, etc.
Drones / Birds: Princes of Ubiquity taps into the debate of an increasing autonomous technology, connected to machinic vision, the post-human and the New Aesthetic. Core to the exhibition are digital artifacts and instances of the computational or digital in nature. Birds as objects reflecting our contemporary relation with technology
More than 2 years ago, i was interviewing Marguerite Humeau about her attempt to bring back to life the voice of extinct creatures by reconstructing their voice box. She started by giving her voice back to Lucy (aka Australopithecus Afarensis), one of the first hominids. Since then, the resuscitation endeavour has expanded to more extinct animals. A mammoth, the Walking Whale and the Terminator Pig have now joined the loud party. The prehistoric creatures where recently in Eindhoven for the STRP biennial where they performed live for the first time together with Dutch musician and DJ Jameszoo. Sadly, i missed the performance. But that gave me a good excuse to contact Marguerite and get more details about her work
The participating artists not only play with distortions of the “real”, but also pioneer new ways to interact with their work. The formal exploration of new interfaces is as much part of their preoccupation, as is the content of their work, and the kind of commentary on the current state of reality we live in
Very few artists manage to translate scientific phenomena into stunning images as elegantly as Carsten Nicolai. If you’re in London, don’t you dare miss Observatory at Ibid Projects.
The works on show visualise diverse physical occurrences. From the ground floor to the top floor, the installations, videos and photographic pieces investigate phenomena that get further and further away from our daily experience
Three large-scale installations that experiment with scientific phenomena and pay homage to Nikola Tesla. The works can be experienced without mediation but each of them also conveys several layers of meanings and readings, whether you’re intrigued by the technical description or by the sheer beauty of the sparks, lightening bolts, and sonic properties of the works
This week we are talking with Nelly Ben Hayoun about space science technologies, aliens and music. The designer spent a whole Summer in California to direct the International Space Orchestra. The cast of the opera is pretty spectacular. It is performed by space scientists from NASA Ames, Singularity University, International Space University and the SETI Institute. The music was composed by Damon Albarn, Bobby Womack, Maywa Denki and Arthur Jeffes. The lyrics are by Bruce Sterling & Jasmina Tesanovic. Finally, Grammy-Award winner Evan Price was in charge of the musical direction
By reinventing an obsolete low-tech sound wave generator in this all-digital age, Bzzz ! serves as a commentary on the history of technology and a tribute to unprocessed, unsampled analog sound : in a word, the raw sound of electricity
Eye For Ears is an essay on the film and its soundtrack. During the shooting, the sound and the image was recorded separately, and synchronized on the editing. A portrait of the machines, manipulated by their invisible creators
eCLIPSe surveys the creativity of music videos with a selection of the 50 videos that may be considered crucial for a proper appreciation of the discipline. Perhaps there are some missing but all that are included are beyond dispute. The clips are divided into several sections, to be screened in separate projections, starting with a historical overview and continuing with monographs devoted to who we believe to be the most seminal video directors: Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham
I met Signe Lidén over the Summer at the FARM festival where she was performing the sound pieces she had recorded while traveling on a rural train line in Southern Italy.
I had actually come upon the work of this young artist several times in the past. Two years ago, when i visited Bergen for the Piksel festival and back in May when i spent a whole afternoon listening to the sound files and watching the videos collected for the project The Cold Coast Archive: Future Artifacts from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
Being more used to visual arts, i’m fascinated by Signe Lidén’s work, by the way uses field recordings to evoke and communicate the places and spaces she investigates.
My guest on the show is Dr. Jonah Brucker-Cohen whom i’m sure you all know. Jonah is a researcher, artist, and writer. Apart from his work as an artist, Jonah has been teaching in several universities in New York, lecturing internationally, writing essays for magazines focusing on technology and since he is teaching a course called Designing Critical Networks at Parsons in New york, i thought he’d be the perfect guest for a program which covers issues such as social media, subverting network experience, hacking, and internet censorship. We also took the time to focus on some of his own works, from the now legendary Wifi Liberator to Scrapyard Challenge Jr. 555 Noisemaker Kit and America’s Got No Talent
This year’s edition of the FutureEverything festival in Manchester brought a well-known and much discussed phenomenon to the fore: participatory culture. From Wikileaks to Iceland’s crowd-sourced constitution, to the Arab Spring, participatory technologies have demonstrated their powerful political potential. The world of culture is harnessing the same connected energies with projects that involve citizen scientists cataloging celestial bodies in the Milky Way galaxy, crowd-curated photo exhibitions and of course the many projects created by artists and designers who either directly use collective action or bring it under a new light
The guest of today’s edition of #A.I.L. (Artists in Laboratories) is Richard Pell, the founder and director of The Center for Postnatural History in Pittsburgh, the first museum that seeks to research, document and exhibit man-made biological systems. I interviewed him on the blog last year as he had just opened the museum and the radio show looks at how the center’s doing right now, its challenges, its projects, the spider silk-producing goats and the english bull terrier
The first episode of the radio show about art & science i’m recording for Resonance FM is broadcast today Monday 21 May at 16.30 (London time.) There will be a repeat on Thursday at 22.30. You can catch it online if you don’t live in London.
This week i’m talking with the lovely and lively Anna Dumitriu, visual artist and respected founder and director of The Institute of Unnecessary Research
On Friday at 4pm, set your radio to 104.4fm if you live in London and your browser to http://resonancefm.com/ if you don’t. That’s when the pilot for programme i’ve recently recorded for Resonance104.4fm, London’s edgy, radical, art radio is going to be aired. The focus of the programme is art & science/technology.
Critical designers Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen were kind and kamikaze enough to join me in the studio for the first episode. We’ve discussed topics as diverse as the beauty of life support machines, pigeons that poop soap, using design to infiltrate synthetic biology, collaborating with scientists and communicating the complexities of a projects that explores critically the impact of science on society
The exhibition focuses on the convergence of electronic sound creation and visual arts. Some works give a graphic, architectural and physical presence to sound, others reveal the sound produced by physical objects we’d otherwise regard as perfectly silent
It took me longer than most to discover the work of Anri Sala but once i looked into it, i started seeing his work everywhere. A few months ago, i was invited to the Absolut Art Award in Stockholm to see some of his videos, attend a screening with popcorn of 1395 Days without Red and interview the artist. A few weeks after, Anri Sala had a solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The show is now closed. I’ve waited far too long to write about Anri Sala’s work
The exhibition is divided into 4 sections that sometimes intertwine and overlap. I’ve already explored the chapter about artists in the laboratory. Here’s my notes on the artists who leave the lab to explore nature and on those who are looking for alternative uses of existing technology
While worn, exposure to the noise is structured through a sequence designated by a composer which controls the behavior of the sound-prevention valves. The composer also determines what values are adjustable by the listener through the single knob built into the device. The headphones mechanically create a personal listening experience by composing noise from the listener’s environment, rendering it differently familiar
The Oramics Machine is a revolutionary music synthesiser that was created in the 1960s by Daphne Oram. Daphne had a strong passion for sound and electronics, and she created a visionary machine that could transform drawings into sound.
Long thought lost, the machine was recently recovered and added to the Science Museum’s collections in co-operation with Goldsmiths, University of London
If you happen to be in or around Sao Paulo this Summer don’t miss FILE, the Electronic Language International Festival that takes place at the FIESP Cultural Center and all over the Avenida Paulista till late August. And because FILE makes it its duty to attract the general public and not just the art&tech aficionados, the event is not only free but also packed with surprising installations, games, videos and events
This exhibition brings together 3 pioneers of sound art, Max Eastley, Takehisa Kosugi and Walter Marchetti. Each artist has developed a distinct approach to the problem of representing immateriality, while sharing a lightness of touch, approaching sound with patience, restraint and fidelity. As well as presenting new and historic work, the exhibition features live performance, and material from the artists’ archives
I had never heard of Laurent Montaron before last week. I was preparing a trip to Paris and going through the list of exhibitions open when i stumbled upon a small photo of a Catholic saint and, more interestingly, a press release that mentioned the artist’s interest in the history of media from the appearance of mechanical modes of representation in the late 19th century up to today’s different digital forms
The piece currently on view in Florence is directly inspired by early prototypes of sound weapons. As the artist explained: I found a series of very suggestive images of some real “sound armies” set up by the Japanese army during the Second World War. They were like guns pointing to the sky, conceived for shooting down planes by using particular airwaves. Unlike current acoustic weapons, which are real weapons, those first prototypes have never been activated. Those images fascinated me a lot. This work probably still recalls these suggestions. It is a structure that juts out a lot from the wall, overhanging and conveying a sort of dangerousness. It produces a deep guttural sound and can be “exhibited” in every sense, both from a spatial and a sound viewpoint
Jerram’s interest in perception takes many forms: a kinetic sound installation controlled by the movements of the Moon and Sun, a miracle toaster, an engagement ring etched with a sound message that can be played back with a miniature record player, street pianos left for the public to play, etc. His most spectacular exploration of perception is Sky Orchestra, a series of performances in which hot air balloons fly over a city at dawn and broadcast music designed to turn the dreams of the sleeping public into an artistic experience. There is a lot to like and write about in his portfolio but i’ll just focus on two of his most recent projects: Glass Microbiology and Aeolus – Acoustic Wind Pavilion