Panel 1: New Forms. Sat. 12th Dec 2020
In this panel discussion, we looked at new and emerging aesthetics in audiovisual practice that defy existing genre categorisation, new ways of working and new audiences. Chair – Joseph Hyde
Sophia is a composer, author and multidisciplinary artist who operates at the intersection of contemporary electronic music, speculative fiction and the ecological. She is currently the course leader for BA (Hons) Electronic Music Production at the British & Irish Institute of Modern Music in Bristol, and is undertaking an AHRC funded PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London.
The first output of her doctoral research Untold has recently been released and published by the widely celebrated independent label Houndstooth Records. Untold is a multidisciplinary work of sonic fiction that includes a collection of poetry with accompanying sonic landscape, an LP of contemporary electronic music, an audio-visual and a media work. These forms combine to imagine a series of speculative sentient landscapes that re-interpret complex geological formations and their entangled states of existence, highlighting the deep connections between living systems, technological developments and earthly flows.
Sophia has previously released three contemporary electronic LP’s Irregular Territories (2018) on Berlin-based label Cosmo Rhythmatic, Singulacra (2016) on US label Kathexis and Chrysalis (2014) on London-based label Astro:Dynamics. Her club and audio-visual performances have been presented across the UK and Europe and her work has been broadcast internationally. She also hosts a monthly radio show on Bristols swu.fm, which she uses as a platform for emerging sonic practices connected to her doctoral research.
Marcel Weber is a visual artist who works with imagery, light and space. He has been directing and producing audiovisual performances, stage designs, video works and installations since 2001.
Marcel Weber is a resident visual artist for several event series focused on the exploration of experimental music in Berlin and internationally. He is part of Berlin’s Atonal festival team as director for lights and visuals and a long time collaborator of Unsound festival. His performances and installations have been commissioned and featured by many highly regarded festivals, such as CTM and Transmediale (Berlin), Mutek (Montreal), Unsound (Krakow, Adelaide, Toronto) and Atonal and have been shown at renown venues like the British Film Institute, Barbican, Centre Pompidou, and CERN as well as numerous institutions and events across Europe, USA and Australia. Recent projects of note include collaborations with film composers such as Ben Frost, Roly Porter and Jed Kurzel, sound artists like Tim Hecker, Lustmore & Biosphere and musicians like Stars of the Lid, Kara-Lis Coverdale and Liz Harris (Grouper).
Employing new and old media forms equally, Weber interfaces the 70’s effects workshop with the digital realm, using analogue projectors, film, lenses and mirrors, paint and chemicals alongside digital compositing and generative software. The outcome is a multi-layered experience communicated by dynamic imagery: a cosmos made of pictures, textures and distortions, a magical sensation of surreal moments, stimuli for the subconscious.
Tadej Droljc is a Slovenian artist and creative coder who works at the intersection of sound, image and light.
For his work Tadej was awarded the Lumen Prize Student Award, Dennis Smalley scholarship in electroacoustic music and he won the most promising Video Artist prize at Madatac. His practice based doctoral research was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for an outstanding thesis at the Centre for Research in New Music. A work from his collaborative project Synspecies won the Edigma Semibreve award and was shortlisted for the Lumen Prize in category moving image.
Tadej performed and exhibited at festivals such as Ars Electronica, Paris Biennale NEMO, L.E.V., Brighton Digital Festival, Semibreve, Sonica Glasgow, Lunchmeat, Node etc. As part of his collaboration with Ars Electronica’s Future Lab on project Immersify his works were also presented at events like Inter BEE Tokyo, IBC Amsterdam or Marché du film – Festival de Cannes.
photo: Dita Havrankova/Lunchmeatfestival
Thor Magnusson is a Professor in Future Music at the University of Sussex. His work focusses on the impact of digital technologies on musical creativity, explored equally through practice (software development, composition, performance), theory (publications, lecturing, talks) and education (teaching, workshops, tutorials). Magnusson’s research is underpinned by the philosophy of technology and cognitive science, exploring issues of embodiment and compositional constraints in digital musical systems as practiced by musicians in concrete situations. He is the co-founder of ixi audio (www.ixi-audio.net) and he has developed audio software and systems of generative music composition, written computer music tutorials, and created three musical live coding environments.
Magnusson was recently appointed as Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow on a project that involved organising conferences and symposia on new musical technologies (see www.sonicwriting.org). This work culminated in a monograph called Sonic Writing: The Technologies of Material, Symbolic and Signal Inscriptions, published by Bloomsbury Academic. By exploring how contemporary music technologies trace their ancestry to previous forms of instruments and media, including symbolic musical notation, the book builds theoretical foundations for the study of creative AI and machine learning in future music.
Current research involves developing machine learning for creative coding as part of the MIMIC project (www.mimicproject.com), of which the Sussex team has recently launched the Sema system (www.sema.codes) for developing new live coding languages for machine learning. Magnusson is also member of the international TENOR resarch network (https://tenor-network.org) that explores new technologies for musical notation and representation. He sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Digital Media and Performance Arts and is on the organistional committee of conferences such as International Conference on Live Interfaces, International Conference on Live Coding and xCoAx.
Magnusson has presented work and performed at various festivals and conferences, such as Transmediale, Ars Electronica, Ertz, Darmstadt Summer School, Encounters Festival, Dark Music Days, RE:New, Sonar, ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts), ICMC (International Computer Music Conference), NIME Conference (New Interfaces for Musical Expression), Impact festival, Soundwaves, Cybersonica, Ultrasound and Pixelache.
Panel 2: New Hybrids. Sat. 12th Dec 2020
This panel looked at new avenues opened up by interdisciplinary practice, fusing arts, humanities, sciences, engineering, academic and industry approaches. Guest Chair – Margaret Anne Schedel
Robert Henke is a composer, artist and software developer, mainly known for his contributions to electronic music and for his laser works.
His audiovisual installations are based on self written software and explore a fragile balance between determination and chance operations to create complex behaviours and endless variations in expression.
His musical work oscillates between ambient, contemporary music and club. His long term project Monolake became one of the key icons of a new electronic club culture emerging in Berlin after the fall of the Wall.
He is one of the main creators of Ableton Live, a software which became the standard for music production and completely redefined performance of electronic music.
He writes and lectures about the creative use of computers and held teaching positions at CCRMA/Stanford University, at IRCAM, and the Studio National des Arts Contemporains – Le
Fresnoy, in Lille, France.
His works have been presented at Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, Le Lieu Unique in Nantes, PS-1 in New York, MUDAM in Luxembourg, MAK
in Vienna, Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia, KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, STRP Biennale in Eindhoven, and on countless festivals including Unsound, CTM, MUTEK, Sonar, New Forms Festival.
Kelly Snook is a Professor of Media Arts Technology and has a background in aerospace engineering, music production, audio engineering, and data sonification research. She is one of the developers of the mi.mu gloves for gestural control of music and visuals.
She currently serves as Professor of Media Arts Technology at the University of Brighton and holds a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. She spent two decades as a NASA Research Scientist with a focus on Mars and the moon, before turning her attention to music full-time in 2010 when she joined Imogen Heap as her studio manager and musical assistant, subsequently touring with Ariana Grande in 2015 as her mi.mu glove technician.
Her current research project is the development of Concordia, an immersive musical instrument for scientific exploration based on the work of Johannes Kepler, which allows people to experience and play the music of the spheres.
Nick Ryan is a multi-disciplinary artist and composer exploring the use of sound and music to represent information, physical sensation, materiality and place. He is widely recognised as a leading thinker in relation to the future of sound and for creating unique, immersive and highly conceptual audio experiences that push the boundaries of audio.His novel sound installations, bespoke instruments, generative music compositions and interactive audio experiences explore ways of representing information, language, story and perception solely through the act of listening. Nick is the recipient of a BAFTA for Technical Innovation, a Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel for sound editing and is currently an artist in residence at Somerset House Studios.
Daniela De Paulis
Daniela de Paulis is a former contemporary dancer, a trans-disciplinary artist, a licensed radio operator and radio telescope operator. From 2009 to 2019 she has been based at the Dwingeloo radio telescope, where she has developed the Visual Moonbounce technology and a series of innovative projects combining radio technologies with live performance art and neuroscience. Since 2010 she has been collaborating with a number of international organisations, including Astronomers Without Borders, for which she is the founder and director of the arts programme. She is member of the IAA SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Permanent Committee. She is the recipient of the Baruch Bloomberg Fellowship in Astrobiology at the Green Bank Observatory where she will develop an art-science project in 2021. She is a regular host for the Wow! Signal Podcast. She has published her work with the Leonardo MIT Journal, Inderscience, Springer, Cambridge University Press and RIXC amongst others.
Panel 3: New Spaces. Sun. 13th Dec 2020
If our usual performance spaces are not available, where else can we place our work? This panel looked at new models for presenting audiovisual work in VR, AR and XR, using telepresence and online spaces in new ways. Chair – Sylvia Lane
Ghislaine Boddington – Creative Director of interactive design collective body>data>space / Reader in Digital Immersion, University of Greenwich. With a background in performing arts and body technologies Ghislaine is a leading expert in digital intimacy, telepresence and virtual physical blending. She engages in highly topical issues for our living bodies, including personal data usage, identity and self-hood, connected body enhancements and collective embodiments of the future. Across the last 30 years she has shared her future thinking into academia, business, creative industries and culture sectors worldwide through curations, commissions and debates around the future human. Awarded the IX Immersion Experience Visionary Pioneer Award 2017, Ghislaine keynotes internationally and regularly co-presents BBC Digital Planet, the BBC World Service flagship technology and society radio show/podcast. She is on the editorial Board of AI and Society and is a strong supporter of initiatives in technology for women and girls as a Trustee for the acclaimed social enterprise the Stemettes and as Spokesperson for Deutsche Bank Women Entrepreneurs in Social Tech initiative.
Tarik Barri (Arnhem, 1978) is a Dutch audiovisual composer based in Berlin. He programmed his own audio-visual software Versum. In this 3d real-time virtual world, the artist creates audio-visual compositions. Barri has collaborated with Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, Sote, Nicolas Jaar, Monolake and others. Since 2015, he has toured as part of a trio with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich in a series of concerts featuring Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes project.
Joanie Lemercier is a French artist primarily focused on projections of light in space and its influence on our perception. Lemercier was introduced to creating art on a computer at age five by attending classes on pattern design for fabrics taught by his mother. The threads of his early education grounded his interest in physical structures: geometry, patterns, and minimalist forms. As Lemercier’s work evolved, he began to play with these concrete structures through the physics and philosophy of how light can be used to manipulate perceived reality.
Since 2006 Lemercier has worked with projected light, and he co founded visual label AntiVJ in 2008, with artists Yannick Jacquet, Romain Tardy and Olivier Ratsi. He worked on stage design for festivals such as Mutek (Montreal, Mexico) and worked alongside artists such as Flying Lotus (special show at the Roundhouse London), and with Portishead’s Adrian Utley (as part of the cultural Olympiads, London 2012), and architectural projections all around the world.
In 2010, Lemercier turned his focus on installations and gallery work, and exhibited at China Museum of Digital Art, (Beijing), Art Basel Miami and Sundance film festival 2013.
In 2013, Lemercier founded a creative studio in NYC, focused on research and development of artworks and experiments that use projected light in space. Since 2015, the studio is now based in Brussels, Belgium, and ran by Juliette Bibasse.
Jon Weinel is a London-based artist, writer, and researcher whose main expertise is in electronic music and computer art. In 2012 Jon completed his AHRC-funded PhD in Music at Keele University regarding the use of altered states of consciousness as a basis for composing electroacoustic music. His electronic music, visual music compositions and virtual reality projects have been performed internationally. In 2018 his book Inner Sound: Altered States of Consciousness in Electronic Music and Audio-Visual Media was published by Oxford University Press. Jon has held various academic posts in the UK and Denmark. He is a Full Professional Member of the British Computer Society (MBCS), belongs to the Computer Arts Society specialist interest group, and is a co-chair and proceedings editor for the EVA London (Electronic Visualisation and the Arts) conference. Jon lectures at the University of Greenwich.
Panel 4: New Histories. Sun. 13th Dec, 18:00 – 19:30 GMT
No plan for the future should ignore the past. Histories are constantly rewritten and re-framed. This panel examines the history of Visual Music and looks at ways in which this history can be represented through theoretical and creative work. Chair – Joseph Hyde
Maura McDonnell is a visual music artist, musician, educator and researcher who has been involved in visual music since 1997. Maura lectures on visual music topics for the M.Phil. in Music and Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin and her recently completed PhD, examined the emergence of
visual music in the 20th century from the perspective of a practicing artist in the field.
In her visual music art practice she creates visuals for new music and electronic music concerts, fixed media and installation productions and collaborates with music composers and musicians. The medium of choice is visual effects and generative effects video and the style of her work is abstract. The meaningfulness that she seeks in her work is to explore by visual means the emotional, musical and visual sensory potential of music and to seek an integration of visual art and music in the visual music work.
Maura’s recent collaborations have been with Ensemble Parallax, directed by Peyman Farzinpour and with the concert pianist Svetlana Rudenko. Maura is an active member of an international group of artists, composers, academics and researchers engaged in the field of visual music and has presented work and research at many festivals, symposiums, screenings and conferences.
Christopher King is an artist, educator conservator primarily concerned with historic and contemporary electronic video and media art. His blog and online discussion group video circuits explores early abstract and synthetic image making practices such as video synthesis, experimental animation, visual music, cymatics and graphic scores. Chris regularly performs live visual music using electronic video and audio synthesis techniques. He also teaches workshops on these techniques and the history and context of electronic intermedia and visual music practice. He currently works as an assistant time based media conservator at Tate.
Cindy Keefer is an archivist and curator, and director of Center for Visual Music (CVM), a California archive devoted to preserving, researching and promoting Visual Music. She has published essays and book chapters in Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Organised Sound, Abstract Video:The Moving Image in Contemporary Art (UC Press), Animation, Animation World, museum exhibition catalogs and other publications internationally. She recently edited the monograph Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967): Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction; and her essay on the history of the Vortex Concerts will appear in Afterall Journal, Spring 2021.
Keefer curates and presents media programs at museums, cultural centers, festivals and archives worldwide including Tate Modern, ZKM, Whitney Museum, EYE Filmmuseum, IFFR, Barbican Centre, SF MoMA, Guggenheim Museum, LACMA, Redcat and others. She taught the History of Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts, and has presented invited lectures at institutions worldwide from Oxford to UCLA. She presents at symposia including Expanded Cinema at Tate Modern, and at the Tanglewood Music Festival. She produced CVM’s Exploring and Preserving Visual Music Symposium in 2018.
Keefer has restored dozens of historic short films,by artists including Fischinger, Belson, Mary Ellen Bute, John and James Whitney, Harry Smith, Charles Dockum and Jud Yalkut She has worked with Fischinger’s films since 1997. She is the curator and archivist for Oskar Fischinger: Raumlichtkunst (2016/2012) an HD reconstruction presented as a three-projector installation at Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum, New York; Len Lye Centre, New Zealand; and other museums and galleries in Paris, San Francisco and Australia.
Trent Kim is a lecturer in Digital Art and Technical Theatre at the University of the West of Scotland, and guest-lectures at the Glasgow School of Art, the University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is also a part time research student at the Royal College of Art, conducting his current lumia research. His practices range from theatre lighting design to ink prints, video art and lumia. His recent works interpret the art of lumia and he is particularly interested in creating live lumia performances on stage.