With the streets of London adrift with shoppers laden down with shopping bags, public transport constantly packed, warnings of an extremely harsh winter, sales already beginning in every store, John Lennon on Play>Repeat on the radio, it must be Christmas.
November began with my UK tour with Pete Lockett, just voted #1 best live percussionist 2005 by a readers poll on Rhythm magazine, as we drove across the British countryside, playing shows following our Autek CD release. Largely based around improvisations and themes, it was memorable for the 48 inch high bass drum Pete would play that dwarfed my little laptop and the almost religious ecstatic scenes of people leaping from their seats to dance to the rhythms!
Continuing this sacred theme, Track and Traces in Deptford London proved to be a very intimate series of performances where the audience would join in the prayers to the city by reciting the street names in unison, creating a wonderfully spiritual occasion. And then, with barely a moment to pack, I was off to Guangzhou China to present my Flower Echoes project.
With such a clear awareness of ancient history throughout this magical city, Flower Echoes used place names and street names as memory triggers. Rather than simply use a street name as a reference point, a designation for a meeting or rendezvous, readings of the titles in Cantonese, Mandarin and English throughout the work suggest a sense of political, economic, educational and cultural significance. The voices can be heard in unison with recordings made in the mountains, restaurants, streets, and shops of Guangzhou.
And, as if single-handedly trying to finish off the record industry, and ironically the best way to express this work, with the fine support of the British Council, we pressed up 35,000 CDs to be given away for free! Installed at the Guangzhou Triennial art exhibition in both the entrance hall and the main staircase as sound installations, the work can be experienced both within the context of a contemporary art show or simply taken home with you. I’m currently waiting for boxes to be delivered to Scanner Headquarters in London so that anyone may pick one up directly or else we can work out a way of getting to anyone interested in a copy not resident in China.
Guangzhou left many strong impressions – eating a meal on a restaurant that floated on water, with each individual table set out on its own boat, so the waiter would ferry food back and forth, to speaking at the Normal University (suggesting an Abnormal University?), being formally greeted as Mr Scanner everywhere, shopping for Kubrick toy dolls, and most mysteriously visiting a market where you would be locked into a room, instructions and directions being spat into short wave radios, only for the lights to be flicked on and a cornucopia of DVD delights be revealed on every possible surface about you, all very tempting indeed.
With just time to unpack, shower and compose new work, I was off to Monfalcone in Italy to play with the legendary Italian composer Alvin Curran in a night of fluxus oriented performance. Busy throwing oranges into the piano and coins across the stage, Alvin threw eclectic sound shapes back at me whilst we developed a witty rapport. This is one sound battle that will most certainly be repeated! Then over to Rome to present Blindscape with Italian digital artist TeZ at the Roma Europa Festival, alongside Merzbow, Asian Dub Foundation, Spunk, The Wire Sound System, Golan Levin and others. Working with a system where the sound drives the images and reacts in real time, the show was a magnificent personal success, using almost exclusively the sounds of bats and city recordings.
Incidentally I’ve updated lots of pages on my website, especially lots of old interviews, with the intention of building up a massive archive of old press, quirky scanned pieces, etc. Happy browsing…
December brings some respite, a chance to recharge my batteries before 2006 kicks in with a busy schedule. A show in Lille France with Jean Paul Dessy, another in Bourges, plenty of recording and then Christmas with too much food, too much bad television and family. It’s been an extraordinary year of playfulness, new friends, the loss of some (farewell Luc Ferrari, Bob Moog and Fred the cat) and endless global encounters and adventures. I can’t wait for 2006!
Have a safe and entry into 2006.
See you on the other side!
::: listen :::
::: read :::
::: film :::
::: diary dates :::
With a working title of BEYOND: an extraordinary space of experimentation for modernization.’ the 2nd Guangzhou triennial features artists focusing around the theme of Pearl River Delta. Featuring artists Doug Aitken, Justin Bennet, Hu Fang, Rem Koolhaas, Map Office, Chen Tong, Zhang Wei, Lu Chunsheng and others.
Flower Echoes was commissioned in collaboration with the British Council as part of the Sound and the City project, also featuring the work of Brian Eno, David Toop, Clive Bell & Peter Cusack in Beijing; a channel for local people to think beyond music, to the relationship between sound and their environment – to think of this artistically and emotionally. Freely distributed as a CD in a generous edition of 35,000 copies, the work is also installed as two independent installations with the context of the museum exhibition, using voices and sounds of the city.
What Sound Does A Color Make?
Centre for Art & Visual Culture
The premiere of What Sound Does a Color Make? features contemporary and historical works by an internationally diverse group of artists who manipulate sound with image and image with sound. The show includes artists who likewise use technology to inspire a renewed consciousness of highly un-technological experiences — physicality, human cognition, and perception. Featuring work by Scott Arford, Jim Campbell, D-Fuse with Scanner, Granular Synthesis, Gary Hill, Atau Tanaka, Stephen Vitiello, Nam June Paik and others.
Small Global with D-Fuse
Produced at Eyebeam, the annual presentation of new work created in Eyebeam studios presents a range of projects including installations, talks, workshops and live performances. Works from artists Brian Alfred, D-Fuse, Julia Loktev, LoVid, Christian Marclay, Anthony McCall, Chihcheng Peng and Robot Clothes use technology to explore creative practice with themes of performance and algorithms pervading much of the work.
Small Global is a multi-screened immersive environment that explores environmental issues, with audio by D-Fuse [Matthias Kispert], with contributions by Scanner in collaboration with Eyebeam Artists in Residence. The 1st module focuses on the growth of McDonald’s against the destruction of the rainforests. The 2nd module contrasts the mining of Coltan [mineral used in phone chips] in the Congo, against the Human & Gorilla death toll.