The clocks moved back in Great Britain, the mornings are brighter, the evenings darker and it’s time to search out gloves and funky hats to keep warm.
With a nasty flu virus catching victims all over Europe I was devoured by a nasty bout for over two weeks this last month, leading to loss of hearing in my left ear. Wondering if my life would now be led in mono and I’d be listening exclusively to early Beatles and Beach Boys records in basic mono, it’s gracefully been returning to normal over the last days.
The VIP premiere of Kirikou & Karabatook place in Paris this month at Casino de Paris. A whirlwind trip to this romantic city meant literally arriving at the theatre, watching the stage performance, taking my bows at the end of the night, and leaving again that very same evening. That meant no chance to nudge elbows with the reported celebrities there, including Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Harrison Ford, Audrey Tatou, Rossy de Palma, Air and countless others, so my mother is suitably disappointed.
My collaboration with Philips Design over in Eindhoven debuted this month too. Entitled Electronic Tattoo, it looks at a probing idea of how tattoos might be experienced in the future. Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self-representation; a visual language communicating personality and status for centuries. We were interested in examining the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring, through the use of the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film we produced subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers, the tattoo moving beneath the skin responding to touch.
This month also sees the launch of Soundwalks at various locations around Loughborough. Radar is Loughborough University's new arts programme and has commissioned six sound artists and musicians to create site specific pieces that can be downloaded when you read more. It is hoped that students, local residents and visitors will all access the website and take a walk that will offer either a unique first impression of the town or add a new dimension to familiar surroundings. I’ve produced a new work, freely downloadable, Swan Rushes, that looks at the place and identity of the city from a historical perspective.
Despite the ever decreasing numbers of people actually buying physical CDs and records these days, battling against this trend is a new release, Rabbit at the Airport, limited to 900 copies on 12” heavy vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve with lavish artwork. I collaborated with Danish composer Martin Stig Andersen and clarinetist Gareth Davis, and the visual artist and filmmaker Jacob Ballinger from Austria, on this gesamtkunstwerk. It’s a venture that integrates music, visual art and the moving image, combining limited edition vinyl records, short film, photography and the internet.
The release comprises four parts of which the first three, Rabbit at the Airport I-III, are released on two 12" singles and a LP respectively on the UK label Usagi Records. As an integrated part of the concept the vinyl’s gatefold sleeve covers narrate the tale, in comic strip form, of Dedalus, master inventor and architect, who has become lost in a labyrinth of his own creation. This wordless story unfolds in the dark imagery of Ballinger concluding with the short film Rabbit at the Airport – the finish line. For this release the point of departure is the dark, emotive sound world of Gareth Davis’ bass clarinet, by way of a 1930s gramophone, an audio transducer designed by the US Navy for the production of underwater sound, and a computer. A ghostly release for the darker nights forthcoming. It will soon be available at posteverything.
I can also be seen in another way this month in San Francisco at the Museum of Craft & Folk Art, as part of an exhibition entitled “C’ Change. Amongst works by American artist Edith Garcia there is a handbuilt ceramic sculpture of me, a playful portrait. Don’t hurry though; he’s already been sold!
November is an especially busy month ahead too. It will open with a performance of Blindscape by visual artist TeZ and myself at the Synesthesia festival in Madrid, then it’s off to direct and facilitate the Brainport Culture Masterclass in Eindhoven with MU Gallery. I’ll be premiering a new film work based around William S Burroughs in Amsterdam at Paradiso mid November alongside cult US artist Jandek, and then playing three free shows to celebrate the launch of the new super speedier than ever Eurostar train at London’s Kings Cross station on 14 November. That’s free too so please come along and blow your whistles as the trains speed away into the distance. Then more live shows in Eindhoven, Future of Sound at the British Library London, lectures, contemporary dance soundracks in Paris, Belgium and elsewhere! I’ll be waiting for Christmas to come like a little boy just to have a little rest.
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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.
Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
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. A limited edition CD is also being distributed for free through the website. Now featuring remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.