September 2011

September 2011


It’s been a month of adjusting to and contemplating the unpredictable weather systems we must now embrace in the world, which affect both our lives and work, and trying to work out to carry either an umbrella or sunglasses, or simply both.

We can escape to here

I slipped from the extremely generous winter of Rio de Janeiro with balmy temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius to the unsettlingly cool British summertime of Margate, but curiously local Brazilians wore padded jackets and knee high boots to protect themselves from the ‘cold’ whilst local Brits sat on the beach deckchairs in the pouring rain with newspapers on their head, eating chips of course. There’s nothing like a reassuring cliché when you need it most.

August began with an eclectic evening at Café Oto in London when I performed as part of Active Crossover, a picturesque night of exploratory sound in the midst of menacing riots in the city. My modest blink-and-you-might-miss-it collaboration with Lee Gamble will shortly be available online to listen to and watch online too, but here’s a clip from my own set.

Then it was off to Rio de Janeiro for a series of events based around an exhibition Era uma vez at Museu da Mare in a local favela, where I showed my installation Falling Forward in a display of works from Le Fresnoy. I gave a presentation at a central university, marvelled at the beach from afar, and then performed a live show at Festival Multiplicidade, which garnered attention from the national press and sold out days beforehand, which was thrilling.

Any Portuguese readers or speakers might like to read an extensive feature on my work, with particular focus on my Creators Project collaboration with United Visual Artists too.

And within 24 hours I exchanged the humidity of Brazil with the cool air of the UK with the spectacular performance, Blink, for one night only in Margate in East Kent. Working for a week in close collaboration with celebrated choreographer Wayne McGregor and German theatre group Pan Optikum, we devised an hour-long piece on the beach at night. For around a decade now Wayne and I have conjured up many collaborative projects but this one really proved itself to be, in the words of a classic empowering song ‘the challenge of a lifetime!’ With storms that refused to depart, sand in the mixers, rain in the power cables, dancers going to hospital and my breaking the toilet handle off (yes, really) it was really an adventure from start to finish.

Ultimately the work was a massive success to a degree that we could never have anticipated – with estimates of around 30,000 people attending and enjoying the dancing, pyrotechnics and live music. Even the breakfast room of my hotel was busy with conversations about the event! Highlights can be found on youtube, whilst this is amongst the best filmed directly from within the centre of the audience.

You can also listen and download a small excerpt of the closing firework display score here.

Blink Finale by scanner

As a habitual user of social networks I also recently made an interview with Joss Molders at Earlabs regarding my approach to their use and natural appeal to my ideas and creations. Unusually this article explores a more business approach to the How and Why of using communication networks.

Whilst in the reading mood you might be interested to peruse the recent feature from Computer Music magazine in the special Sampling Issue, and more controversially a feature in the ever influential The Quietus regarding my revelations regarding News of the World. With the phone hacking scam that has caused uproar in the UK I felt it was about time that I spoke about the time they offered to buy stolen mobile phone conversations from me some years ago.

Behind clouds, broken sunshine

An unexpected pop music project will begin in September too as part of a commission with Candoco Dance Company.  As part of their Turning 20 anniversary tour I have been working with choreographer Matthias Sperling to develop a new work. Candoco are recognised for working with both disabled and non-disabled dancers and for this piece Matthias is creating the first solo ever for the company for dancer Vicky Malin in an empowering work that uses the nature of pop music to embody both movement, song and performer, celebrating the singularity and vulnerability of the artist.

In a performance that is almost entirely silent I have composed a centrepiece song with Matthias, entitled THIS IS IT, which will be released on iTunes in the next month. Channelling the inner spirit of Lady Gaga and Journey it’s truly a fresh adventure into dangerously appealing popular music land. Stay tuned for this absurdly catchy tune.

If you are curious to the kind of content then Matthias and I  previously collaborated on the innovative work RIFF, a playful approach to sampling the physical body in dance.

September is a month of preparation for projects launching later this year. Over this time I’m preparing all the sound design for SOON, a monumental new installation launching for one night only in Commerce Court, a public square in Toronto’s financial district, in collaboration with artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. All this happens on 1 October for 12 hours as part of Nuit Blanche.

My latest releases are all now available on Apple iTunes if you wish to channel your inner Black Swan for the ballet scores. So there’s a chance to spoil yourself with Timelapse (Mnemosyne), Pavillon d’Armide/Amarant and my latest collaboration with David Rothenberg, You Can’t Get There From Here.

This month I will also be scoring and sound designing a new British feature film (under secure wraps at the moment), soundtracking a promotion for the Rugby World Cup, finishing work on a new film with Philips as well as the usual top secret exploits of a global adventurer.

Until next month

Robin Van Rimbaud
Professor Scanner

Presence. Absence

::: listen :::
Fripp & Eno: May 28, 1975 Olympia, Paris, France (DGM)
Iamomni: Iamomni (Bandcamp)
Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer: Re ECM (EMC)
Kangding Ray: Or (Raster Noton)

::: read :::
Adrian Tomine: Scenes from an Impending Marriage (Drawn & Quarterly)
Vilem Flusser: Does Writing Have a Future? (Uni Minnesota Press)
Francisco Goldman: Say Her Name (Grove)
Steven Heller: Iron Fists (Phaidon)

::: film:::
Super 8, JJ Abrams USA
The Guard, John Michael McDonagh, Ireland
Hanna, Joe Wright, USA
The Skin I live In, Pedro Almodovar, Spain


Room with a View
The Creators Project
Installation with United Visual Artists

16-19 September Beijing, China

Exploring reconfigurations of the Orchestrion installation originally developed for Coachella 2011, UVA decided to invert their design and create a vast space where visitors enter and become a part of the performance. 

The work consists of a single room of infinite reflection, creating an endless geometric landscape. Lines of light derivative of the structural form shift and animate within, with visitors’ shadows and reflections constantly changing with the movement of light and sound.

The Creators Project
Installation with United Visual Artists

08-11 September Seoul, South Korea
12-16 October New York City, USA

Conductor draws visitors into its environment like a magnetic force field, as if it were collecting energy from passersby to generate power for the event itself. Light forms resembling current running through electrical components or power plants will be accompanied by an original score by British composer Scanner.

Breath Taking
Revealing a new wave in British glass blowing

Durham Art Gallery: 08 July – 29 Aug 2011
Aberdeen Art Gallery: 01 Sept – 29 Oct 2011
Wrexham Art Gallery: 02 Dec – 28 Jan 2011/12

The new Crafts Council touring exhibition Breath Taking presents cutting-edge work in blown glass, by 22 UK makers. Through their creative use of glass-blowing techniques these makers ask us to consider the medium ’s possibilities for new ways of expression.

Sing in Sand and Roar in Furnace Fire from Neil Wissink on Vimeo.

Scanner collaborated with filmmaker Neil Wissink to produce this film which is installed in each gallery, based on recordings of the Stuart Hearn glassblowing studio in London.
Choreography: Matthias Sperling
Dancers: Matthias Sperling and Robin Dingemans

Night Haunts
By Sukhdev Sandhu
Design Mind Unit
Sound Design Scanner

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. If you would like to be kept informed as each episode is posted, join artangel’s mailing list by clicking here .

Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
Artangel Interaction

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. Additionally it features remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.