August 2012


So The 2012 Olympics have begun and a world can now marvel at the surreal, playful nature of British culture, especially displayed in the extravagant and utterly mad opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle. With Studio Scanner a mere ten minutes away from the activities I’ll be trying my utmost to remain discreet and indoors as much as possible now.

Days eating into eternityHaving said that of course I’ve just launched a couple of projects directly connected to the 124th Olympic celebrations. On 23 July I took part in the International Olympic Committee launch at the Royal Opera House in London in a star-studded extravaganza. Joel Cadbury and I had scored a new choreographic work by Kate Prince for her company ZooNation, which was premiered in front of Princess Anne and countless dignitaries from the sports and political sphere. Alongside works by Bellini, Beethoven and Shostakovich, our work sounded suitably regal and grand.

A day later I slipped back into my smartest slim clothes and attended the launch of The British Business Embassy at the majestic Lancaster House in London, close to Buckingham Palace. The UK’s top designers and artists were invited to contribute to delivering a world class creative showcase that will play host to some of the most globally influential business leaders during the Olympics and Paralympics Games at Lancaster house. Uniquely I was commissioned to present the only sound work entitled Anthem.

Based upon the British National Anthem, I created a choral work of ten minutes duration which is situated in the lavatories of the building, the only guaranteed room that every delegate and visitor will visit 😀 Over 3,000 Government Minsters, business leaders and policy-makers from the UK and around the world will come through the doors of Lancaster House. These events will allow businesses and Governments to exchange views and ideas, discuss local and international economic challenges, develop strong global partnerships for future growth and showcase the best of British business to the world. And who knows perhaps Anthem will inspire them or at least distract them in the loo.

Wherever it happens, it happens

And to complete this Olympic trilogy The Big Dance finally took place in Trafalgar Square in London on 14 July. As both a celebration of dance and dancing itself it was a splendid affair. With one thousand dancers, a mix of amateur and professionals, performing in front of around ten thousand people keenly watching, I was delighted to hear my 45-minute score playing out at volume across the square. Again written in collaboration with Joel Cadbury you can watch the full show online through various spectators’ points of view. The full show will soon be up online at full quality, filmed professionally.

Witness was premiered in Durham in July. There’s a video that introduces the themes quite succinctly but essentially it’s a game of Chinese Whispers with only one unique performance of the piece, which was then witnessed by other musicians over the last month, each of whom then performed it to another witness. This meant a process that began with a brass band, moved to a string quartet, a local rock band, a singer, a pianist and choir, and finally ended up with an explosive interpretation by a German brass group, Beat n’ Blow, in the Market Square of Durham on 21 July.

A documentary on the playful adventure was premiered to a sold out audience at the Gala Cinema, and amusingly scheduled to play between screenings of Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises, a protective superhero sandwich indeed. All this footage will shortly be online to be shared and enjoyed. Additional thoughts on the themes and ideas can be read and downloaded as PDFs, written by David Toop and Zarina Kadirbaks.

Swerving between light and dark

I was up in Glasgow in July at the Riverside Museum for the launch of From Land, at Sea and in the Air, a new installation work commissioned by Glasgow Concert Halls. Heard on headphones as you walked through the museum, the work takes the listener through a tour of transportation, as the museum itself specializes in a history of transport. Interviews with local workers from the buses and trams are interspersed through the recordings of footsteps, skateboards, ferries, trams, buses, bicycles, and so on. The work is now also available online to freely download and enjoy. There is also a charming little documentary on the work itself that you can watch.

Meanwhile over in Ljubljana, Slovenia my collaboration, Vanitas, with artist Uršula Berlot, opened at Gallery Equrna. This mesmeric film installation explores the boundaries between organic and inorganic, visible and concealed, being caught and being free images, scientific process, and spills of life. You can watch the film online to give you an idea of this gorgeous work

Studio Scanner recently took delivery of some luscious organic looking speakers courtesy of sE Electronics, specifically a set of sE Munro Eggs. To accompany this exciting development an interview with me, cheekily entitled, ‘Robin Rimbaud is busy,’ offers a speedy catch up on recent activities. I just hope that it doesn’t leave you craving for new technology yourself of course.

This weekend I am off to Seattle USA for Substrata Festival, an intimate sound and visual art weekend happening 03-05 August 2012. The festival focuses on listening and scale, with a variety of acts. I’ll be performing on Friday 03 August alongside Australian artist Lawrence English and the deafeningly raw sound of Daniel Menche. Whilst Saturday night brings in Pan*American, Tim Hecker, Loscil and Widesky. On Sunday I’ll be accompanying Lawrence on a field trip for recording and listening and obviously a chance to share some witty stories.


Then it’s off to Weymouth back in the UK for an extraordinary venue, ICCI 360 Arena, on 10 August, to present my audio-visual work in a massive surround sound and visuals experience. With projections mapped onto the entire surface, 360 degrees around the audience, it looks set to be a very immersive live experience.

And incredibly I’m then slipping away to Tuscany to a remote castle with a suitcase of books, a pair of sunglasses and very limited internet access to recharge the Scanner batteries.

Until next month.

Robin Van Rimbaud
Professor Scanner


::: listen :::
Haxan Cloak: The Men Parted…(Southern)
Alan Howarth: Escape from New York OST (Death Waltz)
Empty Set: Demiurge/Function (Cargo)
Johan Söderqvist: Let the Right One In (Death Waltz)

::: read :::
Jonathan Bate: Shakespeare-Staging the World (British Museum)
Cut-Ups, Cut-Ins, Cut-Outs; Art of William S. Burroughs (Kunsthalle)
Simon Armitage: Walking Home (Faber)
KesselsKramer: Advertising for People (Laurence King)

::: film:::
The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan, USA
Searching for Sugar Man, Malik Bendjelloul, Sweden
Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh, USA
Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy


Institute of Contemporary Arts
Lonon UK

19 June 2012 – 16 September 2012

As part of a season on sound, this exhibition presents one hundred new sound commissions produced by artists from all over the world. Selected by curators and art institutions worldwide, all artists have been invited to submit a sound file, taking its stimulus from the themes evoked in Bruce Nauman’s Days, which will be presented in the lower gallery during the exhibition.

Scanner will be presenting an exclusive major new work, Murmurs, Mutters, which will be heard in the show.

Time & Again
Collaboration with artist Michael Anastassiades
MAK-Expositur MAK-Branch
Vienna Austria

12 May – 25 November 2012

The timeless objects of the London-based designer oscillate between design product, sculpture, and quality craftsmanship. Under the MAK exhibition pro- gram, Anastassiades makes an artistic contribution to the museum’s new positioning of applied arts. Scanner has produced a series of discrete sound interventions in the building to compliment the installation.

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.