So I am writing this newsletter on a train journey, which is often some of the finest times to sit and contemplate, write and think, as the countryside slips past in a blur. I’m moving across the British landscape and recalling another dynamic month behind me, another ahead.
I’m just returning from Manchester where I premiered a new live project with artist and scientist Kasia Molga, A Portrait of Your Breath. This is an audiovisual performance, using recordings and live treatments of human breaths, with responsive visuals based on microscopic images of movements of air on glass, capturing the ephemera of this almost unnoticeable but vital activity.
For her Human Sensor project Kasia had spent the previous week choreographing a group of performers in specially commissioned hi tech outfits to move through the city, their costumes responding to the levels of air pollution in the city, and for our show these performers joined us at the opening of the night in a playful and engaging performance.
The audio for the work offers up an immersive and deeply resonant sonic world, where the audience can physically feel the sound in their bodies, moving with a radiant splendor, flickering across nervy pulses and warm and organic harmonies, whilst he visuals are created with bespoke particle software that manipulates and treats original footage that Kasia recorded under a microscope, presenting an abstract emotive landscape where reality meets the imagination, and micro meets macro in the use of addition aerial footage which highlights the ubiquity of air, and our dependency on its quality to sustain life.
We are really hoping that this show will have the opportunity to be presented and enjoyed elsewhere in the world too, so stay tuned as always.
My new permanent sound work, Water Drops, opened in Rijeka, Croatia at the international airport at the end of July. All travellers will get to experience this music for airports as they descend the stairs towards the departure gates. A series of speakers discreetly installed in the area channel this gentle, percussive and intimate soundtrack into the space, which tries to compliment the standard characteristics of an airport regarding safety, security and information.
The work itself takes source recordings of musicians playing the sopele, a local Istrian wind instrument, that I recorded whilst in Croatia in March this year, and processes and splinters this audio into thousands of sonic shards that echo around the space. I was especially delighted to launch this work alongside Interactive Sound Field by Swedish artist Hâkan Lidbo, Matt Black of Coldcut and sound artist Jack James, and a six hour long soundtrack by
Croatian artist Alexander Valencic played over a hundred speakers in the airport.
The work will remain there indefinitely so the potential audience is massive in the years to follow, and is pleasingly available to everyone, so will hopefully open up some ears and minds in the ensuing time. Many thanks to the County of PG Kotar, Music Tech Fest and Unicult2020 with support from Rijeka Culture Capital 2020 for this extraordinary opportunity.
Two rather psychedelic videos by Jean-Loup Faurat can now be viewed online, illustrating excerpts from Mayol, my most recent collaborative album with French band HiFiKlub. Taking inspiration from the freeform music the visuals extend and contract with time, responding to the ebb and flow of the sounds. Watch them both here and here.
My recent collaboration with British dance company Rambert continues to tour the UK, with forthcoming shows in Norwich, Baths, Wales, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I thought it might be of interest to share a sketch of an early draft in the studio, which you are welcome to freely download here.
Tomorrow inhabits the dark and dangerous world of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and the finished score featured modular synth pulses accompanied by a live orchestra and is currently available to view worldwide in full on the BBC Arts Online website.
Also this month my new work with choreographer Russell Maliphant plays at the Edinburgh Festival, starring celebrated ballerina Natalia Osipova in a triple bill of works that moves between dance and theatre in a cinematic manner. Though the critics were brutally tough about this show the audiences have typically loved it, proof again that the people can easily make up their own minds!
Opening on 1st August is my new sound installation deep in the forest as part of Beyond Seven Mountains, a new group show in Thoroughsale Woods, Corby, UK. Dark as a Raven connects language, outer space and history, whilst reflecting on Corby's links to outer space since there's a large crater on Mars named after the place! The name of the town itself means “Dark as a Raven”, which suggests a very cinematic soundscape and the Raven is well known as a mythological oracle; a messenger between the Greek god Apollo and human kind. The work responds to the capacity of a raven to mimic human sounds, so recordings of ravens speaking have been spliced into emblematic phrases, both abstract and strange.
The piece is hidden in the trees but a map is available at the website to help you locate the work. The show continues until 31 October. Read more here.
The last month has also been super busy with my lovely two interns from Berklee College of Music who have been working with me on various projects, including digitising stacks of old cassette tapes, with masters of Fostex four track recordings. It’s quite incredible to hear recording from over thirty years ago come to life again. Now what to do with all this material is another question altogether!
So until next month
::: listen :::
Clock DVA: Neoteric (Anterior Research)
AFX/Nina Kraviz: When I was 14 (Trip)
John Duncan: Bitter Earth (Ideal)
Pan Sonic: Atomin Paluu (Blast First Petite)
::: read :::
BS Johnson: Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry (Picador)
Ian Helliwell: Tape Leaders (SOS)
Paul Auster: Oracle Night (Faber)
Bruce Conner: It’s All True (MOMA)
Elvis & Nixon: Liza Johnson (USA)
Author: The JT LeRoy Story: Jeff Feuerzeig (USA)
Barry Lyndon: Stanley Kubrick (UK)
The Commune: Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
Open each and every day
A unique sound installation in the Sounding Chamber of this astonishing building, celebrating 350 years of history and notoriety, offering up a sonic picture of the building and the ghosts of the building that have occupied it over time
Beyond Seven Mountains
Hazel & Thoroughsale Woods
01 August – 31 October 2016
As part of a group show Scanner presents a new sound installation Dark as a Raven. The mean of Corby is 'dark as a raven' which offers a very cinematic image. The Raven is also well known as a mythological oracle; a messenger between the Greek god Apollo and human kind. The work responds to the capacity of a raven to mimic human sounds, so recordings of ravens speaking have been spliced into emblematic phrases, both abstract and strange.
But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa
New YorkCity USA
29 April – 05 October 2016
The third exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, illuminates contemporary artistic practices in the Middle East and North Africa and the region’s diaspora. Presenting a selection of newly acquired works for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, this exhibition will feature installations, photographs, sculptures, videos, and works on paper from a broad selection of artists. The exhibition is curated by Sara Raza, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa.Features Scanner's collaboration with artist Ori Gersht. Following its presentation in New York, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise will travel to Istanbul’s Pera Museum in 2017.
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 .