Facto, Mexico DF 16-20 DEC

Posted in Announcement on December 12th, 2014 by admin

On the invitation of Arcangelo Constantini, I will visit Mexico City from 16-20 December 2014 to give a SoundBoxes workshop and Macumbista live performance at FACTO, in the Fonoteca National. The highlight should be the final participant performance of 100 hand made sound devices. Hope to see some of you there!

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SoundBoxes Workshops in BE, NL

Posted in Announcement on March 28th, 2014 by admin

I will be giving a series of SoundBoxes workshops in Belgium and the Netherlands next month. This hands-on workshop combines the arts of electronics, noise, sculpture and collage to produce unique, “circuit bent” electroacoustic instruments.

Details here: http://macumbista.net/?page_id=1897

SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP LIEGE: 09-10 April, L’An Vert
http://www.entonnoir.org/cg/copy/

SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP DEN HAAG: 12 April, Villa K
https://www.facebook.com/events/1407118902885760/
http://www.stichtingcentrum.org/

SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP ROTTERDAM, 13 April, WORM
https://www.facebook.com/events/560334607406703
http://www.worm.org/home/view/event/15049

Hope to see some of you there!

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Macumbista Gira por Chile 2013

Posted in Announcement on November 13th, 2013 by admin

15-20 NOV: LiquenLab, Punta Arenas (workshop, concert & residency)
22 NOV: La Casa Rodante, Santiago (concert w/ Un Festín Sagital)
24 NOV: Stgo Makerspace, Santiago Mini Maker Faire (workshop)
26 NOV – 02 DEC: Ciudad Abierta, Ritoque (residency, workshop, concert)
03-08 DEC: Tsonami Festival, Valparaiso (workshop, concert)

¡Nuevas: instrucciones de SoundBoxes/Cajas Sonidas en Español aqui!

Muchas gracias a Fernando Godoy M, Rodrigo Ríos Zunino, Nataniel Alvarez, Sandra Ulloa, Oscar Santis, Claudia González Godoy, Macarena Pola, Michel de Un Festín Sagital, Ervo Perez, Alexander del Re y Montse Torredà Martí.

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Reflections on the LAK Festival 2013

Posted in Documentation, Essay on October 9th, 2013 by admin

Photo Flora Tosti

Changing the Power Base

Around the time of the recent Female Pressure report, which called out many sound and music festivals around the globe for their scandalously poor representation of female artists, I had several discussions with the main organizers of the LAK Festival (three quarters women, incidentally) about how to address the issue. To their credit, they didn’t make a big deal about it. No “female artist showcase” or other kinds of tokenism involved. They simply selected artists they were interested in, which just so happened to place a fairly even number of men and women on the stage that weekend. Which is pretty much how things should be, in my own opinion.

What surprised me more was the turnout for the workshops. There are many ways of reaching out to potential participants of an arts and technology workshop. Written one way, with a focus on parts-catalog jargon and makerlab buzzwords, the turnout is often exclusively dudes in their mid-20′s who wear hooded sweatshirts 24 hours a day, rarely bathe and posses an obsessive interest in controlling their toaster with an Arduino or 3D-printing yet another ashtray.

Written another way, with more of a nod to aesthetics and content, or even just acknowledging a more intuitive and non-linear approach to arts-n-tech, the results are much more varied and far richer. In this sense, I guess we did something right because three quarters of the workshop participants were women–as compared with a whopping zero percent in the workshop I taught to a Danish university sound design course the following week!

I emphasize the presentation and participation of women not from a “Yeah, sisters!” kind of feminism, but rather as a barometer of how it is possible to reach out from a traditional arts or music festival power base. Age, education, race or class could be another set of many possible indicators left for another set of reflections on this or any other festival.

Photo Flora Tosti

Life in an Alienating Utopia

One criticism of the festival I have heard in several places is that it was merely “sound-for-sound’s-sake.” And this could well be valid–from the position of the passive spectator. I’m sorry if this is news to anyone, but even after one hundred years of history, electronic sound remains a fundamentally alienating dystopia for the exact same reasons it provides a creative utopia.

Namely, this is because it is no longer necessary to have the source of the sound present during its performance, and because sounds can be created which have never been heard before, both through means with which the audience has no connection visual or otherwise. Any kind of electronic sound presentation which neglects this alienation on the part of a traditional audience is doomed to failure with them. Simply put, it’s not just “all about the sound.” Not now, and not ever.

Innovative approaches to engaging the audience don’t regurgitate the 90′s “interactivity” model of waving to the machine in the proper way so that the machine waves back. Nor do they sugar-coat everything in accessible techno beats. The performer who crouches motionless behind the laptop, mixer or pile of obscure gear playing (or playing back) what one LAK reviewer simple-mindedly called “ant-war” music deserves the reaction they get from outside the small, safe confines of their scene.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love challenging, experimental music–when it is well-presented. But I simply gave up on expecting it to “cross over” to a larger audience long ago. There are very few “civilians” (as Kristina Andersen quipped to me one evening) at an experimental sound art festival, and the ones who do show up can be a cynical bunch.

Photo Flora Tosti

The Participatory Model

The “sound-for-sound’s-sake” criticism immediately falls apart when the participatory model is taken. In my own workshops, I have noticed again and again that people who would never attend an experimental concert are quite happy to play one of their own when given the chance. Other people’s noise can be annoying, but your own noise–that is sublime! So instead of trying to pack 100 people in a room to watch one self-indulgent noise artist, why not let 10 people become one for themselves for a few hours?

This is the challenge to the passive, cynical audience member… to drop the cool, “what the fuck” posture and take part in something rather than stand by the sidelines and spectate. As Tore Honoré Boe observes about his Acoustic Laptops, when people first see a wooden box with a few toothbrushes glued inside, their skepticism remains high until they actually reach inside and “touch the sound”. Then their attitude immediately changes and they find themselves captivated by their own noise.

For me, two of the most successful workshops were led by Mads Bech Paulszewski-Hau and John Grzinich. In each case, participants committed themselves to days of preparation, creating a tactile sonic installation and a blindfolded sound walk which they themselves were responsible for presenting during the festival. The workshop leaders worked with a goal of planned obsolescence, facilitating and fading into the background the more the participants became confident of their own work. These participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, from visual arts to movement to music to simple interest–as did many of the workshop participants that week. The common factor was the complaint that access to information about sound art was very hard for them to find.

Similarly successful were the CEO Bendorama circuit-bending workshop, the Syntjuntan circuit-sewing workshop, and in particular Kristina Andersen’s ElectroSqueak Club instrument-building workshop for children, all of which provided a low-stress point of contact with electronics, materials and sound which simply does not exist in arts education on the university or community level almost anywhere else. One particularly interesting turn of events came when one of Christian Skjødt‘s improvisation workshop participants installed herself in the stairwell and in her own way joined the lineup of the festival. By and large, those who came–the untrained, the curious, the non-professional–were “civilians” in the most basic sense of the word.

Photo Kristina Andersen

Let a Thousand Noise Artists Bloom

–But who is going to watch all these freshly-born sound artists perform?

–Who cares.

The participatory model is highly resistant to stage-elevation. It simply isn’t the point. For centuries, folk music has been created not by professional artists but by everyday people for their collective enjoyment, rather than to single one person out as The Artist and celebrate them alone. Why should electronic sound, the folk music of our age, be any different? In that sense, one cannot complain if there are “too many” sound artists or performers out there, since it is no longer about competition for other people’s attention. The consolation prize is perhaps more people coming into the scene to spectate on other people’s sound art performances some time in the future. Think of it as a small investment…

Photo Flora Tosti

A Deeper Sense of Contact

This kind of thinking requires a radical reboot of the traditional festival strategy of success-through-maximum-headcount, however. The participatory model is democratic in the sense that it allows direct access, and not because it sells thousands of tickets. Like being one of six pupils at a Montessori or Steiner school rather than one of hundreds at a public school, it is a deeper, more involved way to experience the art form and should be valued for that reason, and not because some “thump thump thump” put a lot of hands in the air.

Do you try to touch a thousand people in a superficial way, or touch a dozen people in a deep way? Depends on your funding model, I suppose. But moving away from one’s traditional, elite power base always requires new models. So even when it means less bodies in a room for now, I am happy to see LAK moving in that direction.

—D. Holzer, Västernorrland, Sweden 09 Oct 2013

Thanks and Appreciation

My sincere thanks to Katrine Møllebæk, Sif Hellerup Madsen, Agnete Seerup, Rasmus Cleve Christensen and the festival volunteers for organizing a great week, to John Grzinich, CEO Bendorama, Tore Honoré Boe, Christian Skjødt, Mads Bech Paluszewski-Hau, Kristina Andersen, Lise-Lotte Norelius and Ann Rosén for their hard work on thew workshops, to Dani Dögenigt and Sebastian Edin for their assistance during the workshops, and to all the workshop participants for their interest and energies! Photos courtesy of LAK Festival, Kristina Andersen and Flora Tosti.

Photo Kristina Andersen

Photo Flora Tosti

Photo Flora Tosti

Photo Flora Tosti

Photo Flora Tosti

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MAAJAAM Weird Sound Workshop Estonia

Posted in Documentation on July 30th, 2013 by admin

From 13-16 July 2013, I led a small group of workshop participants to build their own electronic sound instruments–either the Weird Sound Generator (from the Music From Outer Space website), or one of my own SoundBoxes. The location was MAAJAAM, an experimental residency/workshop space initiated by Timo Toots in an old farmhouse in the Estonian countryside near Otepää.The workshop ended with a group presentation and invitation to the audience to play the instruments in the outdoor garden of the Genialistide Klubi, Tartu.

I would like to extend my admiration and gratitude to the hard work of the participants: Aivar Tõnso, Annabel Põder, Bianca Triinu-Toots, Kaarel Narro, Kalev Toots, Mihkel Tomberg, Taavi Suisalu and Timo Toots.

MAAJAAM workshop “Music from outer space” from Timo Toots on Vimeo.

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LAK FESTIVAL 2013

Posted in Announcement on May 28th, 2013 by admin

I am pleased to finally announce that I will be the co-curator of the next LAK Festival for Nordic Sound Art in Copenhagen, over the weekend of 26-29 September 2013.

My main contribution to the festival program is a series of workshops around the theme of the “Fifth Wall”. If the well-known “fourth wall” refers to the boundary between the artist and their audience, often “broken” through techniques of meta-narrative in theater and film, the term “fifth wall” could describe the boundaries between the audience members themselves during a shared artistic experience. The Fifth Wall Workshops series for the LAK Festival 2013 concerns itself with how this boundary can be broken within the traditional festival format of performance, installation and lecture, and in a world where almost everyone has become a digital art producer. These workshops emphasize participatory situations which transform festival visitors from passive receivers to active creators of sound art. Eventually, both “artist” and “wall” dissolve away, leaving the responsibility of presenting the workshop results with the participants themselves.

I look forward to sharing the list of invited workshop artists next month when everything is confirmed. Further information on the festival itself should soon be available at the following locations:

http://www.lakfestival.dk/

http://www.facebook.com/Lakfestival

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SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP Malmö

Posted in Announcement on May 16th, 2013 by admin

SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP with DEREK HOLZER

DATE: 25 May 2013
TIME: 12pm – 7pm
LOCATION: Stpln, Stapelbäddsgatan 3, Malmö (map at : http://stpln.se/ )
PUBLIC PRESENTATION: 8pm (please invite your friends!)
COST: 100 SEK (plus one box to bring, see below)

Strictly limited to 12 places! Please register by sending an email to ljudlek (at) gmail (dot) com with ‘Soundboxes Workshop’ as the subject.

WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT

Discover the hidden sonic qualities of objects from our everyday world in this hands-on workshop, combining the arts of electronics, noise, sculpture and collage. The basic elements we will employ are a wooden box, a speaker, a small audio amplifier and a contact microphone. To this, brave box-builders will add their own found objects, graphics, images, memories and ideas to create a unique electroacoustic cabinet of curiosities.

WHAT TO BRING

I will provide most of the tools and materials necessary for constructing the box, however there are a few things you should bring yourself:

1) A BOX (REQUIRED): This should be made of thin wood or very strong cardboard. No metal! This box should be a minimum of 10x10x4cm. Cigar boxes, small suitcases, instrument cases or jewelry/silverware boxes are all good things to look for.

IMPORTANT: The lid of the box should be no more than 5mm thick, to allow the hardware to be mounted.

2) A SPEAKER (OPTIONAL): If you want a speaker larger than the 92mm ones I will provide, you can salvage one from old hi-fi systems, clock radios or portable stereos. Please make sure it fits in the box you have chosen!

3) FOUND/SOUND OBJECTS (OPTIONAL): Please bring as many found objects as you can to decorate your soundbox or use as a sound source via the contact microphone. See VIDEOS and PHOTOS links below for inspiration.

VIDEOS

http://vimeo.com/16567547
https://vimeo.com/34477093

MORE INFO + PHOTOS

http://macumbista.net/?page_id=1897

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Derek Holzer (1972) is an American instrument builder and sound artist based in Berlin DE, whose current interests include DIY analog electronics, field recording, media archaeology and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music. He has played live experimental sound, as well as taught noise art technology workshops across Europe, North America, Brazil and New Zealand.

This workshop has been organized by James Brewster with support from Kulturbryggan.

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SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP @ NK PROJEKT (BERLIN)

Posted in Announcement on April 28th, 2013 by admin



SOUNDBOXES WORKSHOP with DEREK HOLZER @ NK PROJEKT (BERLIN)

Saturday May 11 2013, 14:00-18:00
Sunday May 12 2013, 14:00-18:00

Discover the hidden sonic qualities of objects from our everyday world in this one day workshop, combining the arts of electronics, noise, sculpture and collage. The basic elements of this workshop are a wooden box, a speaker, a small audio amplifier, and a contact microphone. To this, brave box-builders will add their own found objects, graphics, images, memories and ideas to create a unique electroacoustic cabinet of curiosities.

No previous electronics experience is necessary for this workshop. Each participant is required to bring several items to the workshop, please see below.

WHAT TO BRING:

I will provide most of the tools and materials necessary for constructing the box, however there are a few things you should bring yourself:

1) A BOX: This should be made of thin wood or very strong cardboard. Plastic can be also used, but it doesn’t sound very good. And please, no metal! It is too difficult to cut and drill with the tools we will have. This box should be a minimum of 10x10x4cm, or bigger if you want to use a larger speaker or have more room to decorate and add objects. Cigar boxes, small suitcases, instrument cases or jewelry/silverware boxes are all good things to look for. At least one side of the box should be no more than 5mm thick, to allow the hardware to be mounted.

2) A SPEAKER (OPTIONAL): I will have a selection of speakers for participants to use. However, if you have something special please bring it along, but please make sure it fits in the box you have chosen!

3) FOUND OBJECTS: Please bring as many found objects as you can to decorate your soundbox or use as a sound source via the contact microphone. Bones, shells, small sticks, bells, strings, wires, springs (especially!) or anything else made out of solid yet resonant material make great sound sources. Photographs, cloth, leather, paper or any other kind of material can be useful for covering the box and making collages. Paint, markers and pens may also be useful.

FURTHER INFO:

You can see videos and photos from previous SoundBoxes workshops here:

http://macumbista.net/?page_id=1897

You can see all posts related to SoundBoxes, including ones I have made for sale recently, here:

http://macumbista.net/?tag=soundboxes

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Derek Holzer (1972) is an American sound artist based in Berlin, whose current interests include DIY analog electronics, sound art, field recording and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music. He has played live experimental sound, as well as taught workshops in noise art technology, across Europe, North America, Brazil and New Zealand.

http://macumbista.net/

BASIC INFO:

Fee: EUR 30 (participation) + EUR 10 (materials)

Registration is required and can be done by sending an email to info@nkprojekt.de with the subject line “SoundBoxes”. This is a one day workshop, please indicate which day (SAT or SUN) you would like to attend when making your reservation.

Number of Participants: Minimum 6/Maximum 12

LOCATION:

NK Projekt
Elsenstr. 52 2HH 2Etage
12059 Berlin
+49(0)17620626386

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Updated Migrating Art Academies Info

Posted in Announcement on March 15th, 2013 by admin

[Image: block diagram of the Triadex Muse, from "Musical Applications of Microprocessors", 2nd Edition, Hal Chamberlin (1987)]

The deadline for applications for the next Migrating Art Academies titled “Aesthetic – Responsibility – Drones” (2-7 May 2013, Berlin) is still a couple weeks away. We will select a few European participants to be sponsored with travel, accommodation and per diem.

Find info on MIGAA here: http://www.migaa.eu/aesthetic-responsibility-drones/

Info on my electronics workshop follows.

Autonomous Sonic Agents Workshop with Derek Holzer

In sonic terms, a “drone” can be considered an ongoing process which acts of its own accord. While this is commonly thought of as a steady tone or chord, much of my own work involves the creation of more complex, autonomous agents responsible for various parts of an audio composition. In this workshop, we will investigate different methods, involving loudspeakers, feedback and simple 9-Volt electronics, for creating such generative, self-playing sound systems. Each participant will construct their own primitive noise synthesizer, which they will present on the final day of the workshop. Please bring some type of wooden (preferred–cigar boxes are perfect!) or plastic enclosure to hold your circuit as well as any kind of speaker you can salvage from toys, radios, portable stereos or hi-fi systems.

Info/inspiration:

http://macumbista.net/?page_id=497
http://macumbista.net/?page_id=1187
http://macumbista.net/?page_id=1897

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VIDEO: Experimental Sound Instruments Workshop, TAIK MediaLab Helsinki

Posted in Documentation on February 20th, 2013 by admin

Experimental Sound Instruments Workshop, TAIK MediaLab Helsinki from macumbista on Vimeo.

Students from my Experimental Sound Instruments workshop demonstrate their hand-made projects on the final day. Their instruments involved a variety of technologies, including Arduinos, solenoids, motors, transducers, pickups and amplifiers which I presented over the week. This workshop, which I give at the school annually, ran from 04-08 February 2013 at the TAIK MediaLab in Helsinki, Finland. The students presenting were Johanna Storm, Ari-Pekka Leinonen, Scott McGregor, Saku Kamarainen, Ana Gutierrez, Thomas Svedstrom and Rajeev Siewnath.

My next MLab workshop should be in Oct/Nov.

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