Hungarian tour/post-ISEA

Posted in Text on August 28th, 2010 by admin

Hungarian Tour

From 31 August until 5 September, I will be joining András Nun (UH Fest, Budapest), Luka Ivanovic (Luka Toyboy, Beograd), Balázs Pándi (Merzbow drummer/A38, Budapest) and Péter Szabó (Jackie Triste, Budapest) for a tour of various locations in Hungary related to András’ work with human interest NGOs.

András has described the theme of our excursions as Poverty and Exclusion in Hungary–or–What Can an International Festival Representing Peripheral Music Do About the Problem of People Forced to the Periphery, How Can It Act Against Their Exclusion? and the project has tie-ins to the upcoming UH Festival in Budapest in October.

Our trip will take us through the cities/regions of Monor, Budapest, Esztergom, Vanyarc, Szomolya, Berettyóújfalu and Bicske and will end with a sound workshop for young Afghan refugees. A challenging situation to be sure, but one I look forward to!

ISEA Disasters

On the topic of challenging situations…I just returned from my participation in the KHM Heavy Matter show at ISEA 2010 in Dortmund. I had much harsher words lined up about the way this event unfolded, which I will refrain from putting into print.

Suffice to say that, in spite of massive infrastructural shortcomings and an almost complete lack of support from the venue (an investment-wreck shopping mall) or the organizations involved, I at least succeeded in playing one half hour set of extremely loud and chaotic analog synthesizer sound in the confines of a very small elevator. Photos and sounds soon…

ISEA Highlights

Besides this glorious waste of my own time and money, the weekend there was brightened by seeing exhibited projects by Natalie Bewernitz & Marek Goldowski, Aernoudt Jacobs, Yunchul Kim, Herwig Weiser, HC Gilje, Carsten Nicolai, Sophie Bélair Clément and Joyce Hinterding at the two major locations in Dortmund.

The Arctic Perspectives show organized by Hartware Medienkunst Verein at the Phoenix Halle was also mind-blowing in its scale, and could easily consume several days of attention with its collection of videos, field recordings, literature and architectural models.

Climbing around in the beautiful rust-scape of the abandoned factory next to the Phoenix Halle was certainly worth the trip, and seeing the collection of analog synths at Institute for Computer Music and Electronic Media (ICEM) in Essen-Werden was a memorable experience, even if it meant sitting through almost an entire day of dry, cliched electroacoustic compositions (sometimes with goddamned opera singers!) to get to that point. And finally props to the Estonians for You Must Relax – A Day Without the Mobile Phone, by Eve Arpo and Riin Rõõs. If only every day could be so nice!

Thanks go out to Servando Barreiro for being Da Roadie, and to Timo Toots for being Da Man!

Now Playing

bruno madernamusica elettronica[1994 stradivarius]
common eider, king eiderworn[2010 root strata]
david tudorneural synthesis nos. 6-9[1995 lovely]
earle brownselected works 1952-1965[2006]
grouperhold-sick 7″[2010 room40]
heart museumleaf[2010 mars pyramid]
heckerneu[2010 editions mego]
jan jelinek & masayoshi fujitabird lake objects[2010 faitiche]
keiji haino & pan sonicin the studio 2LP[2010 blast first petite]
mood organcalcinatio 52 x C13, vols. 9 & 10[2010 self-released][thx timm!]
nadjasky burial[2010 latitudes]
the dan people (ivory coast)dan masks[1993 ocora]
various artistsforge your own chains-heavy psychedelic ballads and dirges 1968-1974[2010 now-again]
various artistsmata la pena-a compilation of international music[2010 mississippi]
various artistsstring of pearls_jewels of the 78rpm era 1918-1951[2010 mississippi]
von goatseptic illumination[2010 nuclear war now!]

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Chaotic Colorfields

Posted in Text on August 14th, 2010 by admin


The Chaotic Colorfields performance exploits the psychological intensification which pulsed light adds to the audience’s perception of a sonic event, as well as the physical effect upon the receptors of the eye created by contrasting colorfields. Four colored strobes are directly driven by a self-built analog synthesizer set up to calculate a variety of chaotic feedback systems. Louder than bright and brighter than loud.

Upcoming Performances

EDIT: I’ve decided to postpone this one a bit, to spend more time on making it the best it can possibly be. Upcoming shows in Den Haag, Budapest and Aalborg will be solo improvisations for self-built analog synthesizer without the strobes…


* Self-built Analog Modular Synthesizer w/ Light Controller Module
* Stereo or Quadrophonic (preferred) PA System
* Four 1500W or brighter DMX Strobelights, each with one Color Filter (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow/Orange)
* Smoke Machine
* Total Darkness


Chaotic Synthesis

Chaotic systems are deterministic dynamic systems that have a high sensitivity to initial conditions. Only dynamic systems that include a nonlinear feedback path are capable of chaotic behavior. Common examples of chaotic systems include coupled pendulums, pseudorandom number generators, and the earth’s weather system[…] Nonlinearity and feedback are necessary conditions for the existence of chaotic processes.[1]

The Colour Out of Space

The colour, which resembled some of the bands in the meteor’s strange spectrum, was almost impossible to describe; and it was only by analogy that they called it colour at all…

…as the column of unknown colour flared suddenly stronger and began to weave itself into fantastic suggestions of shape which each spectator described differently, there came from poor tethered Hero such a sound as no man before or since ever heard from a horse[…] That was the last of Hero till they buried him next day.[2]

Imaginary Colors

Non-physical, unrealizable, or imaginary colors are points in a color space that correspond to combinations of cone cell responses that cannot be produced by any physical (non-negative) light spectrum.[3] Thus, no object can have an imaginary color, and imaginary colors cannot be seen under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, they are useful as mathematical abstractions for defining color spaces.[4]

Perception of Imaginary Colors

If a saturated green is viewed until the green receptors are fatigued and then a saturated red is viewed, a perception of red more intense than pure spectral red can be experienced. This is due to the fatigue of the green receptors and the resulting lack of their ability to desaturate the perceptual response to the output of the red receptors.[5]

Color as Subjective Experience

In a viewer’s experience, the perceptual interpretation of the context is expressed in the color itself; we usually cannot, or only with unreasonable effort, separate the “real” color from its context. In particular, we are normally completely unaware of the “cognitive” aspects of color perception — discounting the illuminant, spatial perspective, shadows, memory, object concepts, available color labels, and so on.[6]

[1]Slater, Dan, “Chaotic Sound Synthesis”, Computer Music Journal 22.2 19 September 1998, pp 12-19.
[2]Lovecraft, H.P., “The Colour Out of Space“, “Amazing Stories” September 1927.
[3]MacEvoy, Bruce, “Light and the Eye”,
[5]Lindsay, Peter and Norman, Donald, “Human Information Processing,” Academic Press, 1972, pp 196–216.
[6]MacEvoy, Bruce, “Basic Forms of Color”,

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Offline 27 June-16 July

Posted in Text on June 21st, 2010 by admin

No emails from 27 June-16 July!!!! Come find me here… or in a quiet little nameless somewhere near there at least. If you can….

View Granicha in a larger map

Even after 11 years, the Europeans haven’t managed to socialize me yet. My deepest ideas of happiness still revolve around living in a wooden house, deep in the forest, with six dogs, three wives and twelve loaded firearms.


Panga Cliff, Saaremaa Estonia

Posted in Text on May 24th, 2010 by admin

Panga cliff is located on the northern shore of Saaremaa, at the end of the Kuressaare – Võhma road, close to Panga village. It is the highest of the Saaremaa and Muhu cliffs, reaching to a maximum of 21.3 metres. The entire cliff is approximately 2.5 km long.

According to folk tradition, Panga cliff was a place of worship and sacrifice for the ancient, Pre-Christian Saarlanders. Local fishermen poured libations of beer and whiskey over the edge of the cliff, especially at midsummer eve, to ensure lots of fish during the coming year until well into the 19th century. One source indicated that children were killed and thrown into the sea here until the 16th Century. Another told that the last animal sacrifice took place during the 1960’s.

Photos taken on a quiet walk with Carsten Stabenow, 23 May 2010.

Now Playing

daniil kharmstoday i wrote nothing(book)
dispiritbitumen amnii/ixtab’s lure(2010
gregory jones & roy sabloskyno imagination(1980 vinyl records/2007 creel pone cdr)
john wiese & daniel menchebehold the scathing light 3″(2004 helicopter)
lunar miasmacrystal covered(2010 basses frequences)
thomas lehnfeldstärken(2000 random acoustics)
various artistsserge musician’s tape[1983]

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Bent Fest Interview II + update(!!!)

Posted in Text on April 30th, 2010 by admin

1. Can you explain the process of putting together your live performance? How exactly are you making the different forms/colors of light affect the audio output?

The TONEWHEELS performance uses the same technology found in film projectors which use optical motion picture soundtracks. The amount of light which falls on a photodetector modulates an electrical current, which can then be connected to a speaker to make audio. The sounds are created by printing the waveforms I want to play on transparent spinning discs, and placing these discs on motors with a variable speed control. This process was also used for the famous Optigan organ made by Mattel in the 1970’s, as well as by a number of avante-garde composers, filmmakers and instrument inventors such as Daphne Oram, Jacques Dudon, Evgeny Murzin, Norman McLaren and Evgeny Scholpo.

2. What aspect(s) of circuitbending motivate you the most?

I’ve mentioned at other times that I don’t really consider myself a “circuit bender”, since I rarely take commercially available devices or toys and hack them. But the meme of circuit bending is interesting to me–the idea that people can re-purpose things which are normally considered “black boxes” in our electronic culture, that they can break them down into simpler things and reassemble them in new, fantastic ways. I find this idea very challenging to the consumer-industrial status quo of selling us new stupid gadgets every year, forcing us to discard the old ones without every considering how we could transform them into something else–or even build our own new things from scratch. I’d be much more interested in constructing some DIY caveman communications device myself instead of running out to buy the latest iPhone…

Tristan Perich of Loud Objects takes his self-made mobile phone everywhere. No camera, no games, no texting, no BS.

3. Some of the performances at Bent could be described as ‘music,’ while others are better described as noise/sound art. Your work seems to lean toward the latter, but which category do you feel you fall into, if any?

In every kind of music, the art form is in some way determined by the technology. But no where is this more apparent than in electronic music, which is full of gear and software which makes it easier and easier to make music–so long as it fits into a very highly predetermined genre or style. I don’t think of what I do as any less “musical” than europop, trance techno, dubstep or whatever other trend the kids are into these days. The difference is that my work is determined by very different technological choices and processes. As well as by a huge collection of heavy metal and hardcore records!

4. Do you feel like there is a division among circuitbenders who use these different approaches?

I can’t really answer that question except to say that I appreciate it much more when artists try to step outside the box and create something that is unique and personal to them instead of simply playing the kind of sounds they think other people will dance to.

5. What do you hope that someone new to circuitbending will take away from going to an event like Bent Fest?

I would hope that someone coming to Bent for the first time would recognize that there as many ways to do electronics and sound with electronics as there are artists who do those things, and that they might get some inspiration to move beyond being passive consumers of music/technology and become active creators on their own.

Bent Fest Highlights

Bodytronix‘s insane metropolis of self-made gear, :::vtol:::‘s lovely little boxes and warm personality, Peter Edwards/casperelectronics‘ beautifully abstract set (even after some douchebag ripped off one of his $300 creations from the merch table!!!!), KBD‘s weird post-everything space out session, Phillip Stearn‘s incredible neural network of lights as well as his festival photos, Daniel Fishkin of LÖWENZAHN’s magick-bent electronic folk, hearing a few minutes of Todd Bailey‘s Analog Video Synthesis and Bending lecture (although it sucked to have to miss most of it!) and finally figuring out WTF a Brass Monkey is late Saturday night (although I regretted it the next day)… Thanks again to Brendan and Suzanne and all the volunteers for pulling this thing off!


The Sommerville show at the Starlab next Saturday has been relocated due to flooding! The new location is in Cambridge, MA at MIT Building N52, 265 Massachusetts Ave. Get there before 9pm or you will have to phone a number posted on the door to come inside. The door will look like this:

Now Playing

frank popperorigins and development of kinetic art book[1968 new york graphic society]
guy brettkinetic art: the language of movement book[1968 studio vista]
joe colley and jason lescalleetannihilate this week[2006 korm plastics]
kevin drummsecond reissue[1999/2010 perdition plastics]
mudboyimpossible duets lp[2010 hundebiss](thx raphael!!!)

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Interview for Bent Fest, NYC

Posted in Text on March 1st, 2010 by admin

The following is an interview I completed this evening for the Bent Festival in New York City, where I’ve been invited to perform TONEWHEELS and give a workshop over the weekend of 23-25 April 2010.

> *Bent:* /Before you got into electronics, what type of music or art were you into?/

I’ve been involved in electronic, media and net art for the past 10 years, and although I make “electronic music”, I don’t listen to any contemporary dance or pop artists at all. A look through my record collection might turn up electro-acoustic composers from the 1960’s, old African funk 45’s from the 1970s, hair metal from the 1980’s or hardcore from the 1990’s, plus folk music from any number of East European, Middle Eastern or Asian cultures. Just no techno.

Right now, some elements of the noise scene like Daniel Menche or Kevin Drumm remain pretty exciting, as well as more conceptual people like John Wiese or Florian Hecker. On the historical side, composers like Eliane Radigue, Maryanne Amacher, Iannis Xenakis, Bernard Parmegiani and David Tudor have been big inspirations to me. I also listen to shit-load of drone, doom, death and black metal.

It’s good to remind yourself that nothing is really ever new or original, you can find the roots of anything if you look deep enough into the past.

> Bent:* /How did you get into electronics?/

Long ago, in a previous lifetime, I was studying writing in the university. Some things in my life changed dramatically as a result of my first stint living abroad, and when I returned to the States my new path was clear: doing sound, and in a place where there is genuine support for the arts (i.e. Europe)!

Instead of completing my thesis, I attempted to build my first synthesizer from an SN76477 chip, probably liberated from a pinball machine somewhere. It was a failure, and I spent the next several years doing digital audio instead. I finally came back to electronics about four years ago, when I was so sick of laptop “performances” I couldn’t stand it anymore, and soon after began the process of building my own modular synthesizer as well as designing the TONEWHEELS optoelectronic synthesizer.

> Bent:* /Where do you find inspiration for your work?/

The TONEWHEELS project was inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions, such as the ANS Synthesizer (Murzin USSR 1937-57), the Variophone (Sholpo USSR 1930) and the Oramics system (Oram UK 1957). With the help of Andrei Smirnov of the Theremin Center in Moscow, I did an incredible amount of research into the history of drawn sound and optical synthesis while I was designing the TONEWHEELS synthesizer. The experiments made with “painted soundtracks” in the Soviet Union during the 1930’s in particular are mind-blowing, and without the work of Mr Smirnov they would be unknown to the rest of the world.

I also spent several days at the Daphne Oram archives at Goldsmiths University in London, reading the letters between her and the engineer who helped her build the Oramics machine. It was fascinating! The same concerns she had, and the same learning process, were the hurdles I had to jump in my own work.

You can see the results of my historical research here:

> *Bent:* /What is your take on the circuit bending community at large? Where are you in it?/

I’d have to say that I don’t consider myself a “circuit bender” exactly. It’s very rare that I take an existing consumer gadget and try to hack it. My approach tends to be to start with the most basic parts I can understand and work up from there. In the case of the TONEWHEELS project, that part is called a phototransistor, and my first experiment was simply to run 5 volts through it into a mixer channel and start flickering the lights in the room!

This might be where I part company from Reed Ghazala’s “antitheory” approach, which seems to be very popular among benders. For me, the possibilities come not from blindly sticking my fingers in things, but instead from understanding the materials I am working with and their specific properties. That said, I failed every math class I was ever forced to take and still maintain a rather intuitive relationship with those materials, which is hardly the way a “real” engineer might work!

I’ve always maintained that the only thing that separates artists using technology now from the electronic art pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s–such as Steina & Woody Vasulka, Don Buchla, Serge Tcherepnin, Dan Sandin and David Tudor–is the internet. Whereas they had much more limited channels to find the information they needed, we have an almost limitless supply. Which is of course the other half of the problem–trying to get the signal out of the noise.

> *Bent: *Is there anything you want to accomplish while you are in New York?/

Finding a place to stay during the week I’m there is a good start!!!!!

But seriously…I’m negotiating to do a field recording workshop at Harvestworks as well as a couple talks at the Electronic Music Foundation on the history of optoelectronic synthesis and a project related to sound and architecture I’ve been involved in called Tuned City.

Besides that, I’m trying to look up the current locations of some of the old original audio and video synthesizers produced in the 1960’s and 1970’s, so I can see them up close. Every university I’ve been invited to speak at in the US and the UK all seem to have some analog treasure locked up in a closet somewhere!!!!

> Bent:* /Who are you most excited to see at Bent? Why?/

I’m quite excited to meet Eric Archer, from Austin Texas. He is performing as part of Handmade Music Austin. Eric and I have been writing for a year or two now, and his Light2Sound device is totally awesome, a really nice introduction to optical synthesis for beginners. I have a huge amount of respect for Eric and his creations–maybe because I have a suspicion he aced his math classes and actually had an idea what he would do with it later!

Now Playing

daniel higgsdevotional songs of daniel higgs[2009 open mouth cassette]
david tudorthree works for live electronics[1996 lovely]
godfleshmerciless[1994 earache]
jaques dudonlumieres audibles[1996 mondes harmoniques](Thanks to Jonas Olesen, who pointed Dudon’s work out to me when I had overlooked it all this time…)
julian jaynesthe origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind[1976 book] (Thanks to Professor Anthony Moore of the KHM who reminded me of the longest title on my mother’s bookshelf when I was a child…and to my mother for digging it up for my birthday!)
nik raicevicthe sixth ear[1972]
ruth whiteseven trumps from the tarot cards[1969]
steve birchallreality gates: electronic meditations by steve birchall[2006 creel pone cdr]
various artists(andrzej dobwolski, bob cobbing & annae lockwood, daphne oram, eric nordgren, frederick charles judd, henri chopin, jean-luis brau, john mcclure, various junior & senior high school students, vladimir ussachevsky)creelpolation 1 – 7″ singles[2006 creel pone] (Creel Pone, I fucking love you!)
yellow swansbeing there[2010 type]

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50 that did it in 2009

Posted in Text on January 20th, 2010 by admin

Almost too late for making “best of” lists now. Nostalgia for the old year is running dry and it’s high time to get on with the new. So, for what it’s worth, here’s 50 releases that did it for me in 2009.

aluk todolofinsternis[2009 v2]
anthony pateras & robin foxend of daze[2009 editions mego]
barn owlfrom our mouths a perpetual light[2009 digitalis](***pictured above***)
baronessblue record[2009 relapse]
ben frostby the throat[2009 bedroom community]
bodychokecold river songs[1996/2009 relapse reissue]
bohren und der club of gorelatitudes[2009 southern]
coalesceox[2009 relapse]
daniel higgshymnprovisations for banjo by the A.I.U. with piano and raindrops[2009 ideal]
drudkhmicrocosmos[2009 season of mist]
elehretreat lp[2009 important]
eliane radiguevice versa, etc….[2009 important]
elmnemcatacoa[2009 digitalis]
emeraldsemeralds[2009 hanson]
evan caminitidigging the void[2009 students of decay]
expo ’70psychic funeral 2×3″cdr[2009 ruralfauna]
greymachinedisconnected[2009 hydra head]
habsyllMMVIII [2009 psycheDOOMelic]
heckeracid in the style of david tudor[2009 editions mego]
hildur gudnadottirwithout sinking [2009 touch]
isiswavering radiant [2009 ipecac]
jana winderenheated[2009 touch]
jason crumerwalk with me[2009 misanthropic agenda]
john wiesecircle snare[2009 no fun]
josh layheirophant[2009 sentient recognition archive]
kevin drummimperial horizon[2009 hospital productions]
kinit herglyms or beame of radicall truthes[2009 hinterzimmer]
kk null/john wiesemondo paradoxa[2009 aufabwegen]
lightning boltearthly delights[2009 load]
merzbow13 japanese birds series(vols 1-12)[2009 important]
mika vainio & lucio capecetrahnie[2009 editions mego]
mika vainioaineen musta puhelin/black telephone of matter[2009 touch]
mudboymort aux vaches[2009 staalplaat]
nate youngregression[2009 ideal recordings]
natural snow buildingsdaughter of darkness[2009 blackest rainbow]
nicholas szczepanikthe chiasmus[2009 basses frequences]
omgod is good[2009 southern lord]
oneohtrix point neverrifts[2009 no fun]
oren ambarchia final kiss on poisoned cheeks vinyl[2009 table of elements]
our love will destroy the worldstillborn plague angels vinyl[2009 dekorder]
pan sonic & keiji hainoshall i download a blackhole and offer it to you[2009 blast first petitie]
peter wrightan angel fell where the kestrel hover[2009 spekk]
phill niblocktouch strings[2009 touch]
prurientrose pillar 11″[2009 heartworm]
stephan mathieuthe key to the kingdom 7″[2009 dekorder]
tiny viperslife on earth[2009 sub pop]
wolf eyesalways wrong[2009 hospital productions]
wolves in the throne roomblack cascade[2009 southern lord]
yogamegafauna[2009 holy mountain]
z’evsum things[2009 cold spring]

Coming soon: dates in New York, Pure Data book sprint, Helsinki workshops, new Particlechamber, analog synthesizer updates and everything else that’s so long overdue.


19-29 December = unplugged

Posted in Text on December 13th, 2009 by admin

BanskoI will be 100% totally and completely analog from 19-29 December 2009. Click the photo to see where… I wouldn’t even realize it if the internet suddenly ceased to exist during that week, so any holiday greetings should happen before or after. Have a good New Year if I don’t hear from some of y’all by then!

Now Playing

My six hours on the train from Berlin to Cologne today was “Electroacoustic Day”.  I guess the connecting link between all these pieces is a radical sensibility about sound which I think still holds to this day. None of these composers were at all interested in representing conventional sounds, nor using conventional tools to create those sounds. That, and an exciting sonic density and an almost overwhelming amount of detail at a near-microscopic (i.e. microsonic) level.

Bernard ParmegianiDe Natura Sonorum (1975 GRM)
Curtis RoadsPurity & Sonal Atoms (1994, 1998 IRCAM)
Trevor WishartRed Bird & Anticredos (1977, 1980 Electronic Music Foundation)
Iannis XenakisMycenae Alpha & Polytope de Cluny (1978, 1972 IRCAM)

And now that I’m back at the KHM with their incredible library, I can start looking up more material from all those academic journals that I could never afford before.

First stop: Dan Slater, Chaotic Sound Synthesis (Computer Music Journal, Summer 1998)

Review: Echelon Teufelsberg by Thomas Ankersmit & Valerio Tricoli

I also had the chance to hear Dutch saxophonist/synth-improvisor Thomas Ankersmit & Italian tape-loop maestro Valerio Tricoli’s Echelon Teufelsberg project last Friday night at Ausland in Berlin. Ankersmit and Tricoli spent a week recording in the acoustic strangeness of the former CIA observatory dome at Teufelsberg, on the far west side of the city. The performance was meant to showcase these recordings, however I found that most of the connection to the specific qualities of the space were lost, and the field recordings themselves could have been made in any reverberant space… or with any studio effect. The pair layered up Revox tape loops, vocals, saxophone and analog synthesizer on top of this, spatializing the sounds across four PA and two desktop monitors as well as around the room via a handheld, hyper-directional ultrasonic speaker, further transforming (and obscuring) the source material. In some ways, I would have preferred that this rather accomplished improvisational duo would have simply dropped the conceptual baggage of the recordings and focused on playing a real-time concert, however some of the bleed-through from the echo chamber did carry some interesting sonic moments.

More info here:

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Digicult Interview #2

Posted in Text on September 25th, 2009 by admin

My second interview for the Italian Digicult magazine has appeared today. This one relates to the idea of “media labs” and the sommercampworkstation event I co-organized last July:

…When I lived in Holland I tried to make a medialab. I find the idea of a medialab connected to a fixed place is a bit archaic, a bit dated. Personally, I don’t want to criticise other forms of practice in medialabs, but I’m very interested in transitory situations. I’m interested in creating multi-use areas that are quick and temporarily autonomous. In creating a transitory situation like “let’s do something quick, in on week”, you must not worry about the problem of being continuously eco-friendly or about long-term issues. For example, in the 80’s there were many initiatives, now they have stopped and they keep sucking up locations, money and oxygen. I’ve seen a lot of situations like these and they bore me, as well as being a complete waste. I believe that to create temporarily autonomous situations is more exciting. It’s a way to use the best elements of existing organisations, to take portions of them, configure them and make the next step…

Derek Holzer, from Sommercamp+Workstation. Temporary autonomous culture
by Valeria Merlini


Now Playing

coalesceox[2009 relapse]
jesu-infinity[2009 avalanche]
jim o’rourkethe visitor[2009 drag city]
john wiesecircle snare[2009 no fun]
keith fullerton whitmantaking away cs[2009 digitalis]
merzbowhiyodori(13 japanese birds part 9)[2009 important]
philip jeckspool cs [2009 tapeworm]
rorschach & neanderthalsplit 7”[1991 vermiform]
rorschachneedlepack ep[1991 wardance]
social distortionwhite light, white heat, white trash[1996 sony]
tiny vipers-live at black box, belfast a few weeks ago
tiny viperslife on earth[2009 sub pop]

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Unintentional residency, Mooste

Posted in Text on February 21st, 2009 by admin

“It’s not that I don’t like people. I just feel better when they’re not around.”
–Mickey Rourke as Charles Bukowski, Barfly

I’m at the end of a pretty heavy load: five workshops in four different cities in five weeks. That must have left me pretty groggy, because I managed to miss my cheap flight home from the final workshop in Estonia last weekend. So I’m currently engaged in a sort of accidental residency at MOKS in Mooste until next week when the tickets become affordable again.

It was many degrees below zero outside when I began to write this Tuesday night, and even the deepest footprints got buried by snow within an hour. My first action was to crank up the heat in the smallest room of the building, pile every mattress I could find on the floor, throw four or five blankets on top of that and bunker myself in.

I am completely alone here. There was a shy local boy once. He showed me how to light the fire, and then I never saw him again. If I want company, there are three busses a day to the next village where Evelyn Muursepp, the organizer of MOKS and my kind benefactor this week, lives. The local grocery store is also quite an experience, resulting in my current diet of bread, cheese, pickles and vodka. Every night I throw wood into the fire at 30 minute intervals until I’m too tired to continue. Then I fill up a couple 2L Coke bottles with hot water and climb into bed with them.

Is it all worth it? Hell yes. Almost every day I spend a couple hours navigating the quiet, frozen forests of the Estonian countryside, everything covered in white and the dead black arms of the trees reaching for the gray-blue sky. I’ve never seen a national flag so appropriate:

Image: .Janne.

So still, with some kind of Black Metal soundtrack playing in my head…”Eternal winterrrrrrrrrr…” And Thursday afternoon–snowblind! Unimaginably intense white light, coming from all directions. I retreat into shadows of the woods until I can no longer see straight lines, right angles, Euclidean geometry, any evidence of the work of human hands…

I’ve started to wonder why people live in cities at all, until I remember the awful reality: there’s just too damned many of them to do otherwise!