Regnskog Bergen 2010 video + photos

Posted in Documentation on November 6th, 2010 by admin

Regnskog Bergen 2010 from macumbista on Vimeo.

Regnskog is a contemporary re-interpretation of David Tudor’s series of compositions from the 1970’s entitled Rainforest. It uses various types of sonic transducers to play live sounds through the assortment of resonant metal objects suspended by wires in the performance space. Additionally, an 8×8 matrix mixer allows the sound from any of the objects to be sent to any of the performers, making the whole piece an experiment in generative chaos.

The structure of the piece is improvisational, shifting between relatively static installation-like moments and performative sections where the artists seek new relationships with the objects and each other. The audience is free to move around the performance space, engage in conversations and explore the resonant objects, thus adding new life to the rainforest.

The performers: Harald Fetveit (Oslo), Gisle Frøysland (Bergen), Derek Holzer (Berlin), Ryan Jordan (London), Jørgen Knudsen (Bergen), Signe Lidèn (Bergen), Julien Ottavi (Nantes), Jørgen Træen (Bergen)

Produced 10-16 October 2010 in Bergen, Norway by Video by Derek Holzer and Elisabeth Nesheim.

Photos courtesy of Elisabeth Nesheim, Signe Lidèn and svennevenn


After some years working in this experimental music scene, you realize that even if you put a bunch of performers in the same room and tell them they are working on the same thing, they all remain soloists at heart. Regnskog suffered initially as any group project might from egoistic hotdoggery, with some artists unable to look past the object in front of them as their own personal PA system. Once we got past that phase, things opened up quite a bit on the second night with many of us experimenting with the entire room as instrument and system, much as I originally intended. A small but highly engaged audience explored the room as well–listening, looking, touching and even singing with the pieces! It was a massive learning experience for me personally, which I hope to benefit from with the next two prospective versions of the project in Berlin and Tallinn during 2011. Details as soon as they are confirmed…

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TONEWHEELS Installation, Access Space Sheffield UK

Posted in Documentation on July 23rd, 2008 by admin

Current location = Sheffield, UK, where I’m doing an installation version of TONEWHEELS for an open-source community-access computers & technology center named, appropriately enough, Access Space. I’m in the UK till 3 August, then back to Berlin, and I promise to give a report on the Tuned City event then.

TONEWHEELS Installation
Derek Holzer
Access Space Artist-in-Residence
19 July – 1 August, 2008
Access Space, 1 Sidney Street, Sheffield UK

TONEWHEELS is an experiment in converting graphical imagery to sound, inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions. Transparent tonewheels with repeating patterns are spun over light-sensitive electronic circuitry to produce sound. This all-analog set is performed entirely live without the use of computers, using only overhead projectors as light source, performance interface and audience display. In this way, TONEWHEELS aims to open up the “black box” of electronic music and video by exposing the working processes of the performance for the audience to see.

Up until now, TONEWHEELS has been realized as a live performance or a workshop (at WAVES, Dortmund, May 2008). However, for Access Space, Holzer has decided to create a playable installation based on these simple optoelectronic principles. Users of Access Space will be invited to produce patterns for the spinning tonewheels as well as graphical scores to be projected on the instrument in order to play it.

The inspiration for this installation comes from the ANS synthesizer. The ANS is a pioneering electronic music instrument conceived and built by Evgeny Murzin in the Soviet Union during the late 1950’s. It is also one of the first experiments in direct graphical composition. To compose with the ANS, the user scratches lines through the opaque black covering on a glass plate. Light shines through these lines as the plate passes through the machine, and activates photocells inside it. Lines at the bottom of the plate produce low tones, while lines at the top of the plate produce high tones.

The only existing ANS is installed in the Theremin Center in Moscow. Soviet composers such as Edward Artemyev used the ANS to record the soundtracks for Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” and “Solaris”, and more recently the English group Coil released a triple CD realized on the instrument. Outside Moscow, the legacy of the ANS lives on largely in the software world. Any kind of software which allows the user to “draw” or “paint” with sound, such as the UPIC softwares developed by Iannis Xenakis at IRCAM, IanniX, HighC or the MetaSynth software, owes a great deal to the ANS.

The completed TONEWHEELS instrument (housed in a beautiful old wooden Grandfather Clock cabinet) as well as the user-designed wheels and scores will be presented on Friday, 1 August 2008 at Access Space, 1 Sidney Street, Sheffield UK. Many thanks to Jake Harries, Access Space and Andrei Smirnov for their support and assistance with this project.

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