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Category: Focus

FEATURE: Support for VICTIMS of Cyclone Nargis

22,464 Dead(official); 100,000 Dead(estimated); 41,054 Missing (official);1 million Homeless (estimated)

We are NICA – Networking & Initiatives for Culture & the Arts – an independent, artist-run and not-for-profit resource development and cultural organisation, the first to work inside Burma (Myanmar) since 2003, with a history of researching and networking inside Burma dating back to 1997.

NICA are putting out this open call for support and donations to be given directly to grass root organisations and monasteries inside Burma which are actively providing hands on aid to the victims of cyclone Nargis.

NICA are providing an alternative way of channelling aid to the victims. We are aware that by now at least USD 30 Million of aid (materials) has been pledged by the international community, but knowing the bureaucracy inside Burma and the conditions attached by donors, only a fraction of this will reach the victims. The account provided here is the private account of NICA in Singapore and funding will be transferred within 24 hours directly to organisations inside Burma through the private network of the Burmese community in Singapore.

The first organisation that NICA will channel the fund to is “Health and Death Assistant Association” in Yangon (Rangoon) managed by a monastery.

Account details:

Beneficiary Bank Name: MALAYAN BANKING BERHAD
Beneficiary Bank Address: 14/F 2 BATTERY ROAD, MAYBANK TOWER
SINGAPORE 049907 SINGAPORE
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT Address/BIC: MBBESGSG
Beneficiary Account Number/IBAN: 14180294701
Beneficiary Name: CHU CHU YUAN

Please be aware that the bank charges across borders can go up to between USD 20 -30. There are no charges for transferring from Singapore into Burma. Alternative low charges transfer can be made through Paypal. Our account: ifima@gmx.net

For more information about NICA, please visit NICA’s webpage, which is kept to a minimum, to allow access from inside Burma, at:

http://www.artstreammyanmar.net/cultural/nica/nica.htm email: nica@mail2art.com

related news:

http://bangkokpost.com/topstories/topstories.php?id=127541

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/346390/1/.html

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=11823

FEATURE: “LX 2.0. A Four Part Curatorial Series. Second Feature: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

A four part curatorial series by Luis Silva

Second Feature: “Manhã dos Mongolóides” by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

May 24, to June 24, 2007

Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea
Rua Tenente Ferreira Durão 18b
1350-315 Lisboa
Portugal
http://www.lisboa20.pt
Project: http://www.lisboa20.pt/lx20

Almost ten years ago, in 1999, in a net art workshop in Brisbane, Australia, Young-Hae Chang and Marc Voge, a Korean artist and an American poet, were learning how to work with Flash. Instead of fully mastering the digital tool, they concentrated in two of its basic operations, making text show up in the screen and setting an animation to music. These two features, which they came to master after a couple of days, would define Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ artistic practice in the years to come.

Reacting against interactivity as a distinctive feature of new media art, and internet art in particular (the duo has openly stated their dislike for interactivity, comparing interactive art to a Skinner box, but without the reward given after the completion of the desired task), this Seoul-based duo has created fast paced Flash movies combining text and jazz music, drawing inspiration from concrete poetry and experimental film, and through which they have narrated stories in languages such as Korean, English, Spanish, German, Japanese or Portuguese.

Their net art projects (if you are willing to compromise enough to call them that) are stripped of everything usually associated with the field: first of all, no interactivity whatsoever, no hidden buttons, no hipertextual aesthetics, the narrative is as linear and closed as a traditional novel; no graphics, no colours (black rules with a few exceptions of blue and red), no photos, no gadgets at all. It is a textual aesthetic that imposes itself through a web browser window and in which viewers are immersed in strong stories that everyone understands and can relate to.

For LX 2.0 Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries created the Portuguese version of Morning of the Mongoloids, the laughable, yet tragic (and extremely ironic) story of a white men that wakes up after a night of “drunken partying” to find himself no longer what he used to be. Without any motive or underlying logic, the man wakes up and gradually realizes he is Korean. He looks Korean, he speaks Korean and he lives in Seoul, when just the night before he was a white man living in a western country. The piece is a delightful insight on the prejudiced views towards Asian cultures and specially, the Korean one. Not only are we faced with the main character’s stereotypes of Asian people, as he gradually comes to terms with the improbable change, we, westerners, are confronted with our own biased views of the rest of the world. It is us, not “china men” who are being ironically portrayed. It is a mirror-like device and it is returning us our own prejudiced image of ourselves.

A Special Four Part Feature on “LX 2.0″

A curatorial series by Luis Silva.

First Feature: “NeuroZappingFolks” by Santiago Ortiz

March 7, to April 7, 2007

Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea
Rua Tenente Ferreira Durão 18b
1350-315 Lisboa
Portugal
http://www.lisboa20.pt

Even though it may be a traditional concept in the new media art field, LX 2.0 (http://www.lisboa20.pt/lx20) is an unusual curatorial series in the Portuguese artistic landscape. It will commission, display and archive online projects created by artists who have been developing work that explores the Internet as an artistic medium. Besides commissioning four new works every year, LX 2.0 will also, gradually, create a database of links to different resources, like artists, exhibitions, platforms, publications and readings, in order to contextualize and create a theoretical context for the works and their underlying discourse.

The first commissioned artist is Colombian born Santiago Ortiz, who created NeuroZappingFolks. NeuroZappingFolks is a digital piece for the Internet. The lack of interactivity of the work can be seen as a neurosis of the application itself, simulating a frantic navigation through the web, in search of something unknown. The nucleus is constituted by an algorithm gathering information from the popular website del.icio.us, where thousands of users keep (for themselves, but in a public way) urls from other pages in the Internet, associating them with specific tags, short words functioning as labels and giving the chosen link some minimum amount of information. The same words (art, sex, Internet, anime…) are usually referred by different people, allowing for unexpected inter-relations between several sites.

NeuroZappingFolks is a non-linear zapping through the web, a path leading to the inside of a web of relations, a web that can be explored from one tag to a site, to another tag, to another site–from word to image to word to image. NeuroZappingFolks is then the simulation of a brain lost in the web (lost between servers, but also lost in the Internet’s double identity: image and text).

Santiago Ortiz was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1975. Artist, mathematician and a researcher on art, science and representational spaces, he has been exploring the development of shared spaces for different kinds of knowledge. Ortiz has been using communication, creative, and literary techniques, as well as digital space and architecture. He works as a teacher, having lectured all over Spain, Portugal and Latin America. He is one of the co-founders of the Blank magazine and of the Bestiario company-collective. He lives in Lisbon and Barcelona.

http://www.lisboa20.pt/lx20

Next commissioned artists include Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries and Carlos Katastrofsky.

Artist’s Talk

Artist’s Talk

——————-
http://www.treasurecrumbs.com/theupgrade/
Thurs, September 14, 7:30 pm
The Change You Want to See Gallery and Convergence Stage
84 Havemeyer Street, Store Front @ Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NYC

TITLE: Are locative media and psychogeography projects just
entertainment for white, middle-class, gadget-oriented consumers?

Mapping impulses, locative media projects and psychogeographic
investigations of place and community have proliferated over the past
decade. There is a rich, interdisciplinary field of practice and new
strategies, tactics and tools are being invented all the time.
However, there is also the need for critical evaluation and
discussion of the relevance and impact of these cultural projects.
Factors of race and class are often overlooked. Connections to the
material (often military and corporate) circumstances of the
development of technologies deployed in these projects are often
swept aside. Through the increasing corporatization and
militarization of participation and play (Web 2.0, Joint Red Flag
military war game), it is clear that more participation and play does
not mean more democracy and freedom. On the contrary, participation
and play are also deployed as mechanisms of social control.

Catherine D’Ignazio a.k.a. kanarinka will discuss several
collaborative projects from her practice, show other examples of
contemporary psychogeographic investigations and then open the forum
for others to do the same. The goal of the talk is to discuss three questions:

3 QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS:
1) Is locative media/psychogeography work just entertainment for
white, middle-class, gadget-oriented consumers?
(Hopefully the answer is no, but we’ll see.)
2) What is at stake in the corporatization and militarization of
“play” and “participation”?
3) What kind of agency do these projects have? i.e. What do they
really do?

TO BRING (optional):
Failures & successes. Bring a psychogeography/locative media project
to share with us, including your commentary about what kind of agency
it produces, how it addresses its audience, and so on. Both failures
and successes – and the numerous projects that have both – are useful.

LATER:
We will proceed to the opening for the Conflux Festival at Supreme
Trading Post to continue the conversation.

TEXTS: Audio on the Move, Project #3 edited by Molly Hankwitz

‘Audio on the Move’ seeks to highlight creative, artistic works which problematize the concept of communication and ‘location’ through the use of [particularly] audio and movement. Previous works have been: “Karaoke Ice” and “Invisible 5″ – both in the NMF archive.

PROJECT #3: European technoculture: EYFA Art and Activism Caravan 2006

European technoculture never loses its social grounding in the politics of networks, their architectural value and meaning. In a series of projects including The Transmigration of Cinema events and now this summer caravan, European youth arts and activists from eastern and western fronts engage in a kind of information war of their own making- taking on poltical and especially environmental issues as they string themselves out in a series of art and activist explosions across borders. There is an amazing vitality to this effervescent anarchy; an outpouring of recombinant energy; an appeal to empowerment; a committment to collective action.

Reading from one of the promotional postcards for the Transmigration of Cinema event:

“If mass media has become ground zero for the colonization of dreams, and arts and culture now resemble ground beef at 99 cents a pound from the Spectacle’s butcher shop, the XL Terrestials [as they affectionately call themselves] will soon arrive on the set to re-adjust your picture and put some pure grade reality and higher intelligence back on your plate.”

Reading from the Indymedia UK website from an article entitled, “Creative activist roadshow in east-west collaboration” is the following description:

The Art and Activism Caravan is a border crossing project, starting early June, travelling for 3 months from Greece via Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Hungary to the eco-activist gathering Ecotopia in Slovakia. Its aim is to support and connect youth, campaign, community and activist groups, their actions and campaigns with creative forms of activism. The participants will share skills in the field of video, creative writing, music and dance, sculpturing, street performance, drawing and painting, samba and screen printing.

Collectives: EYFA (European Youth For Action), Candida TV (video collective, Italy), Rhythms of Resistance (samba), The Mischief Makers (creative activist collective, Nottingham), Undercurrents (UK video collective), Karahaber (video news network, Turkey), Loesje (creative writing), Rebel Clown Army and VideA (video collective, Balkans).

Local hosts: Medsos (Greece), Bitola Youth Forum (Macedonia), Mjaft (Albania), Plagus_M (Serbia & Montenegro), In Stage (Serbia & Montenegro), Kulturanova (Serbia & Montenegro), Tuzla Live (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Uruk (Bosnia & Herzegovina) and ZoFi and Valley of Arts (Hungary) and Ecotopia (Slovakia). Artists participating are from Norway, Turkey, Italy, The Netherlands, UK, Ukraine, Germany and Armenia.

Links:

Creative activist roadshow in east-west collaboration
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/04/339230.html

The Caravan website:
http://eyfa.org/art_activism

___
‘Audio on the Move’ is edited by Molly Hankwitz

Review, Focus on Sonambiente, Berlin 2006: old Polish Embassy by Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

The following text originally appeared on Structural Patterns on July 04, 2006. It is republished here with permission. To read all texts on Sonambiente please visit http://www.ambriente.com/blog/

The group of projects featured at the old Polish Emabassy on Unter den Liden, I believe comprises the strongest set of works of sonambiente. From low-tech to high, from highly socially oriented works to articulations of new forms of mapping our Earth, the Polish Embassy features a wide array of art for seeing and listening. I will only discuss the ones that I most enjoyed.

Amongst the most powerful works on display in sonambiente is Artur Zmijewski’s “Our Songbook” (2003), a video that collapses social history with subjective memory or more appropriately the fading of personal memories and national identity due to war and social misconduct. “Our Songbook” features elderly Polish Jews who emigrated to Israel during or after WWII, now nearing the end of their lives at a nursing home in Tel Aviv. Upon visiting with these people, the Polish artist asked them to try and recall Polish songs of their youth. Few remember the entire songs, some only recall the refrain. The video is stirring and reflects the pain of dislocation, even after several decades. As I am someone like so many others today who grew up between two countries and does not necessarily feel a strong sense of nationalism, the video is awe striking due to the well-embedded desire to rekindle the actors’ sense of nationalism.


Artur Zmijewski, Our Songbook [2003], video stills

In a small dark room, lit only by small green LEDs that spotlight several digital screens mounted on the walls, Nic Collins has brought wreckage upon several cheap, noisy, hand held electronic games, the sort that are abundant in China Town. Collins tears away the plastic housing, manipulates the electronics, cables the screens so that they may be featured on the walls at an angle. The dancing cubes of the screens are lit by small LEDs that create a shadow play behind the screen. These screens are only connected to their brains by alligator clamps. Heaped in one corner of the room are all the electronics, the plastic housing and a blurbing speaker. Cheap, low-tech and messy, Collins transforms these repetitive, uninteresting, time-killing gadgets into an alluring installation – “no part of an eviscerated toy goes to waste.”



Nicolas Collins, Daguerreotypes 2006

Achim Wollscheid has animated the second story windows facing the tourist filled Unter din Liden as they open and close according to the movement of the viewers in the second story corridor. ” A program traslates the data gained by motion tracking into a correlative action of the mororized window openers.”


Achim Wollscheid, inlet outlet 2006

Both the larger GP4 (Global Player 04) and it’s much smaller sibling GPod are on display transmitting the sounds of the Earth. Jens Brand has made audible the real-time data of over 1500 satellites so that you may listen to the Earth in the comfort of your home or now with GPod while you are on your way to work or jogging. The GPod displays 3D model of the Earth, along with the coordinates tracked by the satellite that you select. You may listen to the low rumble of canyons or the high pitch of mountain peaks. Anything may be converted to data, mapped and computationally manipulated, the end result is left to the producer’s imagination.


Jens Brand, GPod

Another personal highlight of this festival is my discovery of Joanna Dudley, an extraordinary, multi-talented and powerful artist. I write this not so much because of her installation at the old Polish Embassy, which I did enjoy, but moreso due to further research into her work and the concepts and approaches described in her more theatrical exploits, so please have a look at her site! I haven’t seen her perform, so I might be mistaken, but based on the documentation the work seems very exciting.

The installation “Tom’s Song” (2006) is quite stirring for several reasons, the music is beautiful, the story behind the music is heart warming, it is technically involved and it is all analog! At the core of the installation is a song, “It’s June in January” sung by an older man Tom who also plays the ukulele as he sings. The floor of the installation is covered by portable LP players, each LP player is an individual element of an orchestra assemble to accompany Tom singing his song. From the ceiling hang music boxes that play paper scores to also accompany Tom. Full description



Joanna Dudley, Tom’s Song 2006

Review: Sonambiente berlin 2006 Рakademie der kunste, pariser platz, by Ricardo Miranda Z̼̱iga

The following text originally appeared on Structural Patterns on June 07, 2006. It is republished here with permission. To read all texts on Sonambiente please visit http://www.ambriente.com/blog/

As sonambiente berlin2006 is spread out throughout Berlin mitte, several large scale installations are located at both Akademie der Kunste in the old east and west of Berlin. Below are a selection of projects installed at Akademie der Kunste at Pariser Platz, on the old East side of Berlin. Their were several other projects, but I only documented the ones that I was intrigued by.

Near the entrance of Akademie der Kunste sits Jan-Peter E.R Sonntag “Modern Minimal Disco” where one stands on a round steel pedestal that feels as if it is hiding a giant subwoofer while bright lights shine on you as if you were the center piece of a photo shoot and if that isn’t enough attention behind one is a wall sized mirror with the listener as the focal point. The audio presents a narrative that follows a progression that reaches nerve wrecking peak while the pedestal rumbles under one’s feet, the lights shine and the listener begins to reach a club like ecstasy.


Jan-Peter E.R Sonntag “Modern Minimal Disco”

One room contains two works by Tilman Kuntzel – “Maintenance Measures for the SoundUnit Fan and Soundwall?” and “Sleep Capsule.” The first presents a wall of shelves with the adidas footballs designed for the 2006 world cups all listening via headphones to the matches played. Each ball represents a country playing in the world cup and each ball listens to its country’s games in its proper language. These audio broadcasts are being recorded and at the end of the World Cup Kuntzel will transform this recordings into an audio collage, I think largely composed of “GOAL” or “GOL” or “TOR”… and all the other forms of crying in happiness at one’s nation’s goal…

img src=”http://newmediafix.net/bloggerFix/uploaded_images/kuntzel1-799858.jpg”>
“Maintenance Measures for the SoundUnit Fan and Soundwall?” by Tilman Kuntzel

And across from this soccer balls sits an isolation room where one may lay down and escape all the hysteria of the World Cup.


“Sleep Capsule” by Tilman Kuntzel

As one continues into the next gallery, elegantly installed is Bernhard Leitner’s Serpentinata II in which several speakers play their own solitary audio. As one moves from speaker to speaker, one feels as if s/he is moving through a sound scape. The sounds of each speaker are incredibly crisp and alluring.


“Serpentina II” by Bernhard Leitner

The highlight of this portion of sonambiente is Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller “Opera for a Small Room.” As usual with this duo’s work they create an enthralling narrative with great technical skill. As I understand it, they have recreated the listening room of an opera lover. The individual may be a fiction, as the installation with exquisite surround sound, outside the reconstructed room tells a story composed of the records of the character. The installation becomes a bit Disneyesque with it’s thundering sound and flashing lights, for a moment it reminded me of Disneyland’s Tiki Tiki room in which the birds come alive and suddenly a terrifying storm comes along. I realize that this sounds like a negative critique, but in reality I absolutely love this piece, it is installation art, sound art, theater, fiction, beautifully created. Below is an excerpt of the artists description.


“Opera for a Small Room” by Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller

“R. Dennehy lived most of his life in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada. Not a lot is known about him, but he is listed in the telephone book as Royal Dennehy. One thing we do know is that he once collected opera records. He was infatuated with great tenors. We are aware of these facts because we bought all his records (which were signed at the top) at the second-hand store in Salmon Arm. There were approximately one hundred records. We are interested in the extreme cultural juxtaposition between opera and the smallwestern town in which R. Dennehy lived. What did he think about while listening to these records, recorded in cities half-way around the world? Was he a trained singer? Did he want to have a career in opera? Did he lose a lover and find solace in the music? Did he dream of traveling to faraway opera houses one day? We imagined him singing along to the records, creating his own opera, displaced in time and space. So we made a small room for the opera of his life. There are twenty-four antique loudspeakers out of which come songs, sounds, arias, and occasional pop tunes. There are almost two thousand records stacked around the room and eight record players, which turn on and off robotically syncing with the soundtrack.”


“Opera for a Small Room” by Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller

TEXTS: AUDIO ON THE MOVE, PROJECT #2 EDITED BY MOLLY HANKWITZ

Responding to a series of ideas which have appeared in various net contexts, New Media Fix will be featuring an ongoing editorial project on sound and audio-based artworks which utilize Œaudio‚ as a means to break spatial conventions and/or to problematize the idea of Œlocation. ŒAudio on the Move‚ features creative projects which question and explore notions of public space, space as interface, social ritual, and/or artistic and self expression.

FOCUS: INVISIBLE 5‚

Road culture long a fascination for artists involves the curious intermingling of public and private that happens when the individuated and personalized car is pitched against wide open spaces, small towns, and urban zones in a near cinematic relationship. In a new media context, this relation has interesting parallels to web-navigation, identity tourism (1) and the interest in locative or wireless media.

Created for California’s Interstate-5 corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles Å’Invisible 5‚ is a self-guided audio tour originally recorded for use on CD while driving. Thus, it reaches the commuter/listener from a landscape of cities, towns and spaces which might otherwise go largely unnoticed at high speeds and reworks the concept of passage. The artists‚ point out what a critical „pathway I-5 is along the west coast:

for trade, tourism, and migration, and functions as part of the infrastructure bundle that parallels it – supporting symmetrical movements of water, oil, and gas.

ŒInvisible 5‚ is a detailed work on the road and its impact on local environmental contexts, acting as an accompanying soundtrack across the artificial boundary of car and space; or how we view and understand space. Its essence is to bring what we see as passersby, and conceive as nature intoclose proximity with what can be heard: that the Californian environment is historically „unseen (and unheard) from the perspective of its activists and citizens.

This impressive approach suggests larger future installations created on the same or similar subjects taking place beyond the road. Invisible 5‚s strength resides outside the gallery/museum while utilizing the now familiar form of art intake: the audio tour as its physical connection to official creativity. One can imagine such conceptual and environmental works based on other personal maps— which we are seeingËœin the locative media context, as well as as pure audio.

For more information: http://www.invisible5.org/ Collaborators: Amy Balkin, Green Action for Health and Environmental Justice, Tim Halbur, Kim Stringfellow, Pond: Art, Activism, and Ideas, the Creative Work Fund.

Notes:
1. Nakamura, Lisa, „Cybertypes: Race, Class and Identity in Cyberspace, Chapter 4. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Edited by artist/curator Molly Hankwitz, ŒAudio on the Move‚ started in June and will appear monthly, with revolving projects and comment. Projects may be submitted for inclusion to: editor@newmediafix.net.

REVIEW, Focus on Sonambiente, Berlin: tesla Berlin Рcenter for media arts by Ricardo Miranda Zu̱iga

The following text originally appeared on Structural Patterns on June 07, 2006. It is republished here with permission. To read all texts on Sonambiente please visit http://www.ambriente.com/blog/

Tesla Berlin – center for media arts

tesla, a great space in the Berlin mitte, right across from Alexander Platz, is dedicated to the production and exhibition of new works encompassing installation, performance, sound and radio works.

Artists are given studio residencies and plenty of support to produce new works. As the directors of tesla, carsten seiffarth, detlev cutters, and andreas broeckmann, describe the art center:

“tesla is of Berlin laboratory for media arts; for the investigation of the relationship between art and science, old and new, analog and digital media; for open and process oriented artistic and technological research; for the dialogue with current form artistic practice; for the development of co-operation and networks” -

Currently tesla is in collaboration with the festival sonambiente Berlin 2006 in presenting new audio and visual works and giving sonambiente artists, like myself a studio for production. Here are a few images taken at last Wednesday’s opening at tesla:

réactions épidermiques by lynn pook + julien clauss

Participants lay in these hammocks that have various points of stimulation – at the hands, feet, heart and ears sound and some sort of mechanical devices embedded in pillows titillate and relax the participant.


pneumatic sound field by edwin van der heide

Embedded in a large steel grid that is permanently part of tesla’s courtyard is Edwin Van der Heide’s sound installation. The sound is created from air shot through valves. The valves are mechanized and digitally controlled to play compositions. At first the compressed air instrument is relaxing, but over time becomes abrasive as one stands below or near the pneumatic sound field.


The wooden knob to the right is for the volume and red and green buttons are on/off – simple and elegant.

In the main lobby near the entrance of tesla is a work by graphic design students of the
Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig. The students listened to electronic music compositions, by artists produced by the record label of Carsten Nicolai and then created visualizations of the audio. One may listen to the composition and study the visual designs by the students.

the public broadcast cart, miranda zuniga

I have been given a studio at tesla, however my project, the Public Broadcast Cart is located at the Art Academy in the Paris Plaza, across from the giant soccer ball. The audio recorded when the cart is out and about will be edited and re-broadcast via the tesla radio – 1:1, 95.2FM Berlin.

On tesla’s second floor, in a dance/meeting hall space is the installation “fades” by carsten nicolai. Unfortunately it’s a very dark installation that is difficult to visually document. Light, smoke and sound come together to create the installation, as light projects through the smoke onto a large black screen to accompany a surround sound composition.

REVIEW: Focus on Sonambiente, Berlin: Sound Art Floods Berlin by Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga

The following text originally appeared on Structural Patterns on June 04, 2006. It is republished here with permission. To read all texts on Sonambiente please visit http://www.ambriente.com/blog/

Sonambiente Berlin 2006 – Sound Art Floods Berlin

I’m in Berlin for the next six weeks participating in sonambiente, a sound art festival that is dispersed throughout the mitte of Berlin. And thus far this has been one of the most diverse and exciting festivals that I’ve witnessed. While the underlying theme is the creative use of sound, the festival is composed of performance, installation, radio, sculpture and public intervention and to boot the opening weekend is bracketed by the end of the Berlin Biennial and the beginning of the World Cup, what more could one ask for in one of the greatest cities of the world.

On the opening night I only made it to one third of the evening events, so I will begin with works documented that evening and progressively present documentation of other works over the next several weeks.

On the first of June, I made it to Allianzgebaude am Ostbahnhof, this is an office complex of which sonamiente took over the mezzane, second floor and fifth floor, in which artists were given offices and conference rooms to create installations. Appropriately this part of the exhibition is titled sonambiente_laboratorium, since many of the installations seemed unfinished, experimental or created by young artists in very hipster fashion.

Amongst my favorite works were:

“Koexistenz” by Young-Sup Kim, 2006 in which the Korean artists recreates precious, traditional urns from white shelled audio cables that feed the audio into the speakers sitting within the urns. The urns are connected to play a multichannel composition of traditional Korean drumming created from household, everyday sounds. Perhaps I’m a romantic pushover, but I found this translation of two Korean traditions into contemporary art quite beautiful.

“The Perfect Shot” by Satoshi Morita, 2006 is whimsical, and very well produced. Various sports balls – soccer, golf, ping-pong, baseball sit one small green platforms with headphones plugged into the top center of each ball. Upon putting the headphones on, you hear all the sounds of the given sport from the ball’s perspective. Incredibly well produced, each audio composition presents crisp detail, from the soccer players feet running to the ball to swift kick and flight through the wind onto the next player or the ground and the scream and chanting of the arena. Or the baseballs release from the pitchers hand, through the wind, into the painful crash of the bat and through the air into a mit… Perhaps the funniest are the golf ball’s sounds of birds in the trees, and the wind rustling for a very long time, I left it before the swing of the golf club, and of course the back and forth of the ping pong. Each sound work captures the pace and excitement of the sport.

All be it not my favorite work, “3HfA,” 2006 by Iris Rennert and Oliver Friedli was amongst the stronger installations as the presentation effectively establishes a 60s mini lounge ambiance. Viewers enjoy 3D images through the viewfinders.

In very Ars Electronica fashion, here are two clear resin perhaps, well some sort of plastic with lots of electronics embedded collars that viewers may wear. Apparently based on the video documentation, when two participants wear the collars and walk toward one another, there’s a good bit of clicking from the collars. Perhaps best to review the website:
Martin Bllardi

I didn’t understand this work, but there’s something interesting about it, perhaps the sounds that I didn’t record. It is an “Endless space for communications with myself – a vector based score series”

Here is one other installation that was visually nice:

There were several other installations/projects and one performance that I didn’t document visually, since they were primarily concerned with sound.