What is essential or new to the craft of fabricating electronic music? Who are we, today, as digital artists?
As a certain natural sameness descends on some computer-based music performance as the medium matures, artists at gatherings like next week’s In/Out Festival push out toward the fringe. And like the shifting pixels in Rosa Menkman’s imagery, these events indicate an emerging – sometimes glitchy – self-image of a scene.
In/Out hits New York Friday, September 17 – Saturday, September 18. The workshops on offer attack convention head-on. Sarah and Lara Grant make their circuits out of felt, crocheted sensors, and other fuzzy, furry, soft things. Rosa Menkman, above, turns file formats themselves into a medium. (Rosa’s workshop description alone might blow your mind.) Philip Stearns makes digital circuits from the most basic of elements.
You can attend the festival for US$15-25 if you’re in the New York Area. Disclosure: I’m one of the artists playing. But don’t let that stop you. Workshops and talks are mostly free.
But if you’re hiding out in New York on this 9/11 weekend or anywhere in the world, here’s a brief audiovisual portrait of this gathering of boys and girls and their work, as well as a crackling, humming track from Protofuse (France) for CDM readers, for play or WAV download via SoundCloud.
And wherever you are, they offer an opportunity for audiovisual reflection.
From Some of the Artists
Stephen McLeod (Toronto), aka Island Dweller, turns frying an egg into a pulsing, ambient wonderland. (No word yet on whether Mimosa music might accompany; I think I may need to schedule a brunch and propose and duet.)
Look out, keyboardists: using CV/gate control, drumsticks rule over musical input in the the work of jredsmyth/Smyth:
Chromatic Textures by Unearthed Music, below, feeds layers of shadow and light as video feed into the Gestural Music Sequencer (available for Mac/Windows download), their real-time generative music software, for a fused audiovisual experience:
And for some dancing, here’s mtn (Making the Noise), a prominent creator from the monome community, making electronic collaboration by feeding his work through Lukas Johnson’s rig for additional sonic manipulation. From a performance at Boston’s Music Ecology:
Workshops at In/Out show the range of perspectives on music technological technique, from bare-bones CMOS music to Brian Crabtree (of monome fame) talking about open source, from a future that looks like the spaceship-worthy Protodeck…
…to one main entirely of felt. (See Lara Grant’s thesis blog for technical details, or Rhizome for a studio visit with sisters and makers Sarah and Lara.) It’s difficult to read online, but these things are absurdly fun to play.
For more work by France’s Protofuse, here’s an extended live set:
So, to sign up and buy tickets:
And stay tuned for more artist goodness and how-to’s right here.