Recording of Martins Rokis live at a Skaņu Mežs event

On July, the 2nd, SHAPE artist Martins Rokis gave a performance at an open air event at the Kalnciems Quarter, organized by Riga’s Skaņu Mežs festival. Stream the entire performance below.

Although also known as N1L, in this occasion Rokis performed under his real name, preferring a relatively more abrasive, raw and confronting sound than that of this techno-oriented project, the debut EP of which was published on Lee Gamble’s new label UIQ. But neither does this performance quite resemble any of his earlier computer music – in fact, it’s somewhere in the middle between his two fields of musical activity, bringing references to dance music, noise and even metal into this otherwise abstract and free-form musical work.

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The Kalnciems quarter is a creative block, based in a district that’s especially rich with Riga’s wooden architecture heritage. Other artists on this concert evening were the American trumpet player Nate Wooley and dark electronic music producer Dubna (as well as some person named Sportcat with a DJ set).

The recording was made by Māris Butlers. Photo by Kristiāna Zelča.

 

Pictures: Plapla Pinky at the Toulouse International Organ Festival

“Raver stay with me”  is a composition and live performance project using church organ, amplification and electronic synthesis as its key elements. As part of the SHAPE project, the French electronic duo Plapla Pinky and organ player Cindy Castillo performed the show two times, the first being the show’s world premiere in Riga and the second being a show at the prestigious Toulouse International Organ Festival, produced in collaboration with Les Siestes Electroniques on October 10.

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Pictures: Jakob Ullmann at CTM’s event with Kontraklang

German composer Jakob Ullmann is a participant of the SHAPE platform, and, on November, the 2nd, his works were performed alongside compositions by Ernstalbrecht Stiebler at an even called Slow Motions, which was co-curated by CTM festival and the contemporary music series Kontraklang.

“Jakob Ullmann and Ernstalbrecht Stiebler have much in common,” said the event announcement. “Beginning with their approaches to time and the deep concentration and immersion inherent in their music.” Although the curators of Kontraklang and the CTM Festival arrive at these composers from different angles, this cooperation represents an intersection of their interests.

His pieces Solo I, Solo II, Solo IV and Solo V were simultaneously performed by: Erik Drescher (flute), Dafne Vicente-Sandoval (bassoon), Ellen Fallowfield (cello) and Jane Dickson (piano).

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All photos by Udo Siegfriedt

New piece by Vinzenz Schwab tonight on ORF Oe1

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Tonight on ORF Oe1 Zeit-Ton (at 23.03 Austrian time), you can hear the piece “técnicas recuperadas” by Vinzenz Schwab, which was commissioned by musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst and SHAPE.

It was presented in the framework of the concert series “Pure Elektronik” together with the IEM, the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics IEM of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

After the presentation at musikprotokoll, Vinzenz Schwab did a special mix of “técnicas recuperadas” which will also be the first piece on his new CD “dings#2″, coming out early 2016 on Canto Crudo.

More info on the broadcast can be found here.

Sagat SHAPE mix for NTS Live

Stream a new SHAPE mix by the Brussels-based producer Sagat, broadcast as part of our ongoing collaboration with London’s radio station NTS Live. The mix features tracks from the likes of Linkwood, The Hers and Strategy, as well as a previously unreleased piece by Sagat himself.

Shape w/ Sagat – 25th November 2015 by Nts Radio on Mixcloud

Just as the identity of Brussels is unclear, forever shifting and very much alive, so is the sonic world Sagat conjures up, moving the listener into forever unexpected syncopations and melodic elements that seem to tell the story of human flesh being fused with fiber optics SAGAT doesn’t score a soundtrack to his memories of Brussels, he makes the music as he lives in the city, traversing it on a daily basis. Not many people can pin down the elusive mix between all the seemingly contradictory elements that make up the city, but SAGAT has caught this essence for long enough to present it to you, before it crumbles and reconfigures into his next productions.

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For other SHAPE-related broadcasts on NTS, click here.

Sound walk: An interview with Noise Control

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Insomnia Festival and dancer/choreographer Mari Bø initiated Noise Control in 2013. Later on Mari Bø involved dancer and choreographer Silje Solheim Johnsen, musician and composer Gudmund Østgård. Together they wanted to do a dance performance with a focus on the perception of sound and how the different frequencies in sound move the body. With the performance Noise Control the audience is welcomed into the performance itself, people can wander around to experience different sounds and different dancers. 

What was the inspiration & motivation behind the project?

Mari Bø: I have worked as a volunteer for the Insomnia festival for a couple of years, and I am also working as a freelance dancer and choreographer. My inspiration for starting this project actually came from the dancefloor at Insomnia: Tromsø is a small town and people are usually kind of typically Norwegian when they go out –  to meet friends or to talk, maybe to dance a bit if the music is good. At Insomnia however, it is different. People go there purely to dance and experience new music.

One of the things I loved about my last few years at Insomnia was the dancefloor. It was full with people listening to the same music as me, but who are moving in totally different ways and tempi, facing different directions and generally doing their own thing regardless of the others. Even though they are listening to the same thing, they are experiencing and interpreting it differently.

For me this was very interesting. I work a lot with music in my dance performances, and the thought that my audience could be listening to the same thing, but actually hearing different things, was a new one. I find that people usually listen to different things in music; some people are preoccupied with the bass and the rhythm (that’s me), while others only listen to the melody, some only hear the lyrics and others only the tenors. As a dancer I feel that this individual interpretation probably also expands to the way we in turn watch movement: If you are listening to the bassline you might see something else in the movements than someone who is only listening to the lyrics.

Our idea was to explore this; to control the music that people are hearing (Noise Control), and therefore allow them to listen to something else than what they are used to, thereby maybe also see new ways of connecting music and movement. Filtering the music and portioning it out in different speaker solutions made it possible to listen to different things as you are moving around in the installation and seeing the dancers and the scenography from different angles.

Can you speak about the main idea of the performance – “ a focus on the perception of sound and how the different frequencies in the sound move the body”?

In Noise Control we are preoccupied with how the audience experiences music, but also how the dancers and musician experience it, and how it inspires us to move. We also wanted to challenge both ourselves and our audience to listen to something else in the music, and explore how this new way of listening might inspire other types of movement.

How was the experience of putting the performance together and working in interdisciplinary fields and with artists from different fields and media?

It has been a long and interesting journey for all the people involved. During the development of the project, we worked closely between the fields, meeting and jamming/bouncing ideas, but also filming/recording/drawing what we were working on, and sending it to each other. I like to think that the performance is a result of a genuine curiosity in music, movement, light and scenography, and a wish to understand and explore these fields together.

We have performed this project several times since the debut, and just a couple of months ago we were in Kristiansand, Norway, where we played 8 performances over 3 days. That was kind of exhausting, BUT something really interesting started to happen; we were so confident in the performance that all of us started to improvise and explore during; suddenly the music could change to something totally new, one of the dancers might have done something really unexpected, and the light design was constantly changing and evolving. I think the reason for this is that we have left the performance open towards all the different fields of art, allowing the performers to develop their fields.

What is the role of sound itself as a medium and also its relation to the human factor/aspect?

For me as a dancer, music is one of my main sources of inspiration, and I think that this performance is no different. The whole idea is based on the thought that people listen to music in different ways, and that this individual perception of sound in turn influences the way people experience other forms of art, for example movement. Therefore you can say that music and sound play a huge role in Noise Control, both being the glue that keeps all the fields together, but also being a huge inspiration and a major component in the experience as a whole. Personally I think that music and sound has a unique way of speaking to a lot of different people, calling forth different emotions and ideas.

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What were the reactions of the public?

We had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback for the performance from a lot of different types of public; older people, youth, adults and children alike. It was really interesting to see how well they responded to it. One grown man actually said that he cried during the performance, while another person was a bit put off when he found out that he had to walk around the room. I thought that maybe it would be too loud for the kids, but it turned out that they enjoyed it a lot.

Was there anything that surprised you in relation to this project?

Yes! I had a great time researching different speaker solutions and exploring different ways of projecting sound. I think that the nicest surprise was the fact that we are still playing the performance, enjoying the constant improvisations and ways of challenging and surprising each other.

What is the current state of the project, are you planning any developments etc?

We’ve just finished our eight performances in Kristiansand, and are now working towards a tour, targeting our new youthful audience. We are planning to develop the scenography to make it easier to move around on tour. I think that Noise Control will continue to develop and evolve as we play more shows, and I find that very exciting.

Choreographers: Mari Bø & Silje Solheim Johnsen
Music: Gudmund Østgård
Dancers: Åsne Storli, Bao Andre Nguyen, Maria Landmark, Silje Solheim Johnsen & Mari Bø
Lighting design: Torbjørn T. Sandnes
Scenography: Mari Lotherington & Eirik Vagli Østbye
Photo & film: Jamie Michael Bivard

Watch a video from this year’s Maintenant Festival!

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This year, the French festival took place between 13 and 18 October in Rennes and presented over 70 artists, including several SHAPE-related ones, such as Marco Donnarumma, Moritz Simon Geist with his Sonic Robots project, Hildur Gudnadottir, RSS B0YS or Lorenzo Senni. Check out a video documenting the audiovisual event.

For 15 years, the Electroni[k] organization has been developing a project dedicated to the contemporary creation in the fields of sound and image, focusing on multi-disciplinary and innovative projects. The early objective of the organization was to promote electronic arts through live shows, performances or installations. It now has broadened its scope to other disciplines like graphic arts and contemporary or electroacoustic music, while asserting its singularity. Cultural activities set up with different publics (school groups and families, students, persons with major social problems, etc) are now an integral part of the project that goes beyond the days dedicated to the festival in October but now takes place throughout the year (residencies among school groups, workshops, the Belle de Nuit shows, cartes blanches, etc).

Musikprotokoll’s SHAPE lecture live on ORF Oe1 tonight!

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Tonight’s radio broadcast “Lange Nacht der Neuen Musik” on ORF Oe1 from 23.03 until 06.00 tomorrow early morning is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics IEM of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, which, at the same time, is musikprotokoll festival’s Public SHAPE Lecture of 2015.

For five decades, the IEM – engaging in an exchange with affiliated institutions the world over in terms of its staff and artistic undertakings – was and continues to be a fascinating laboratory at the cross- and interdisciplinary intersections of art and science, technology and musical practice, electronic music, acoustics, audio engineering, sound, and media art. During this year’s musikprotokoll IEM celebrated its anniversary in the Schloßberg Kasematten with a series of “Vintage Concerts” and a vast line-up of speakers, vintage electronics and many artists.

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Click here for more info.

Olivier Ratsi: Time, space and matter (interview)

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Olivier Ratsi is a French visual artist whose work is mainly based upon representations of spatial perception and the experience of reality. He has developed a creative process based on the deconstruction of space and time. Deconstruction or fragmentation act mainly as an emotion trigger, which does not aim at showing what things could be, but more at questioning their references. He is one of the founding members of the visual label AntiVJ.

Can you talk about the overall concept behind your work?

My artistic process is primarily based on the perception of space. I consider objective reality, time, space and matter as intangible elements of information, and I use these notions to create installations that aim to question references of the perception of space.

In almost all of my works, I use a process that acts either as a revealer or a deconstructive mechanism. This process, which passes through sight, is like a bridge between my work and the viewer, so that each viewer can interact with the piece and extend the experience that it offers according to their own sensibilities.

Can you talk about AntiVJ? In what way do you think it has achieved what you set out for in the beginning?

Before meeting the future members of AntiVJ, I was going through a phase of visual experimentation in photography, VJing, audiovisual performance… It was after I met Yannick Jacquet, Romain Tardy and Joanie Lemercier, who were also questioning the concept of VJing, that we created the AntiVJ label in around 2007. The aim was to promote the artistic activities of each member through their personal projects.

We started to do mapping projection, working with 3D software and the concept of perspective. Meeting the other members and developing the label’s activities have allowed me to continue developing my own artistic process.

From this point of view, my work inherited at least two concepts that are directly linked to mapping and that have become the heart of my projects: perspective and anamorphosis.

What importance does perspective play in your work?

I have always had a fascination with the concept of vanishing points and optical perspective in the history of art.

My works essentially deal with space and the use perspective as a prop, or, at least, perspective yields the tangible objects that provide support for my pieces. Through creating processes that alter our field of vision or understanding, I override perspective conventions in order to break with the “normality” in front of us — that which seems obvious at first glance. Challenging perspective allows me to ask questions on many different levels about our own perceptions and the very possibility of existence.

My work wants to simulate an immaterial space in 3D through the use of video projectors on the walls of a room, space or architectural structure. It is not used to create a virtual extension of the existing space, but, rather, a new area where the vanishing points are no longer dependent on the exhibition space.

As well as using the same techniques (anamorphosis, vanishing points) for my projects, I also deal with the same subjects, namely the perception of space and our ability to see, watch and analyse our environment. My project Echolyse looks to dematerialise space through creating an illusion known as anamorphosis. The process of projecting onto a surface that isn’t flat, but which gives the appearance of being, is very important in my work.

What are “peelings”?

In the Echolyse project, to accentuate the optical illusion, I use what I call “peelings”, namely, hypnotic lines that sketch out the form that I wish to make appear.

“Peelings” is visual content created from a technique that I developed personally called perspective mapping. “Peelings” are created from spatial data from the projection surface, according to the perspective observed by the viewer, which I determine beforehand. These “peelings”, are projected using a traditional mapping technique through the walls of the installation.

These “peelings” create an illusion of depth that can only be seen when the viewer is standing in exactly the right place. The viewer should be both surprised but also able to understand how this visual effect comes about.

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You mention that you are searching for a “different way of looking at space and time”. Could you elaborate? 

Since my childhood, my relationship with space and time has always been a source of questioning. I’ve always had a deep admiration for people like Einstein, Newton or Muybridge who contributed to the advance of perception of our world.

Through my work, I’m trying to interrogate the perception of space and experience of reality. The WYSI*not*WYG project uses a deconstruction process through photographic artworks – taking and duplicating several pieces at different locations on the original image, and then assembling them in the same space as a different composition.

Another project called “Deconstruction Time, Again” explores the perception of time through chronophotographic content. The idea here is to reconstruct an image from multiple photographs, breaking the moving element into several plans, while sticking to a faithful representation of the fixed element.

In the Echolyse project, I create specific site installations using light and video projections, but the aim is the same. As a process I use the perspective and anamorphic technique.

The idea each time is that in order to share a different point of view with people I need to create a break with tangible reality. In other words, I would like to modify the type of information transmitted by the observed object, and received by the observer.

How do you cooperate with sound artists/musicians on a project? Is it usually the AntiVJ associated Thomas Vaquié? What importance does sound and music have for your works?

I usually work with Thomas Vaquié on different projects such as mapping or installations. Thomas Vaquié’s background is in sound design for films, therefore he knows how to listen to you. It’s a real pleasure to work with him. For example on the Onion Skin project, the sound design is as important as the visual content. I have created all visual content first and then gave it to him. Subsequently, Thomas Vaquié composed a musical score based on the movement of the “peelings”. The shape, speed, appearance, interaction, decomposition of each “peeling” contributes to an original soundtrack that reinforces this impression of volume and space.

www.ratsi.com

Listen: Sagat’s Bepotel project live at Schiev

Consisting of SHAPE artist Sagat and his colleagues &apos and Walrus, the Bepotel project builds sonic landscapes. Hazy or sparkling, the sound is just a portal to digital emotions: widescreensympathy, lukewarm spandexconviviality, miscalculated disorder, cold hammersweat…

Listen to their live set from the very first edition of Schiev festival in Brussels – the youngest member of the SHAPE festival family.

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The music of Bepotel and Sagat has been published by Vlek records as well as the collective’s own Bepotel records.

Schiev 2015 live: bepotel by Schievfestival on Mixcloud

The set was recorded on the 7th of November at the Beursschouwburg club.