Maurizio Martinucci (TeZ): Creative investigation in music, art, science

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Maurizio Martinucci (aka TeZ) is an Italian interdisciplinary artist and independent researcher based in Amsterdam. He focuses primarily on generative compositions with spatialised sound for live performances and installations. In his works, he adopts custom software and hardware, featuring original sonification and visualization techniques to investigate and magnify subtle vibrational phenomena. TeZ is also the founder of the Optofonica platform for Synesthetic Art-Science in Amsterdam, and a member of the legendary industrial band, Clock DVA.

You define your work as a “creative investigation”. Can you explain?

It’s always been difficult for me to frame my interests and actual work in one “grid” so to speak, be it music, art, science, or any other specific domain of activity. In fact, I find myself involved every other day with something that I actually don’t know much about, but that has evoked some kind of inner resonance. What excites me is the idea that I can learn something new every day and “wow” with it! The act of discovery through experiments is essential in this process, and I seem to always find a thread that connects my explorations with a pretty high degree of coherence. I like to define myself as an “independent researcher”, because it keeps the grid malleable and allows me to interact with very different people and operate in different contexts such as festivals, galleries, museums, academies, hackerspaces, makerspaces, and other experimental research centres. Investigation is the act of research that can be conducted with the flexible strategies of creativity. Creation is ultimately the materialisation of such research, and the way to give others access to that knowledge, possibly invoking their curiosity.

Drawing from question 1, do you see creativity as a positivist phenomenon? As something that is not as abstract as is sometimes claimed?

Nothing is abstract. Maybe we can’t find immediate and recognisable patterns in the process of experimentation, but that’s the beauty of it. The moment of discovery is the moment where the pattern emerges to reveal other dimensions, like in Pandora’s boxes.  We can even create abstractions. There’s nothing wrong with it, as long as we don’t identify that with objective truth or exact description of reality. Then it becomes dogmatic and confines knowledge into a rather narrow space. In both art and science, we constantly use codes as tools of explorations. We could say that these codes are abstract, but again, they’re just instruments.

You also question “art as representation” and rather prefer “art as experience”. Is art something that should be primarily experienced? 

I can’t speak in general for art, but for my work, yes. Addressing the so-called “lower senses” and evoking synaesthetic perceptions has been a central aspect of my work for the past ten years.  In fact, it’s a strategy to avoidhabitual and culture-induced interpretations of the event one is witnessing . This doesn’t mean that looking at a traditional painting has no value. On the contrary, one has a chance to “feel” how and where that painting is producing a specific sensation inside the viewer. But maybe it makes more sense to create a space for emerging sensations rather than an object of aesthetic appreciation, if the goal is to somehow expand the perceptual abilities of the spectator.

Many of your works subvert human senses – disorient and challenge the audience. What fascinates you about human senses and which ways of exploring and experimenting with them do you find the most intriguing?

Working with my friend artist/writer/professor Chris Salter and with sensory anthropologist David Howse has been a fantastic opportunity to deepen these aspects and create large-scale installations that explore both the sensory and the cultural bias of perception. We’ve tried, in the course of many iterations, to explore the many intricate ways we interpret an experience through guided (at times) or completely loose paths of sensory stimulations. Subverting the visual dimension is the first and foremost strategy, for example by saturating the visual field with blasting or stroboscopic lights orchestrated in particular spatial architectures, or tricking the sight with either pitch dark environments or vision-blurring visors. The body seeks meaning by stretching the other senses to reach the boundaries of the space and navigate in it. The coupling with other haptic, olfactory, and gustatory stimuli maximizes this tension and allows novel sensations to arise that escape our own ability of description. I consider this an opportunity for expanding and accessing further levels of consciousness. In collaboration with researchers at Concordia and McGill universities in Montreal, we’ve been developing specific technologies that allow us to compose with multimodal and multi-sensory instruments.

You collaborate with the legendary band, Clock DVA. Can you talk about your collaboration?

I’ve been a fan of Clock DVA and TAGC since the early 80s. DVA’s turn to cybernetic music with Hacker / Buried Dreams has inspired a great deal of my music production in the 90s. My interest in spatial sound was most definitely inspired by Digitaria, TAGC’s pioneering endeavour in ambisonics, a technique that in those days was used almost exclusively in research centres. Their attempt to bring it to a larger public in those days was truly admirable!  TAGC’s Meontological series is also a superb example of how music and science can mutually inform each other and trigger obscure curiosities.

In 2009, I contacted Adi on Myspace and proposed a collaboration that would bring Digitaria back to its original ambisonics dimension but in the form of an immersive installation. We then met in London at the first TAGC live gig after over 15 years, and agreed to meet next in Amsterdam at my studio (Optofonica) where we could work on the ambisonics installation project. A few weeks later, I received an email where Adi invited me to actually become part of both the revived DVA and TAGC line-ups and to prepare the first large-scale live performance at Leipzig’s Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT) festival. We made a rather incredible show, with spatial video and sound, at WGT in 2011. Ever since then, I’ve been involved in a number of live and studio projects with Adi and I’m currently an official member of DVA together with the very talented Panagiotis Tomaras, who mostly works on the visual side. Adi and I just finished the new DVA EP, Neoteric, and we’re preparing a long overdue new album, aimed to see the light before the end of this year.

Aside from the band, you have also worked with many inspiring personalities, such as Kim Cascone, Scanner, etc. Which collaboration do you most cherish?

Kim and Robin, as you mentioned them, are certainly among the best “tuned” to my artistic sensibility. They’re also old time friends, especially Robin, with whom I’ve been exchanging letters, tapes, and magazines since the mid-80s, mostly stuff related to the early industrial movement. I love to play live with Robin. We never rehearse, we just meet on stage and somehow the magic happens.. and we have a lot of fun! I must also mention Saverio Evangelista (of Esplendor Geometrico) and our project M.S.B. that dates back to 1990. We’re still active and currently producing a new record too.  Anyways, I cherish all of my collaborations, really! They are all different, exploring different ideas and styles. And there are many more artists I’d like to work with.

Can you talk about Optofonica Laboratory for Immersive ArtScience?

I founded Optofonica in 2006 as “platform for synesthetic media and sound spatialisation”. For about 3 years, I worked really hard in order to put together a roster of artists that would showcase original live and studio works at festivals and other dedicated venues. The basic idea was to stimulate these artists to produce multichannel sound works and to collaborate with visual artists that would explore the concept of synaesthesia. This took place at a moment when audiovisual creation had become much more accessible, but often too “easy”, pop-oriented, and not very experimental (see VJ culture). In the meantime I was working on the Optofonica Capsule, an installation that is a private immersive space where the sound is produced by the actual vibration of the structure, without speakers, and therefore administrated in a much more physical way to the body of the spectator.

I collected 23 pieces from collaborative works by over 40 top experimental artists for a 2.5 hour programme that would run in the Capsule and in Optofonica Screenings events with surround sound. In 2009, I decided to transform the project into a Laboratory so as to facilitate more artistic works and collaborations, and also looking at a tighter interaction with scientists. The lab has undergone a number of logistic mutations and is currently sharing space with Transnatural Gallery in Amsterdam. I’m still chasing my dream of creating a permanent space that has a constant and free public display, and where art and science projects can directly reach the general public in the form of installations, publications, and other informational material reflecting the work of the “labbers” who, like alchemists, work in the private and secret side of the lab with all kinds of instruments for acoustics, optics, electronics, robotics, fluid dynamics, electrodynamics, and also fabrication and rapid prototyping machines.

“Maurizio Martinucci (TeZ): Creative investigation in music, art, science”
PUBLICATION UNDER CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 – 2016, DIGICULT
originally published on Digicult

BAKK mix for NTS Live

Stream a new mix by the Netherlands-based label and DJ crew BAKK, broadcast by the radio station NTS Live. You can catch BAKK playing at the Todays Art festival in September.

“The whole podcast is like a cross section of what we might have played all the three together” they comment on the mix. “And at the end there are two upcoming tracks on the BAKK label with a sonic part of our favorite documentary added to it.”

Forged along their studies at the art academy, BAKK consists of a record label (BAKK Records), a nightlife stronghold (BAKK Militia) and radio show (Odd Beat Radio) run collectively by Steve Motto, Handsome Thomas and The Social Lover. Housed around The Hague, BAKK aims to pave a path that honours its squat scene past (think Bunker, Creme and Intergalactic FM) while at the same time charting new territories. Outward and onward, BAKK Records brought forth versatile releases from both legends and underdogs like Legowelt, Aurora Halal, MGUN, Robert Bergman, Haron, Halvtrak and Jeremiah R. Their collective background in arts is reflected in their choices – motley and bold – whether it’s flyers, radio shows, vinyl sleeves, DJ sets or even extravagant club decoration.

Click here for previous collaborations between SHAPE and NTS.

Elektro Guzzi’s Jakob Schneidewind unveils two new videos

Watch these two new video clips of tracks by SHAPE artist Jakob Schneidewind‘s projects Demi Broxa and Monochord.

This self-titled video was made at a live-studio performance by the duo Demi Broxa (Schneidewind on electronics and bass, with vocals by Agnes Hvizdalek), recorded in Vienna in May 2016 and filmed by Sabine Pichler. In October, Demi Broxa will be playing at the musikprotokoll festival in Graz.

This second clip is a video to the song Floating Tank by Monochord, Schneidewind’s duo project with fellow Elektro Guzzi member Bernhard Hammer. The video, directed by Mirjam Baker, is entirely made with the underwater footage as seen in the beginnning. The colours in the animation sequences come from the video footage without changes. The video footage is stretched (2nd sequence), then layered on top of each other in (digital) space and (digitally) filmed from different angles (3rd and following sequences).

Monochord’s debut EP Spatial Stereo is out now on Meakusma.

 

Photos: Les Siestes Electroniques Paris 2016

The Parisian installment of the Toulouse based festival enables musicians an exceptional access to the Musée Du Quai Branly audio collection. Selected musicians are invited to sample a set of resources of an unsuspected wealth and subsequently replay it during a free, open-air event.

This year, the festival took place in the last week-end of June coinciding with the tenth years anniversary of the Quai Branly Museum with a special line-up especially dedicated to the event. SHAPE artists Voiski and L’Ocelle Mare performed.

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Demonology and the world of finance: An interview with Orphan Swords

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Orphan Swords is a Brussels-based duo. Their critically-acclaimed music has been released on Idiosyncratics, Desire Records and Clan Destine. Yannick Franck and Pierre de Mûelenaere have collaborated with Ike Yard’s Stuart Argabright on several occasions, and have been remixed by Helm, Paul Purgas (Emptyset), Svengalisghost, Prostitutes, Dwellings (GNOD)… They’ve performed alongside Vatican Shadow, The Body, Black Rain, Extreme Precautions, Kyoka and more. Orphan Swords were nominated for SHAPE by Schiev Festival.

Could you tell me about the genesis of Orphan Swords, and also the other activities that you are involved in?

Pierre (de Mûelenaere) is in charge of Bozar Electronic Arts Festival in Brussels and I co-run an art centre in southern Belgium as well as the Idiosyncratics label. We’ve done other projects which were more art-related: mixed media and contemporary forms involving video art and other kinds of performances. Pierre had done his own music experiments, I have worked solo as an experimental musician/sound artist. One day he suggested that we do a more beat-oriented project. Pierre has a lot of energy and will and it was obvious there would be no slacking. The name came about literally out of the blue. I sent him an email with just “Orphan Swords” written in it, and he said “Yes, absolutely”. The brain creates free associations, and that sometimes leads to great art and interesting names.

Could you talk about your musical background?

I studied painting and became a sound artist at exactly the same time I learned to play the guitar. At some point I realised that sound was an excellent medium, so I switched from painting to sound. First my approach was abstract but then it became more and more musical. Pierre is a bookseller and publisher with a strong interest in music. Orphan Swords represents something that he’s always wanted to achieve with a band – there’s a lot of interest comparatively to what we do and what we could expect with such radical music. We both do other things, but music is still an absolute priority.

How does your involvement in all these extra-musical fields influence the music-making itself?

At the art centre I work for it’s really important for me to interact with people who are aware – if not inspired – by other art and it’s the same with the band. What is important is to get to a point where one art influences the other and feeds off it. Pierre would be inspired by a book and talk to me about it and I’d react with a movie. Lately, we’ve been reading French para-surrealist writer René Daumal who founded the journal and literary movement, Le grand jeu. He used extremely free and creative writing techniques and was engaged in spiritual research. He’s also regarded as an early pataphysician. His novel, A Night Of Serious Drinking, stunned us with the originality of its writing and the clear-sightedness of its intuitions. I’d say we are even more inspired by these things than by music itself. I will have the weekend experience with Pierre on my mind and adapt a musical technique to something else at the art centre that I work for, and Pierre does the same. There’s a constant opportunity to improve things by crossing boundaries and limitations.

I also wanted to discuss your sonic aesthetic. There are elements of industrial and techno in your music.

First of all, both of our sensibilities collide in there. I’ve been very much involved in post-punk and industrial, sound research and experimental music. The label Idiosyncratics is oriented towards that. One of the most recent successes of our label is Charlemagne Palestine’s record, for instance. Pierre knows everything about contemporary music because he’s quite an important curator here in Belgium, so he has to stay in the loop, and I’m more aware of what’s been done in the past. We complete each other.

Do you feel pressure from your knowledge of music and art history?

We don’t like orthodoxy. We don’t care if it has been done by an industrial band, we’d be more inspired by Sun Ra and doing it with the means of electronic music. There’s nothing to worry about if you do things sincerely and with your own tools. Somebody once said: “Yes, it’s been done before, but not by me.”

You have collaborated with quite an impressive array of musicians. Can you talk about your favourite collaboration?

Someone who absolutely became a partner in crime, a brother of sorts, is Stuart Argabright of Ike Yard. He’s extremely open-minded, but he knows what he wants, and everything is always possible. Creatively it’s like heaven. You meet up with Stuart, make music in a basement and certainly don’t feel like you’re with a more experienced musician who’s going to patronise you. We’ve been doing sessions together that might get released one day. I think it will be called “Black Swords”.

Can you talk about your recent record, WEEHAWKEN?

It brings together new productions with older tracks that we haven’t released on vinyl. It was released on Clan Destine, a record label from Glasgow. On a conceptual level, it’s inspired by the death of Alexander Hamilton, an important character in American history. I don’t want to talk too much about it, as it’s important not to say everything and leave space for free associations. In general, Orphan Swords is inspired by demonology and the world of finance, which actually rules the world.

Can you elaborate?

Finance is certainly more occult than any occultism has ever been. For instance, the title of our record, Risk In a New Age, was borrowed from the Bank of New York. “Risk in a new age” refers to investments in a new age – taking financial risks to invest. The album’s few lyrics and the tension between the song titles and the album name make sense in the end, even though in the process it’s highly intuitive. The album has lyrics that are “declinist” (like in fin-de-siècle literature). I’m pretty sure that our world as it is has come to an end. We can just prepare for what’s coming next. The signs are everywhere. It’s not completely pessimistic though, we are preparing for something else that’s coming, a different model. On the other hand, we like to keep this ambiguity of taking the bad side – taking the demonic names and titles from the world of finance – and not opposing it. I’ve been reading a book by Ursula K. Le Guin, a feminist Taoist science fiction writer, who said that to oppose something is to maintain it. We will never be in the role of political opposition. You don’t clearly state what you think about it, you just create something else with it which questions it.

What do you think is the agency of underground music scenes these days?

I like meta-politics, Gramsci’s idea that you can influence politics through culture. Any little change will eventually generate bigger changes. We don’t have any illusions about the impact, especially philosophical. People listen to music, but their choice of music already means a lot. If this message can spark new ideas, they might spread and mutate. It’s interesting to operate on a micro-scale, but with strong faith in commitment. It doesn’t matter if one or 2,000 people will be influenced. You play your role in some way, with your tools. Underground scenes are certainly more ethical than the world they exist in.

Are you optimistic about the future?

It really depends on how you define optimistic. I think the world as it is is going to collapse, but it’s not necessarily apocalyptic in the dark sense of the word. If you go back to the first idea of the apocalypse, it’s just a radical change, and seeing it that way it’s optimistic. The world as it is doesn’t work really. But it’s an end of an era, and that always comes with some kind of decay and extremes, what the ancient Greeks called hubris, an excess in all ways. Music can be a catalyst for new ideas and forms of intellectual resistance.

Looking for strange moods: An interview with Lanuk

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Hungarian musician Árpád Gulyás aka Lanuk started making music when he was 13, cutting his teeth in several noise and experimental punk bands. His Lanuk outfit began as a bedroom project in the middle of the noughties and led to appearances at numerous festivals, clubs, art galleries. Aside from Lanuk, Gulyás also moonlights as a bass player in a band called derTANZ. Lanuk’s early records (Nerma, Batla) came out on the Hungarian netlabel Pushya, and 2014’s ‘vV’ was released on Prague’s Baba Vanga tape label. His last record ‘d_ork’ was released via the New York-based Immigrant Breast Nest Records in 2015.

Apparently you started with music as a 13 year-old, cutting your teeth in several noise and experimental punk bands. Where do you come from and what sort of music scene was there when you were growing up?

I grew up in the north of Hungary, in a place with 4,000 inhabitants. It’s also where I started to make music. After the change of the regime in 1989, people started to open up a bit and experiment with new stuff. The local youth centre supported young musicians. We had speakers and amps, which were cheap but usable. In the early 90’s there were 5, 6 bands and one of them asked me to play with them because nobody wanted to play bass. These were unassuming, alternative, punk rock bands. We weren’t really able to play, but it was all very exciting. Everything happened locally, we rehearsed and played on the estate. It was a little isolated. We’d play for about 20, 30 people, but sometimes we had an audience of 100. Musically speaking, one of the most crucial points happened when I got a home made guitar distortion pedal, which constantly beeped and crackled. I enjoyed its sound immensely. I put together a punk band where noise experiments came to the forefront.

How did your music-making develop – you play both a lot of instruments, but also synths – in bands and your solo project. Could you compare the two?

Over the years, I’ve played in many bands on many instruments. From noise punk bands to acoustic ones, and beyond. I’ve always retained my experimental approach though. Sometimes it created difficulties because the bandmembers didn’t share my conviction. That’s why I started to make music alone, collecting samples with my dictaphone, manipulating guitar loops on my computer. In the early 2000’s, a friend of mine once took me to the X peripheria festival in Budapest, which impressed me. A year later, at UH Fest, I realised there’s a huge amount of freedom in working and playing with sounds. It fascinated me and I started to save up for my first synth.

Of course, there are certain differences between playing in a solo project and a band. In a band, you have to adjust to another person, and it can happen that someone is in a bad mood or they simply have different expectations about certain things. Sometimes it’s hard to find the shared sound. But at the same time, bandmembers can motivate each other. I believe one can develop while being in a band. In a solo project, it is more introspective. The big advantage is that if you suddenly get an idea, you can just sit down and play it. Whichever instrument I’m playing, regardless whether in a band or solo, I’m always looking for these strange, meditative moods which I can’t really explain, but they are always there.

Do you mostly improvise with your electronic setup?

The live aspect is important. There’s no pre-recorded sound, I can change any parameter at any time. I spend most of the time setting up the instruments – the sound design aspect basically. I rarely compose. When I’m ready with the setup, I start to improvise. There are boundaries, but improvisation is the main aspect. Often there’s no consciously built-up structure, I modify the theme during improvisation, change the parameters and try to react to the situation. I’m trying to feel the music. The recordings are also made this way. I’m just playing around.

Your music is quite dense, with tangible influences of breakcore, glitch, and IDM. How are your musical structures born?

My music is changing constantly. It’s an instinctive, improvisational type of music. I don’t really think about the various musical styles and genres. Often, it’s determined by a specific mood. I never listened to breakcore, for example, but I find fast, noisy music with a lot of broken rhythmics expressive. In my case though, it is more grotesque than serious. Children’s chirping, for instance, often follows after heavy rhythms. When I hear my last two records, I realise the sound got a little more aggressive and frustrated. I used to play more chaotic music, but nowadays I prefer slow rhythms with less sounds. I like the raw sounding of my music and also the mistakes. I wouldn’t like to play professional, clean music.

How do you make your music? Do you have a certain routine?

It changes. Sometimes I consciously try to tweak out a specific sound, but a lot of the times it is an accidentally generated sound that spawns a development. I used to be more active at night back in the day, but nowadays I do music early in the morning. I’m still fresh and can concentrate better, it makes more fun. Most often I do this in my small studio, but sometimes I also go outside. When I travel, I sometimes bring my instruments and jam a little. I listen to the recordings while I jog in the forest at sunset.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new record. Currently I’m putting together the setup, but I’ve already recorded some stuff. My new themes are probably cleaner and more minimal, with a lot of improvisation. I’d like to put together a well-built, unified record in autumn. There are also a couple of gigs planned.

Watch a video from Les Siestes Electroniques

Watch this atmospheric video from the Toulouse edition of Les Siestes Electroniques, featuring an appearance by SHAPE artist M.E.S.H. The clip features his piece Kritikal Thirst.

Just like all the other acts of the festival program, the participation of M.E.S.H. was kept secret until a couple of days before the first concert evening, thus inviting the audience to approach this outdoor event as an adventurous trip with each artist coming as a surprise.

 

Photos: Les Siestes Electroniques Toulouse 2016

Based in Toulouse, southern France, Les Siestes Électroniques is a summer meeting point for emerging artists from the field of adventurous music. Its ambitious motley line-up mainly focuses on new comers and aims at a professional audience as well as the general public. The fact that its open air concerts are free of charge makes Les Siestes Électroniques a rare and precious occurence within the landscapes of European festivals. Les Siestes offers an opportunity to experience the best of contemporary music though free concerts, club nights, and workshops and talks. Several SHAPE artists performed at the Toulouse edition again this year: Janus co-resident M.E.S.H., Bucharest’s manele fiends Raze de Soare, and Polish multi-talent Kuba Ziolek aka Stara Rzeka.

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© Cédric Lange, Les Siestes Électroniques 2016, © Pierre Humbert, Les Siestes Électroniques 2016

Music & activism: An interview with Hyperaktivist

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It was in 2009 when Hyperaktivist started to work on setting the groundwork for her DJ career. Ana Laura Rincón blended hyperactivity with activism, developing electronic music culture in her native Venezuela – a country with few record stores and few electronic music industry affiliations. Upon discovering the small underground electronic music scene in her hometown of Maracaibo, Rincón began organizing events, DJing along with friends and invited musicians. Later, she co-founded the SOLO club, which became a prominent and central space for electronic musicians and DJs from throughout country. Following completion of a degree in Mass Media, Rincón relocated to Berlin in early 2012, where she is currently producing her own music and just finished a degree in sound engineering. She was nominated for SHAPE by CTM Festival.

You have been involved in various aspects of the music scene. Can you talk about your beginnings?

I graduated in journalism and mass media in Venezuela and worked a little bit in that field, but I had been working with music since I was 19. I had the opportunity to open a club with my best friends in my home city of Maracaibo, which we then ran together for four years. One of my friends had an empty house downtown. One night, he took me there and showed me around and asked me what could be done with it. And I immediately told him: we should make a club. The problem in my city was that the electronic music scene had started to grow, but it didn’t have a place where people could meet and experience it.

Obviously, it was also not the main scene in the country. When we opened the club, it was really good because we invited everyone who made electronic music in the country. It grew from there and we also started to go to Colombia, Argentina and other countries. I was doing two party series at some point and then we also formed a collective. That’s also where the name Hyperaktivist comes from as a kind of a joke, because everyone was saying that I was too hyper: studying journalism, interning, running a club, and organising parties. The activist part comes from taking abandoned buildings and making parties there.

So you had this activist need to change something in the scene?

Let’s say I was angry at my culture because nothing we liked was happening there, so we quickly realised we have to make it happen ourselves. The club was an experiment, but a successful one. I changed the game, because for the first time in my city, there was a place dedicated exclusively to DJs and electronic music producers. The change didn’t only affect my city, but also the whole country. Venezuela, similarly to many Latin American countries, is still very centralist. Everything happens in the capital, even though the other cities can be huge (for example my city has 5 million inhabitants). My best friend, the owner of the house, came to Berlin around 2008 and saw what was happening there and returned to Venezuela full of ideas.

Venezuela is a very particular place because it’s on the coast, but it’s also very industrial. It’s a combination of an industrial environment with a natural one. That’s why there were these abandoned spaces where you could throw parties. We’d arrive and set up and reveal the location at the last minute. Most of the events were free and illegal and gradually a lot more people started to come. It was going great until the political situation in Venezuela deteriorated. Then came the currency exchange control and we could no longer access foreign currency, nor book international guests. There were four of us as partners in the club, two of whom later left the country. As soon as I finished my studies, I also left because as a journalist, staying was simply too much because of the political pressure. By the time I left, the leader of the revolution gave an order to persecute journalists, actually. At that point, almost all of the media belonged to the government, and basically all of the information was mediated by them.

How is it now in terms of the club scene? Are you in touch?

The situation hurt the scene a lot. A lot of key people that were working in culture have left, myself included. There was not much we could do at that point. If we had stayed, we wouldn’t have been able to make a change anymore. It also became dangerous, comparable to Ukraine. There was a civil war going on. There was no time to think about parties or making music. Even the internet connection became so slow that it was impossible to watch a video on YouTube without having to wait twenty minutes. I don’t even have a clear image of how bad it is nowadays because I’ve been out of the country for almost five years. There are five-hour food lines, you need permission from the government if you want to travel, there’s a limit to the amount of euros and dollars you can exchange. There are no record shops in Venezuela, you can no longer buy records online either. In my city, there are probably two people that have turntables. You want to make it happen, but literally everything is against you.

Do you also have an activist need to change something after having relocated to Berlin?

I do. I’ve been living in Berlin for four years and even though Berlin is considered the world capital of electronic music, I still think the vision of electronic music is very narrow here. There are also clubs that present their point of view on music and lot of young people think this is the only vision. In that sense, Berlin should start to experiment a little bit more. It’s kind of happening because lately there have been parties with a lot of different genres and communities. But Berlin is still a very masculine city. The music scene is ruled by a very strong male presence. Women need to fight to regain their place in this city. As a female musician and a DJ I’ve always had to deal with sexism and doubts. Even now when I go to a new place, I kind of have to prove myself. I started a new party series with the idea of reclaiming my place as a female musician in the city and also to honour the girls in Berlin. As a woman, you have to constantly fight and show how tough you are in order to stand out in a city where femininity has been lost. There are some collectives that are fighting for this, like female:pressure, but it’s also important to remember to give a little bit of space to upcoming talent. I want to make a female-focused event without people thinking I’m an “extreme feminist”, because this is an event that is about diversity.

What are you working on in terms of your own music?

At the moment – because of the summer – I’m focusing a lot more on DJing than on producing, but I always find time to make music. For example, the concert that I will be playing in Latvia for SHAPE won’t be dance-oriented. I’m going to produce most of the music and it’s going to be focused around sound art. I’m going to take it from very organic, minimalistic, sound-design sounds, up to “micro techno”. I’m very happy about this gig, because these things always motivate and push me to explore and to do new stuff. This is also something I really like about Hyperaktivist – I don’t want to impose boundaries, I want to feel that I can take different paths and explore myself and my music.

So the sound-design aspect is important to you?

Yes, I want to dig deeper into this. I’m about to buy my first modular synth and explore this a little bit more. I think sound design is one of the most important aspects of producing music. At the moment, I’m reading about synthesis and trying to collaborate with different musicians.

You have been around and experienced a lot in the context of the club scene. Are there any memorable experiences that stand out?

Ever since I started doing events, I’ve known I don’t only want to make parties. I want to create an experience. I want people to feel that they were part of something special and I always try to keep this in mind. When I play, I always give a lot of myself. When we manage to reach this beautiful moment when everyone is connected, it’s a reaffirmation. It keeps me going.

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Ana Laura Rincón aka Hyperaktivist blends hyperactivity with activism, having developed electronic music culture in her native Venezuela. She co-founded the SOLO club, which became a prominent and central space for electronic musicians and DJs from throughout country. ANTIVJ is a European visual label representing, producing and promoting the work of digital/media artists working at the intersection of art & technology. In mid 2000s, Jackson rose to the forefront of the electronic music scene with his Jackson & His Computer Band project.

His debut Smash was released to wide acclaim in 2005 by Warp. Jackson & His Computer Band had brought a sense of the post-millennial baroque to rave. Ten years later, Jackson was working at IRCAM, the Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination, and focused on special projects, one of which is Light Metal Music, a performance that manipulates metal surfaces and strings. Orphan Swords is a Brussels-based duo that has collaborated with Ike Yard’s Stuart Argabright on several occasions, and have been remixed by Helm, Paul Purgas (Emptyset), Svengalisghost, Prostitutes, Dwellings (GNOD)…  They draw from industrial, techno and beyond.