Archive for November, 2008

Landscape with Alvin Lucier

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Landscape with Alvin Lucier  “With and without purpose” : excerpts from the interview by Robert Ashley in his Music with Roots in the Aether (first text edition 2000 MusikTexte Cologne, but made for television 1975?)

I’ve selected these comments on the following topics from the interview:

  • technology and feeling – emotions in music
  • functionality and musical choice
  • distilling ideas, like pure alcohol
  • two-dimensional notation, three-dimensional sound in space
  • technology as a landscape
  • physicality of fly-fishing and sound
  • in and out of balance, with and without purpose (more…)

Notes on Walled Garden, Flwr Pwr

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Flwr Pwr: Tending the Walled Garden, moderated by Matt Ratto. Ideas from the building and discussion of emergent behaviors and communications in networked environments. Workshop during the Walled Garden working conference held at the Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam 20 – 21 November 2008 (more…)

Walled Garden: working conference on networks

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Walled Garden is an international working conference that approaches the development and future challenges of the current Web 2.0 through exploration, experimentation and exchange of knowledge. It will address issues of identity, mobile communities and networks by focussing on the tendency towards online gated and closed communities.

20 & 21 November 2008, Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam, Organised by Virtueel Platform

Gregory Bateson on Cetacean Communication

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Gregory Bateson Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972 Ballantine Books, New York)

Notes on “Problems in Cetacean and other Mammalian Communication” (first published 1966, written while working for John Lilly and his dolphin centre in the Virgin Islands. pp 364 – 378)

In the problem of understanding Cetacean communication, mammals such as Dolphins and their sound production, is the difficulty of us as humans approaching communication that may have completely different goals and importance. Bateson describes the predominance of communication of relationship (love, hate, dependency etc) in non-human / non-linguisitc mammals, where there is no need for a language of data (humans have hands and manipulate objects and language is built out of this ability and necessity). The communication of relationship in humans is less explicit in language but can be found in gesture – proto-linguisitc communication – common to all mammals. (more…)

A Jackdaw In-Between (sound)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

MP3 file: jackdaw in-between

A jackdaw (bird) has flown onto my roof and is making a series of complex sounds that appear to articulate something I can only try to understand. Its inflections of tone and timbre that irresistibly seem like language have drawn my attention and I have begun recording the sound. In doing so the jackdaw’s voice has made me shift my focus and listen to the environmental sounds outside my room in Amsterdam. My internal space – my concentration on the thoughts – is located in my physical room that is remarkably quiet, the only sound being my computer keyboard whilst I type this. The voice of the Jackdaw comes from just outside my space, I can’t see it, only hear as it sits and sounds the in-between space, so close as to be almost in the room. The sounds of Amsterdam then become clearer and present, although distant. The sound of the jackdaw is articulating an in-between, the intermedial, a moving back and forth between the internal, inside, to outside.

Books (ongoing)

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Robert Ashley, Music with Roots in the Aether: Interviews With and Essays About Seven American Composers, (2000, MusikTexte Cologne)

David Dunn, Why do Whales and Children Sing? : A Guide to Listening in Nature  (1999, Earth Ear, Santa Fe New Mexico)

Morton Feldman, Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman ed., B H Friedman (2000, Exact Change, Cambridge MA)

Alvin Lucier, Reflections: Interviews, Scores, Writings 1965 – 1994 /  Reflexionen: Interviews, Notationen, Texte 1965 – 1994 (1995, MusikTexte Cologne)

Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice, (2005, iUniverse Lincoln)

Dick Raaijmakers Cahier – M : A Brief Morphology of Electric Sound (2000 Orpheus Institute Gent, Leuven University Press)

Louis Andriessen, The Art of Stealing Time ed.,Mirjam Zegers (2002 Arc Publications, Lancashire UK)

Iannis Xenakis, Arts / Sciences: Alloys, The Thesis Defense of Iannis Xenakis (1985, Pendragon Press, New York)

Lucy Lippard Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory (1983 Pantheon Books, New York)

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2001, Verso, London)

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972, Ballantine Books, New York)

Roy Ascott Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness ed., with essay by Edward Shanken (2003 University of California Press, Los Angeles)

Brandon LaBelle Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2007 Continuum, New York)

Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter Spaces Speak, Are you Listening?: Experiencing Aural Architecture (2007, MIT Press)

ed., Christopher Cox and Daniel Warner Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (2004, Continuum, New York)

ed., Ros Bandt, Michelle Duffy and Dolly Mackinnon Hearing Places: Sound, Place, Time, Culture (2007 Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Scorescapes Workshop no1 – photos

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Scorescapes Workshop no1 – outline

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Re-Active Platform multimedia and performance group, Academy of Media Arts, Cologne

Tuesday 4 November 2008


  • To develop an understanding of the relationship between scores, sound, environment and performance.
  • To use this concept as the framework for proposing a new work whether intervention, performance or installation.
  • To develop a working Scorescape that translates navigation data into sonic and/or visual media for a performance or installation.


My concept of a Scorescape arose from a need to grasp relationships between sound and image, environment and communication, performance and installation, composer and audience. Working with techniques and concepts of both navigation and audio-visual performance, I developed two projects, Taking Soundings (KHM fellow 2006) and Sun Run Sun / Satellite Sounders (Montevideo/STEIM Residency 2008) that explore these ideas of score, landscape and the position of the spectator within them. Taking Soundings turned GPS data into sounds and images live, Sun Run Sun is a collection of pieces in different formats centered around the Satellite Sounders, small portable instruments that transform the position and motion of the GPS satellites in the sky into live sound related to the participants movement. By experimenting with the conceptual context and technical development issues around these two works, Scorescapes establishes an open platform to shape new works and new ideas.


As a conceptual tool we will use a radically expanded notion of the score. Conventional musical scores are characterized by static notation, enclosed spaces, predefined roles of composer performer and audience, an object kept in a library. How can this be made relevant to contemporary performance practices with new technologies? It starts with the experiments that treated the score a medium of communication, in early performance art as a conceptualization of action and interpretation. In relation to media theory, the score can be seen as a medium that influences and carries meaning from a site to a source of reception. The score is fundamentally an intermediary between audio and visual, and subject to interpretation, whether human or technical.


As a technical tool to explore these ideas we will gather data from the Global Positioning System (GPS). We will examine the raw NMEA data (National Marine Electronics Association) that we receive to try to understand the technical principles of satellite navigation and the relation to earlier forms of celestial and coastal navigation. We will then select parts of the data, for example the longitude and latitude, the elevation and azimuth, the calculated speed and altitude; and map these to sound processes, visual processes or other forms. To do this we will use the NMEA data parser in PureData (PD) or Max/MSP.


  • In the sonification and visualisation of data, the technical translation of numbers into sound, can we identify the points where interpretation is needed and where the imagination takes over?
  • When collecting streams of data about our location in space, can we interpret this data as a score, as sonic or visual maps, that heighten our embodied experience of being in environment?
  • What choices do we make when translating numbers in sound and image?  It is important to consider this mapping in terms of the conceptual provocations of the score and implications for performance or exhibition.
  • Think of these as live scores to be made available to others, provocations of action, of discussion, of performance. When making the visual or sonic summary of each score – think what the most important features are for communication, what makes your piece what it is?


We will work in small groups so that we can try to achieve a practical result by the end of the day. We will have small test pieces up and running, and a sketch outline of ideas for a performance or exhibition work using what was touched on in the workshop. These will be open source, open to modification, re-use and re-interpretation and will be uploaded as a small collection of score sketches online.


  • Computers running either Max/MSP+Jitter 5 and/or PureData
  • GPS NMEA data parser in Max/MSP and/or PD
  • Bluetooth GPS (to input live to the computer)
  • Projector and sound system to present the works to each other


  • 11:00 Satellite Sounder walks
  • 11:30 Presentation and discussion led by Yolande
  • 12:30 NMEA parsers and data
  • 13:00 lunch – decide on an idea/approach
  • 14:00 Practice, programming, testing
  • 15:00 Presentation/performance of new Scorescapes
  • 16:00 end

Links / References:

others to follow