During my residency at Steim August 22-Sept 6, I was mainly working on an interdisciplinary production of Short Wave Apocalypse or the Box which premiered at Amsterdam Fringe Festival September 8-11. I was working with musicians Eva Aukes and Marko Ivic and dancer/choreographer Margherita Bergamo. The piece explored our society’s problematic relationship to militarisation and technology through absurd and non-sequential dramatic events expressed through dance, live electronics, theater and video.
It was also very helpful to work in close proximity to workshop studios on the first floor where some resoldering and fixing of equipment took place. In our piece we have an arduino based microcontroller ‘The Box’.
The box is mainly operated by dancer Margherita Bergamo. It is a very simple and direct instrument/controller when it comes to playing it; it has three buttons, one to start the sequence, another to start the accelerometer, and third one to turn on the light sensor. It also has two knobs, one for changing the pitch of the sequence and another to change its speed. It is used to control a simple midi synthesiser in Ableton Live software. The accelerometer responds to the movements of Margherita when she is dancing and playing the box. Thematically in our piece, it is the pandora’s box which asks many questions about the state of the world without providing any real answer.
A lot of hours of practice and production went into the making and rehearsing of Short Wave Apocalypse or the Box. We were able to create at least four original scenes and modified or changed the content or actions in every other scene of the show. Also because of STEIM’s well isolated studio space we could do some filming for external scenes of the show which were included in the production.
For full review of the show you can follow this link, in dutch:
During the same residency, I was able to continue my work on the piece that I started in collaboration with pianist Marko Ivic during his residency at STEIM in March/April, 2016. Most of my work on Simulacra Studies at STEIM was spent on testing new mapping parameters of the hands instrument that I’m building for him. The instrument includes touch sensors and piezo discs that are attached to MINI Bee accelerometers.
In Simulacra Studies for “virtual piano” interface, the instrument is absent and the pianist is playing with touch sensors that are attached to accelerometers on his hands. In this piece, one treats the gestural interface as an expanded instrument that can easily encompass other media and expression while using instances of bounded improvisation. The pianist is playing on himself and on the immediate objects around him.
The hyperreality of the pianist is imbued through the use of live video which manipulates various video characters of himself in combination with various virtual, and hyperreal piano sounds (prepared, standard, synthesised, etc). During the residency I was able to test some video mapping ideas which will be included in the final presentation of the piece at the Electric Spring Festival at the University of Huddersfield, UK in February 2017.