Duncan Chapman > Orientation #107

Over the last 15 or so years many of the musicians and artists that i work with and meet have said to me that I should get over to STEIM to find out what happens there. Much of my work involves working with various interactive technologies to create work with groups for festivals, the Internet or live performance (some examples here http://www.duncanchapman.org/tag/performance/) . I had deliberately left it vague as to what exactly I was going to work on whilst in Amsterdam as like many freelance artists i’m continuously working on multiple projects , it would have been easy to use the time to “problem solve” one of the things in the immediate future. Rather than this i was looking for a more generic experience that digs a bit deeper into questions of “why work like this ?” or “what does this mean ?” rather than focus too much on the “how do i get this to work”.

My visit certainly fulfilled all my expectations in terms of having a stimulating and sometimes provocative environment, more questions asked than answered (which is exactly what I was after) and many things to use in future projects……….

here are a few things that came up during the visit …………

(notebook extracts November / December 2010)

The computer as a solitary tool ? (so how does this work in a room with 30 participants ?)

How to make this a collective experience ?

What gestural inputs can give a meaningful experience to participants who have little or no conventional musical skills or experience ?

Lisa : Why did I stop using live sampling ? (tired of the pitch shift)

is this a way of revisiting this without falling into the same cliches that made me abandon this about 6 years ago ? (the short answer being yes )

Buffer as a model of a shelf…….. moving about timeline (maybe try this with a group of 20 people with some means of navigating using a physical controller to move back and forth ?)

What are the most interesting models of participation ?

Is transparency in the execution of work always the desired outcome ?

Embracing the Chaos (it will ALWAYS fail )

Model of musicking that incorporated chaotic elements but retains an identity as a piece ? (if I play Mozart badly its still Mozart but some things are less robust !)

The Nature of collaborative interaction between players , computer vs(or with ?) instrument / voice

Scale of the sound (if i have a computer based instrument my sound can easily be out of proportion in terms of density and complexity to a solo instrument / singer ) also the scale of the gesture in relation to the sound (metal drummers move more than players of Feldman) .

Meta tools (it looks like i’m doing my email when i’m playing a gig !) why does everyone like to shut the computer ?

What does this mean in terms of where we are “supposed” to look during a performance ?

Sticking with a setup and working for years on it (Daniels hemispherical model )

Is it always a “dialogue” with a machine ?

Is narrative the only way of creating flow ?

How to encourage the people I work with to enjoy getting intentionally lost (and get them to trust that I can get them to be found again ?)

Making music by playing music (how to get organisations to trust that this will produce the work rather than using the expected models of creating music by designing music ?)

Restrictions as ways to defining content and focus ……………..

Is the goal always virtuosity and how is this different from playing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto ? (sitting in the mainstream of musical practice )

Using non visual feedback (pull my ears when you want me to stop playing )

How to create articulated moments in performances (defining strategies for this).

How to avoid work always becoming “theme and variations” (or exploring this world more rigorously and in greater depth )

Does the interface suggest behaviour and is this any different from any other instrument ?


What are our future possible collaborations ?

some projects that will draw on the things from the orientation workshop…..

I’m currently working on projects including work for the 2011 Huddersfield festival (using the sounds of Rhubarb growing to make a piece with 30 students from a local school) , the Wigmore Hall (making an online series of pieces that mine their archive and use parts of recordings from the last 100 years) and another piece in the “Dark Januaries” series with singer Isabel Jones (this years piece will revisit the live sampling we used to do with a stack of Akai samplers but now i’m planing to combine the things I learnt with Lisa with a monome controller rather than a keyboard).

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