STEIM`s Artistic Direction Blog

Various lists with plans, workshops, lectures, and other things

Orientations 2009

November 14th, 2008
  • March 31 - April 6:
    • participants: Steve Shaw, Ricky Graham & John King, Wataru Shoji, Chris Willes, Aliona Yurtsevich (no lodging)
    • teachers: Frank (Wednesday), Kristina (Monday), Daniel (Wednesday), Taku (Thursday)
  • May 12 - 18:
    • participants: Michael Straus (option), Gewrgios Poulios
    • teachers: Frank (Wednesday), Kristina (Monday), Daniel (Thursday), Taku (Thursday)
  • June 16 - 22:
    • participants:
    • teachers:
  • August 25 - 31:
    • participants: Glen Hall
    • teachers: Frank (Wednesday), Kristina (Monday), Daniel (Wednesday), Taku (Thursday)


  • February 2 - 9:
    • participants: Daniela de Paulis, Norman Adams, Daniel Ploeger, Marinos Koutsomichalis
    • teachers: Frank (Wednesday) , Kristina (Monday), Daniel (Thursday), Taku (Thursday)

Tarek’s Empty Can’s workshop - June 2008

April 21st, 2008

Wii Can

Inspired and based on the Empty Cans workshop that started in France in 2004, the Wii Can is a game / installation that uses new technologies and new media in order to break boundaries and connect realities that would not normally meet.
The Empty cans project is a sound and image workshop conceived and given by Lebanese musician and computer programer Tarek Atoui.
Destined to teenagers between 12 and 18 years old, this workshop is about allowing groups of 12 to 16 participants to work on short movies, video clips and video objects where they choose their themes, build their scenarios, film and record the sounds and images they need for it. The originality of the project is that it used a computer game and software especially built for it where through Play Station joysticks the participants can assemble and play their film in live on a public presentation and performance where the film is recorded and then left to the participants.
After several tours and interventions in cultural summer camps in France in 2005, Atoui carried out his project to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in summer 2006, then in 2007 with the help of the European Cultural Foundation, the Steim studios and the Today’s Art festival, he got to give to the project an international dimension, and do the workshop in Holland, France, Egypt and Lebanon before inviting groups of participants from each country to travel to Holland, work together and open the Today’s Art festival at the Hague on September 2007.

Wii Can is the new version of Empty Cans designed and conceived for the Stranger Festival.
The game is very intuitive and easy. With 4 Nintendo Wii controllers, 4 gamers are invited to play together. 2 persons play music, the two others play image.
The sound controllers allow to play distinct rhythmic and melodic elements and add audio effects to them, the image ones allow to mix and layer videos photos and text.
The audio and images that they will be manipulating are selections of the Empty Cans 2006 and 2007 databases that will get the players to discover stranger environments and realities different then theirs, such as the suburbs of Cairo, Palestinian Refugee camps in Lebanon, political demonstrations in Beirut,…
In a fun and amusing way, one of the objectives of Wii Can is to create sensibility and awareness towards some realities and contexts that strongly mark the Middle East and the region at the moment such as the Palestinian and Iraqi refugee crisis, the Lebanese political situation, the environmental and urban problems of Cairo,…
In order to do so, a camera is permanently filming the players. With the Wii controllers, players have the possibility of incrust their image and mix it with the other video layers already playing.
If they frequently do this, the game will start behaving differently and projecting other faces, photos, sounds and texts that deal and refer to these issues.
On the artistic level, the aim of forming such an audio-visual band is to incite the gamers to play together, to listen to each-other and therefore to respect and acknowledge one another.
Actually, in this game sound and image are tightly linked together. Algorithms of sound and image analysis will allow sound players to control and synchronize image to sound and vice versa whenever one of the players show s selfish or compulsive behavior.
Finally, linking sound and image to each other will also allow the players to start looking at image as something musical and to music as being a character itself in an audio-visual art work.

Technical means and requirements:
The Max / /MSP/Jitter software for programming and running the game.
A recent Macintosh computer or laptop with intel system and blue tooth
A video projector and screen
A digital video camera
4 Nintendo Wii controllers
1 sound system of good quality + amplification (the presence of subwoofers would be great).

Programming the interface and the controllers, re-editing and creating the sound and audio libraries, collecting and working on “educational” text, audio and photo material
21 days of work

This project in supported and co-produced by the Steim studios – Amsterdam that will be offering a work space and technical work facilities over three weeks for the programming and the building of the game, and that have already supported the Empty Cans project in 2007.


Tina’s plans for 2008

January 21st, 2008

Ideas for workshops for kids (Workshops will start without any technology and add in over time)
Target Ages: 8 – 13

Workshop #1

• Homemade instrument building –After building prototypes, they could be sensor enhanced in a later workshop. (work in pairs or individually)
• Sound art/collage/sound design – Kids create their own sound effects & storytelling (work in teams of 3-4 kids)
• Brazilian and/or Japanese Taiko rhythm workshops– build on rhythms/choreography in later sessions

Materials: PVC tubes, hoses, springs, cans, plastic tubes, pipes, bamboo, containers, metal, blocks, wood, string, rubber, household items, bowls, pot & pans, plastic buckets, drum sticks, etc.
Steim support: Kristina/Daniel/Jorgen
Outside support: Piet Jan Blauw is very interested in building midi controllers with kids - we are putting a proposal together to Elektor to try to get some support for this.

Workshop #2

• Wii workshops
• Teach mini-composition and choreography with wii’s – could expand this to do choreography on floor triggers.

Steim support: Daniel, Frank
Technology: 4 computers with garage band, JunXion and 4-8 wii controllers
Note: Might be possible to do this in collaboration with Klankspeeltuin since they have computers with garage band loaded and a trigger floor already in place.**
Daniel also suggested the following ideas about the wii: encase’ it with a suitable, tangible ’skin’ of sorts. this would be subject of a developing session with the steim workshop crew… further collaboration with frank et al (software dept) would create ‘instrumental attributes’ as basis for a MUSICAL SKILL DEV WORKSHOP

Workshop #3

Reactive Floor with Projections & Lights:
• Build floor triggers with kids
• sound tiles (could be used on floors or walls)
• sound sculptures

Outside Support: Piet Jan Blauw
Materials: Tiles, switches, piezos, rubber, lights, projector, etc.

Workshop #4

MidiBall Revisited Workshops: Hacking workshops to come up with new Sound Toys/ wireless trigger/Balls to activiate sound/lights/projections

Steim Support: Jorgen,Daniel,Frank
Materials: Toys, blow up balls & lots of wireless sensors…

March 31 – April 10
June 2 – June 16 (w/Nime/Steim promotion 6/5-6/7)
July 15 – July 29
August 22 – September 8
December 1 – 10

• Does STEIM have lots of junk stuff/parts lying around for the instrument building workshops?
• Is there a materials budget available for these workshops?
• How much time in advance would these workshops need to be setup to allow time for promotion?
• How many kids is Steim hoping to reach through these workshops?
• Does Steim have contacts already established with schools, kids organizations? If so which ones and who is the liaison?
• Do most kids in the Netherlands between 8-13 speak some English or will I need a translator?
• I notice on the schedule there is overlap with Jon Rose during the end of March/early April– can I realistically expect engineering support while he’s around??
• I am still not very fluent in LiSa or JunXion – do I need to take an orientation workshop before launching into these projects? How important is the promotion of these software tool in the workshops? If this is important, other possible dates I could come would be 3/14-24, but then I would not also be available 3/31-4/10.

Possible Collaborations and Outcomes:
• Collaboration with Klankspeeltuin in the Muziekgebow for workshops: Contact: Anouk Diepenbroek Coördinator Klankspeeltuin Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ tel. +31 20 788 2016 (Ma/Tue/Thu) mobile +31 6 24731571
• Possible Tie in with IADIS- Multi Conference on computer science and information systems July 25-27 in Amsterdam? Focus this year is on gaming
• Possible Steim Tie-in with Melbourne Festival in October (still waiting for more info on this)
• Heiner Holtappels said he was interested in a collaboration with Montevideo…maybe this would be a good contact for Tarek. Email: Tel: +31 20 623 71 01
• Annette Mullink: program manager for Virtueel Platform (formerly at MonteVideo): Email:
• Tie- In with Rhythmix cultural Works Community Arts Center in Alameda, CA
• Document everything – blog style Possible future papers for NIME or articles in advance of STEIM’s 40th?

Personal Project Proposal*
Darbuka with hall effect sensors through plastic head to measure distance of hands from the head – theoretically, this should be a relatively easy retrofit to an existing instrument. Mapping and sensitivity would be the big challenges to make it interesting and effective sonically. Would need tech support from Jorgen and some software assistance as well.
*I could only find 2 of 10 pages from the schematics for the electronic marimbas, so this seems an unrealistic undertaking to overhaul my marimba…

P.S. I had talked about the possibility of hacking a “sensor egg” in a previous draft workshop proposal – the student that I worked with on this at CMU (Eric Schweikardt) is going to be in Amsterdam at the end of February, so I suggested that he stop by Steim before you all leave for japan. Unfortunately, Eric has the only version we made and it is not in working condition.

Possible artists for STEIM concerts:

• Piet Jan Blauw – (based in hoorn, has been building wacky controller instruments for a LONG time)
• Yann Seznec – based in Scotland, wrote the wii loop machine.
• Ulrich Maiss - Cello & Eletronics – Used to be based in Berlin, not sure where he is now.
• Boris Goldmund: Excellent Harpist who wants to go electric: Is going to be in berlin in early april, is interested in coming to Steim (possibly for an orientation workshop) to further develop electronic harp processing potential.
• Joel Davel - - Joel is one of the main developers of the Marimba Lumina. He’s a terrific solo player and resource of info. Not sure if he’s going to be in Europe or not, but if so, it would be great to have him at Steim.
• Tomie Hahn (w/Curtis Bahn) - — Tomie and Curtis have been engaging in interesting projects for a long time – Tomie’s dance/gestural movement with Japanese sensibilities is really beautiful. I don’t know if they’re going to be at NIME this year, but if so, it would be great to get them up to steim.
• Gerry Bassermann - Gerry is a highly entertaining & talented musician – he plays a mean theremin, guitar, keyboards & more. He currently works for Propellerhead Software which would likely take him overseas somewhere near Amsterdam in the next year.
• Butch Rovan - tp:// — he’s based in rhode island but seems to make it over to Europe every now & then.
• Jamie Allen (is going to be at Newcastle) - — I’m sure Taku has info as to Jamie’s current projects.
• Derique McGee: Circus Arts –Electronic body Percussionist & hambone master extraordinaire. Derique is from California, don’t know if he has plans to be in Europe or not but he has a full body trigger suit and is fantastic with kids.

Jorgen’s work planning

January 14th, 2008

This is a list of Jorgen’s work for the coming months - with an indication of the timing.

  • Jon Rose - MIDI bow - Mar 18 - Apr 3
  • Atau Tanaka - BioMuse - April 14, 15, or 16 - to have initial session w/ Jorgen / May 26-29 - for real work days w/ Jorgen
  • Jan St. Werner - Meshbox controller - status?
  • Cracklesynth - contacting Bert van Synton to debug the printboard
  • Barbara vd Vaart - make a wireless version of the interface she’s already using - to be scheduled
  • Tao Sambolec - meeting with Jorgen: Jorgen will order some parts - Tao is back in NL by April 18
  • Tina Blaine - Darbuka plans - June 8 - 15
  • Grafische Methode Fiets - Dick Raaijmakers / V2 - Dec 2007 / Jan 2008 (until Jan 21)
  • Kristina Andersen - 8 contact mics - 1 week work in the period Jan 21 - Feb 18
  • Marije Nie - 1 week work in the period Jan 21 - Feb 18
  • Yolande Harris / Sukandar - mechanical mounting of some electronics - Feb 11 - 29

Workshops 2008

November 27th, 2007

Upcoming workshops:

  • Nov 25 - Dec 1: Orientation workshop (Theo Howard, Thea Farhadian, Angelina Baker)


    • Juraj Kojs and Stefania Serafin - a two-day instructional workshop in design, composition, and performance aspects of cyberinstruments by physical modeling synthesis - recommended by Atau - They propose August 2008, so we’ll have to discuss this later.
    • Jamie Griffiths (through Alex Nowitz) - possibly Isadora workshop later in the fall

    Concert offers 2007

    August 13th, 2007


    • Jan / Feb 2008: Newton Armstrong & John Butcher (optional)

    Not dated:

    Artistic committee meeting July 3 2007

    July 2nd, 2007


    Main topics:

    • Projects - online on the intranet
    • Workshops - online in a post on the Artistic Blog - on the intranet
    • Concerts -  online in a post on the Artistic Blog - on the intranet
    • Lectures -  online in a post on the Artistic Blog - on the intranet
    • Jamboree - We need to make a plan for a Jamboree and/or other activities so the office can start working on funding.


    • Performance proposal:
    • Gaudeamus muziekweek 2007 / Gaudeamus would like to have a fringe program at steim - Meeting with Henk Heuvelmans, Taku and Robert is scheduled
    • Japan connection 2008 - We need to start raising funds for travel


    Notes from meeting on May 30:

    * Erika is working on Taku’s visa application as high priority - STEIM would like Taku to continue his role as artistic director next year.
    * Atau would like to continue in 2008 - Michel proposes that this will happen on project base.
    * Taku’s work will overlap with Robert’s work - we need to talk about this before the summer - Robert will organize a meeting.
    * List of issues to talk about later - Robert will plan a meeting:
    * next year artdirect Tarek & Tina Blaine
    * workshop - hardware interns / try some people on project basis (like Sukandar) / fresh person to manage / no longterm R&D anymore
    * Taku interested in R&D himself, and some coordination of the workshop / Jamboree at the end of 2007
    * Orientation workshop re-vamp - more regular / Frank & Taku more involved / possibly also Daniel & Jorgen
    * Bilgi workshop for Turkish students - is Jorgen involved
    * Jamboree planning - also with Daniel’s use of Mackies and guesthouse
    * Japan connection:
    * feb 5 - march 9
    * the plan is a LiSa/junXion workshop with Frank & Robert, and a concert with Michel, Taku and Robert - also working with students
    * there is funding for the local travel, lodging & fee
    * funding is based upon the fact that steim is coming, so they have to do something
    * we need to check for travel costs - Erika? Gaudeamus?
    * Robert will organize a staf meeting
    * Exhibition at Energetica in the museum weekend - our exhibition doesn’t really fit there - so not for now
    * Gaudeamus muziekweek 2007 / Gaudeamus would like to have a fringe program at steim - Robert will contact Henk and setup meeting with Taku / Robert
    * Croatia -Rijeka - july / festival artistic group Palach / exhibition & concert by Taku, Robert & Keir Neuringer - this seems unlikely to happen - Robert will check with Erika.

    Workshops 2007

    July 2nd, 2007

    Upcoming workshops:

    • Dec 4 - 10: Orientation workshop (Felipe Pires Ribeiro, Ivan Franco, Corey Fogel, Linda O Keeffe, Juan Felipe Waller, Wiel Conen, Yolande Harris)
    • Jan 28 - 31: Jeff Carey / SuperCollider
    • Feb 11 - 14: Mark Coniglio / Isadora
    • Feb 18 - 21: Florian Grote / PD
    • March 17 - 24: Orientation workshop (Woody Sullender)

    Concrete plans:

    • Juraj Kojs and Stefania Serafin - a two-day instructional workshop in design, composition, and performance aspects of cyberinstruments by physical modeling synthesis - recommended by Atau - They propose August 2008, so we’ll have to discuss this later.


    • Soundbike workshop by Kaspar Konig - was planned before but there were no registrations - we’ll have to find a context for this workshop to get more people

    Lectures 2007

    April 15th, 2007

    Via Atau:
    Philippe Pasquier

    Concerning the lecture, there are at least three options:
    - I can present it like usual (40mn). It is a colloquium suitable for both expert and general audiences rather than a purely technical lecture. I have been giving it in various contexts, both academic (UniMelb, SIAL, SIAT, …) and non-academic (Vooruit, Avatar, …). It has always been well received and it usualy raises passionated debates within the audience.
    - I can enhance the lecture with a demonstration of some of the tools discussed (some home-made softwares). It will make it a bit more alive.
    - I can do a lecture and a performance (I have a 25 minutes electro-acoustic performance that I gave in Canada and in Germany). It is using one of the software discussed during the presentation. The only constraint is that I need a quadriphonic system for it.

    Michel suggested combining this with:

    • Theo Janssen


    • Kim Cascone Oct 17 or 19 - we have to discuss first with art3 - Robert cancelled because no interest
    • Jaroslaw Kapuscinski/ François Rose - Spectral Analysis as a Resource for Contemporary Orchestration Technique
    • NORIENT SOUNDLECTURE - NEUE MUSIK VON AUSSERHALB VON EUROPA / Thomas Burkhalter / via Roland/Melkweg (Lucas Evers)
    • Juan Parra, Kees Tazelaar, Game of life, Robert Henke

    Artistic committee meeting April 11 - 14h

    April 11th, 2007

    Meeting with Atau, Mazen, Taku, Michel, Frank and Robert about hardware design, concerts, workshops and lectures.

    Notes from the meeting (by Taku - edit if necessary):


    • 5 days off in July. Waiting for funding to see how many of Atau’s acts can be included in the program. if not many are included Steim can add some money to make a more full program.
    • Atau network/French scene night around September 20. An Atau hosted night introducing interesting acts from France
    • Bio sensor meeting in the Jamboree program. if we do it again this year.


    • First week or July and first week of August to invite 2 groups to record and perform with. He will just need some time in the studio and then curate an concert with those groups and also inviting other groups.
    • Trumpet input analog effect box. also during that time Mazen would like to experiment with different analog modules that can take his trumpet as an input source. Frank, Nico, Jorgen can see if they have something lying around that he can play with.
    • Something in October. Mazen will be in Europe again in October, some kind of concert should be organized then.

    To dos:

    • Atau and Mazen need to secure scheduling for themselves, invited artists and steim. Especially Mazen since tickets are getting expensive for the summer time
    • Frank, Nico and Jorgen should see if they have any analog modules that Mazen can use
    • Although July is our low activity month, we seem to have quite a bit going on. Staff scheduling and work load during that time has to be reviewed

    Addition by Atau:

    I have confirmation from Patrick Fontana of Grenze ( that they are available 20/9. They have also given an idea for something to develop in a mini-residency if possible - this description is in French at the moment, they will have Engl translation next week.

    I also had reply from Jerome Noetinger/Lionel Marchetti - they are checking on their availability for 20/9.