We dismantled the Bifi Studio exhibition last week. There were just shy of 30 visitors on the last day. I spend a lot of time listening to the rotating wood-disks being scraped with different materials. The experience informed me of rotation as a medium. Vinyl records only make sound when the disk rotates, which means that the rotation (or movement) is a part or a medium of the sound. Writing this observation as a sentence feels weird but when thinking about it at the gallery made complete sense.
I took the idea to my studio and aligned a laser to a gramophone record, so that the record grooves cast a reflection. I used my Lite2Sound PX unit to convert the reflection into sound! Here is a short proof of concept video: Laser Gramophone. My plan is to build a miniature rail track around a tree and attach the laser & Lite2Sound PX to a motorized cart which drives around the hull of the tree. This device will make a tree surface topography audible. I plan to use a wireless audio transmitter so that I can use the sound in my eurorack signal chain.
A review of the exhibition in Swedish: Konstkollen – Växternas hemliga liv, skeppsbrott och annat väsen (2020) Pontus Kyander. The text commemorates the didactic tone of the exhibition and celebrates the approach as “simple and brilliant”.
Duon bakom BIFI närmar sig musik- och ljudskapandet med fiffighet och en generöst inbjudande hållning till besökaren. De hjälper till och berättar utan att man ens behöver fråga. Det är enkelt och alldeles lysande.
Superb vinyl technique: Q-tip is a Beast (2009), fits well with our Bifi wood-records at Oksasenkatu. Q-tip is also rapping on Groove Is in the Heart (1990)! Spending my time as a gallery guard working on my eurorack (sample 1 & 2). Breadboarded an inverter.
Buchla – Electronic Music as Performance Art (2019) Under the Big Tree. A near hour long lecture on the history of the Buchla (Bemi) design company. The talk isn’t analytical, it does not excavate what it meant for Buchla to interface with a synthesizer or what motivated Buchlas dissentient and anti-government attitudes. But it offers some interesting historical details and explains the heterogeneity of his layouts (Save a click: Users don’t need to see a module to recognize it, they can identify it by feeling the knobs!).
Designing the Make Noise Erbe-Verb (2019) Tom Erbe/Soundhack (a video by mylar melodies). A very detailed history of reverbs and a thorough look on Erbes design process. He shares his insights openly and offers concrete tools for reverb design.
Heading to Buchla and Serge territory myself. Swapped my Monotribe for a Variable Slope VCF by Random*Source. I’ll have to build an inverter to help it resonate. Also got a Sense module from Bastl, to develop my mineral water audio analysis toolkit.
Visited Mental Alaska back2baSICs PARTY in Kannelmäki yesterday. Heard Viktor Toikkanen, who played a live programming gig using Tidal. This was the first time I’ve seen live programming (other then our Masku Movement sessions in ~2008) and it was great. I could identify some terms in the score (it was projected on the wall) and anticipate changes, which made the performance feel analytical. Bought a cassette from him too. Actually… There weren’t that many live coding moments. Toikkanen mainly triggered events he had programmed for the record. Some triggers pushed his computer to the limits and we could hear soundcard buffer overload crashes and glitches. I think this digi-materiality was an important part of the presentation. Glitches felt like real grains pushing trough the code. It echoed hardcore rock moments when artists push their amps to max.
The Internet’s Mid-Life Crisis (2019) The Agenda. Cory Doctorow argues that the internet is not broken, everything bad we see happening to it, such as facebook etc., corporate control of the infra and espionage of citizen, is a result or symptom of capitalism. After some weighing all guests seem to agree that some kind of legislation of the internet is needed to move forward (I think this would make the internet a part of the democratic domain).
Our exhibition opening at Oksasenkatu 11 was nice. A lot more people then I expected and mainly new faces. I’ll be on site to meet visitors for some glögi, sound lounging and fun. Dates: 18.-20.12 (12-18:00), 27.12 (12-18:00). Crossroads launch & seminar at SOLU went well too. Had the pleasure to meet Leena Valkeapää, she felt like a wild thinker. There were around 20 people at the event, which was just enough the make the space to feel crowded (at times). I got a lot of nice compliments on my talk on Earth Art Conservation.
Build a USB 5v output 1u and assembled a passive signal multiple. The USB 5v output is equipped with a 250mA fuse to prevent excessive power draw. The project taught me how to measure amperage and to work with fuses. The faceplate and interior structure, which supports the charger have been laser cut to measure. Damaged and destroyed my Mikrophonie contact mic build. Build RCA out/in sockets on the back of my main case which attach to my spring reverb and tank (which is mounted to the case). Laser cut 1u panels (lpg, piezo amp, attenuverter/offset) and delivered my first modular beat online (polyrhythmic slow beats trough a spring reverb sound like drumbient).
Preparing for the BIFI Studio exhibition with Johannes. Event info is online at the Oksasenkatu 11 site. Equipped both monstera leaf piezo mic units with balanced outputs and they work very well. The sounds are clean and the surfaces sensitive.
A Promise to Aspen (2018) Mari Keski-Korsu. A text from BODY OF US exhibition publication. Keski-Korsu exposes the industrial undertone of contemporary Finnish forestry and calls its global expansion efforts to shame. The text offers an interesting reading of harvesters by comparing the distance they provide their operators to the distance “war machines” have given to battle. The text celebrates trees, but I’m not sure if “trees” even exist. I find it hard to empathize with them. They live in a different timeframe, continue living as logs and I have no idea what they enjoy. Aspens for one are not individuals, they are closer to ecologies. I don’t know what trees are. I agree with Keski-Korsu that anthropomorphisation is not a problem, it’s a solution because it exposes the power dynamics of our relations with non-humans (this idea comes from Jason Hribal).
The forests can be considered as an oppressed group because they simply have no say over how humans manage them or use the wood. Patricia Hill Collins defines in her book Black Feminist Thought (1990) the matrix of domination and how intersections of oppression are structurally organized. I believe these domains of power can be analyzed and used as an empathy exercise with any group – human or non-human.
Anthropomorphisation doesn’t mean that we shut out species’ specific needs. On the contrary, it helps humans to understand. It should be in the toolbox of new empathy. The kind of new empathy could bring human species to some kind of other level, to make more balanced narrative for this species. After all, empathy has been a building block for the flourishing of this species as it can be considered a basis for collaboration.
Today is our second tree-sound session with Johannes. Build a monstera leaf shaped wooden contact mic frame (I’ll glue four piezos to it). My dremel broke (attempted to grind trough 9mm birch plywood) and it’s not the same issue as last time (got a new one used for 35€). Bought an oscilloscope for 35€ (some potentiometer contacts need cleaning).
Listening to There Existed an Addiction to Blood (2019) Clipping. Hits a nerve while cycling in the gloomy darkness of Helsinki. The beats, broken as they are, feel warm. The lyrics are incredible hip-hop/noise-noir. I identify heavily with the Death Stranding main character Sam Bridges. I haul everything on my back. I particularly remember taking all my tools to Pyhäjoki in the spring using three banana-fruit boxes (pulling them on a cart) and two backpacks. Barely fit trough the train doors and I think I damaged my shoulder on the trip. Not having a driver’s license is starting feel like a burden. Carrying materials, instruments and tools to job-sites and gigs doesn’t feel fun and I feel the trauma of past efforts weighing in on me. Like reversed bodybuilding. My feet get sore from excess walking, my back aches when I lift shit (still feel a CNC machine I pulled inside a van 2002) and shoulders hurt from the tremors of my crappy power-tools.
My income is based on my able-bodiedness and recovering takes longer then it used to. I fear I’m loosing gigs because I can’t bounce back to working condition as fast. I need some kind of transportation to carry my gear around. Or change the way I work. I want to evolve into middle management.