Ars Electronica 2003
Festival-Website 2003
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Festival 1979-2007



'Naut Humon Naut Humon

One of Iannis Xenakis’s first “polytope” multimedia pieces Persepolis was chosen for re-interpretation with customized live remixes by Ryoji Ikeda, Otomo Yoshihide, and Naut Humon. In Naut Humon’s segment there are added remix representations from Zbigniew Karkowski, Rechenzentrum, Merzbow, Ulf Langheinrich, antimatter, Laminar, Richard Devine, Paul Dolden, Francisco Lopez , Construction Kit and others in which he blends these sources that consider the spirit and influence of Xenakis’ more massive electro-acoustic excursions. Many of these re-workings are actual excerpts from the recently released Persepolis CD on Asphodel which contains the original INA-GRM mix engineered by Daniel Teruggi and consultation from Xenakis himself in Paris over a decade ago.

This overall reconfiguration of the remixed remixes and added outside materials was realized at the Recombinant Media Labs compound in San Francisco on a portion of the Surround Traffic Control AV system. The photographic imagery that accompanies the music comes from the actual documentation of the live evening event at the Persepolis ruins in the southern Iran desert during 1971. From the central position of the site, where 59 loudspeakers projected the eight channels of sound throughout the audience area, the spotlights and lasers swept upward and out creating luminous patterns on the ancient hillside tombs of Darius and Artaxerxes. There, in the distance, bonfires were burning and parades of children carrying lighted torches wended their way around the surrounding heights displaying an ever-changing, linear tableau.

The interlacing of the remix “modules” draws largely from the original 56-minute work, emphasizing its noisy sonorities and overlapping waves of intensity. As the aged nature of the master recordings from that era can occasionally reveal their brittle fidelity, the remixers move in to creatively compound the initial fracture. While sustained string, woodwind and percussive source entities stochastically collide with clashing metallic material, the sonic incision often seems overly dense or overwhelming. Add to that the transformative process of today’s digital signal processing to take this ancient audio and turn it into pure frequencies or rhythmic pulse waves (plus many of the remixer’s own personalized audentities) and what we’re left with are intricate, glacier-like soundscapes of fluid proportions.

The compositions here aren’t merely depicting a “Then versus Now” dynamic, which has been incongruently ascribed to numerous remix and tribute models over the years. Rather, the interpretations are reflective of certain sound-worlds that the Xenakis example continues to inspire and foster offspring from which bear witness to alternative aesthetics and deeper microsonic explorations.

Thus these realizations are dedicated to the future memory of Iannis Xenakis.

Thanks to Peter Segerstrom ( STC engineer) and Sue Costabile (visual program interface).

Marius Watz
“When creating visuals for live music (or VJ’ing), my approach is to synthesize rather than to sample found or prerendered video. I create a visualisation tool in the form of a piece of software, specifically adapted to the music at hand, as opposed to being a generic VJ tool. Simple sound analysis is used to map from aural parameters, such as spectral characteristics, beats etc., to algorithmically generated visual shapes.

The issue of improvisation is important. Parameters of the software can be adjusted interactively to account for changes in tempo or mood. In some cases it is even possible to program live. This makes it possible to play the visualisation tool like an instrument—a synthesizer of shapes rather than of sounds.”
Martin Wattenberg
My piece is a visual meditation on the transition between being in and out of phase. Drawing on inspirations ranging from traditional quilting patterns to acoustical waveforms, I have coded an algorithmic narrative, meant to complement Steve Reich’s music, based on the idea of changing phase. Reich’s music is elegantly mathematical, which makes it a natural fit for software art; yet at the same time there is a subtle challenge: how also to convey its beautiful non-mathematical rhythms. In all my work I invite the viewer to see the invisible. Viewers of this piece will see a journey from symmetry to complexity and back again.
Gerda Palmetshofer
This segment could also be entitled “The Architecture of Music, The Music of Architecture.” Midway through the evening, in an allusion to the spectacle in Persepolis and the work of the same name, the audience will be asked to make its way outside to the park along the banks of the Danube, where they will experience recorded versions of Analogique A+B, Persepolis” and Mycenae Alpha accompanied by large-format projections. Linear elements emerge; visual similarities between the images evoked by the compositions and architectural design plans manifest themselves. Ultimately, they bring to light structural reciprocities between music and architecture, and illustrate Xenakis’ contributions to the transformation of precisely this interrelationship. Simultaneously displaying visual and acoustic elements is by no means an effort to achieve a synesthetic effect; instead, the tension between the two is meant to remain intact. What is being sought after and represented here is not the connection that binds them but rather the one that goes beyond them or that is hidden in their shadows.
Morton Subotnick
Before the Butterfly was completed and premiered in 1976. With it, I created the first of a series of works based on the notion that, since a major limiting factor to the orchestral sound is balance between quiet and loud instruments, the orchestral palette of the future could be transformed by a live partnering of the recording studio, the electronic music studio and the symphony orchestra. In order to avoid the mechanical limitations of studio machines, I created a living mixer by using the amplitude envelope of “control” violins to amplify, modify and pan a group of solo instruments. Thus, the quietist sound, even a breath, can become equal to the entire orchestra. Since the control instruments are often playing independently of the solo instruments, unexpected moments of amplification and sound transformation occur in each performance. It is as if the normal studio machines have become living and responsive partners to the orchestral performers.
Justin Manor
During the original and remix versions of Steve Reich's Drumming piece Justin Manor will be performing visuals on the four screens in the Middle Hall of the Brucknerhaus. Several cameras will be placed around the percussionists and the Hall itself. The video shown on the projection screens will be controlled by a custom built drum set built and performed by Justin. He will affect what the audience sees on the displays by playing the drums himself and feeding the audio into a computer system running audiovisual software written for the show.

The visuals will accentuate the rhythmatic and cyclic nature of the score by displaying
the relative phases of the performers in combination with reinterpreted live feeds of their
actions. During the presentation of Reich’s original piece the visuals will be in an analog
style and as Rupert Huber begins his electronic remixing, the displays will take on a more
digital look introducing exotic temporal and spatial effects.
Sue Costabile
Humans process visual information in individual contexts. Abstract imagery stimulates personal experience, memory recall, associations and connections unique to each living system. In cooperation with music, the visual experience can become more suggestive and associative; sound and picture communicating through artistic and personal interpretation. As a visual artist working in the live-improv setting I build associations between sound and image that develop into a language of sorts. This language grows out of physical objects, illuminated and animated in real-time, playing the role of score and instrumentation. Tonight this language will emerge from Morton Subotnick’s score for “Before the Butterfly”, a musical code transformed into a visual one.
In Lia's online pieces interaction takes place mainly on the visual level, while the soundtrack is in most cases present as an overall support element to the image(s) created, and not as plastic as the images themselves.

This led Lia to work to more complex musical elements, both in linear videos or on live presentations. In these, music is fed into the system, playing a much greater role in the outcome, since during the performance, Lia interacts with them at the same level as through the music the musicians make. In this way, and with sound being allowed to enter the system, both the music performed and the images projected merge into a complete audiovisual performance. Ultimately “live visuals” are not much more than Lia’s interactive pieces manipulated by their author, and this adds another layer of meaning to something that otherwise is already complete. After creation, the author manipulates and re-interprets the tool which then perhaps loses its completeness and is left unfinished, until the moment the performance ends.

miguel carvalhais, 07/2003
Rupert Huber

1 the beauty of a wild flower,
notwithstanding its intelligence

2 instructions for controlled sound propagation

3 consistency as gauge for the recognition of an essence

4 can our perception come to terms with leaps, leaps into
linear thinking, linguistic leaps,
shifts of meaning?

5 in piano phase the people run away from each other and catch
up to one another again.

6 new music like dance choreography—we’ve practiced long and hard,
now we can run away from each other perfectly—

7 a variation a dedication a tribute a rearrangement
a variant a paraphrase a persiflage a remix
a caricature a reference a borrowing
an answer an inspiration
a composition a piece
a work
a tool

8 a question a sensation a brief feeling of happiness

9 a seedling box made of words

10 words describe, but ought not to have been meant
by our thinking

11 intention process result lost in words

the pauses between the riffs:

pauses: - one beat
-- two beats
--- three beats

one beat = 60 bpm
at a steady rhythm—all syllables of the same length and equally loud—the following
tones of a temperate mood can be allocated to the riffs:
1 - c
2 - c#
3 - d
4 - d#
5 - e
6 - f
7 - f#
8 - g
9 - g#
10 - a
11 - a#
(the octave register may be chosen freely as long as all riffs are in one octave)

The riffs can be said/sung in any desired sequence and number,
together or sequentially

the fundamental stipulation is:
one riff, labeled by a number in the text, is the smallest unit and cannot be subdivided.