Pavilion Plot Thickens

Sunday 29 June 2008

Two months after the mystery pavilion appeared in Bedford Square, another one has started to spring up on the next corner. The first one, the AADRL TEN Pavilion, finally has a sign posted beside it to explain what it is. This new one will probably also take a few months to explain its existence.

A few pics of the construction site are up on Flickr. Meanwhile, one of the two warning signs stood beside the first pavilion has been disappeared, and the other is fading to an interesting colour. Well after their job was finished, the unemployed barrier poles are still hanging around like Ken Livingstone (TOPICAL HUMOUR!)

Please Mister Please

Friday 27 June 2008

Emmy the Great, “Edward is Dedward” (2006).
(3’29”, 3.19 MB, mp3)

The mummified corpse of Jeremy Bentham reads inter-office emails.

Friday 27 June 2008

bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce burp bounce Destiny's Child HONK

Meet Seixya

Tuesday 24 June 2008

More David Tudor Quotes

Sunday 22 June 2008

As long as there are people who realize that machines are not interesting and that behind any music there has to be a live person, I think that we might be able to overcome the omnipresence of synthesizers and keyboards. A lot of it is in the character of the listening: if the loudspeakers themselves are just pumping something canned or whether they are really talking to you, and that’s something that really only a musician listening to it can give you…. If you don’t have that, then you have to accept the fact that it’s like going to the cinema. Things won’t progress if electronic music remains on that level.

You have so many schools teaching electronics and they are teaching with expensive, complex equipment which people cannot possible afford to have at home. What are those students going to do when they come out? Nowadays students are coming to me from schools working with computer technology and they find that the computers they have at home are not large enough to do what they were able to do in school so that instead of furthering the musical situation, the people who were capable of doing it drop away.

A couple more quotes from that David Tudor interview I referred to last month, contrasting the “low road” and “high road” approaches to realising a composition. The interview is from 1988, so the situation has changed a little with regard to the second quote. Today, many universities are in the sad position of having worse technological facilities than what the students can afford at home.
There is, however, an institutional superstructure supporting the more “academic” musical activities, which is blandly assumed to underpin the students’ work; and almost no attempt is made to prepare students to work in conditions where this support does not exist. The students can either remain inside the academy for their entire career, or leave and find themselves hindered by being considered “outsiders” i.e. amateurs and cranks.

String Quartet No.2: The Installing

Saturday 21 June 2008

I’ve put up some photos of the Redrawing show (plug!). This is the first installation I’ve done where I didn’t have to provide all the material, equipment, logistics, and labour myself – thanks to the curator and gallery staff of two.
The Spare Room, a small, separate room inside Project Space designed for video work, seemed like the natural location for my work in the show. This way the work had an immersive environment of its own, and could still interact with the other artists’ work in the main room by being clearly audible through out the space – and in the building foyer, too. I was assured the other artists didn’t mind this.

The room has two speakers set into the ceiling, so it was relatively simple to set up the work without an excess of intrusive equipment. The speakers don’t have a great sound quality and are getting a bit clapped-out, but the loud, consistent sound of the work helps to disguise these defects.
Because String Quartet No.2 originated as an attempt to emulate Phill Niblock, I thought it was only appropriate to add a video component to the work for exhibition purposes. Fiona Macdonald kindly made me a video of a blank, white screen, which plays on a continuous loop in the room while my cheap Malaysian laptop performs the music. This way the installation further emphasises the structural connection to Niblock’s work, and its substantial differences.
Visitors familiar with Niblock’s music have all commented that my piece isn’t nearly loud or grating enough. That’s partly because it’s pretty much as loud as those speakers in the ceiling can go but as I said, I knew that my piece would inevitably end up sounding different to a Niblock piece, even when imitating him as closely as I could. The volume is a flexible matter, in any case.

Please Mister Please

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Luigi Nono, “A Carlo Scarpa, architetto ai suoi infiniti possibili” (1984). Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks /Michael Gielen.
(10’03”, 7.32 MB, mp3)

The mummified corpse of Jeremy Bentham reads inter-office emails.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

And Percy Pigs. Never mind.

The tide turns: George W. Bush irritates a blogger

Tuesday 17 June 2008

This time he’s really gone too far. As part of his farewell tour of screwing up bits of the world wherever he goes, Bush decided to arrive at Heathrow at about the same time as my terrible, bumpy, putrid, disease-ridden 23-hour Qantas flight from Melbourne. Thus my journey ended with an extra hour of sitting cooped up in Economy on the tarmac about 20 metres from the arrivals gate, waiting for Air Force One to land, fanny about on the taxiway and disgorge its toxic cargo into a trio of US helicopters.
We were probably the unauthorised plebs with the clearest plain view of the whole ritual. My girlfriend took some photos of POTUS and his posse, but she was using a phone from an aisle seat so the shots all came out looking like she photographed her own armpit under a blanket. Some friendly BritsAustralians in the window seats got us the plane photo.
Another black eye for the British. It took only one American to bring Heathrow Airport to a standstill, something it usually takes thousands of British airport staff to achieve.

A Friendly Reminder

Monday 9 June 2008

Tomorrow night: 11 June @ Stutter*

Natasha Anderson / Ben Byrne / Sean Baxter
Contrabass recorder/laptop/junk

James Rushford / Judith Hamann / Sam Dunscombe
Improv laptop and string textures.

Also: myself

Presenting the latest in my series of compositions for unstable feedback systems. My ageing laptop will create a digital simulation of nested analogue feedback loops, synthesising all the sounds live. Unless I can’t get it to work, in which case I’ll just play a CD and pretend it’s the computer doing it.

Horse Bazaar
397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
8:30 PM
$5 on the door

Mock Tudor No.2 (Why doesn’t someone get him a Pepsi?)

Saturday 7 June 2008

Now that my work is on display in the Redrawing exhibition (plug!) I’ve started a new page about my art exhibitions on the main website.
I’ve mentioned before that:

Rather than try to be original, I have worked for some time with the idea that each of my works should be consciously modelled on another composer’s works or techniques, and so instead of attempting an original work that unwittingly imitates an older one, I might create an imitative work which, in its divergences from the model, allows some genuine originality to emerge.

This has already happened with String Quartet No.2 (Canon in Beta), which is on show at Redrawing, where people have been remarking on the differences between my work and the original it seeks to imitate, as much as on the similarities.
I recently discussed how David Tudor was forced by material circumstances to recompose his live electronic work Microphone. In 2002 I made my own homage to Tudor’s work, in an installation at Bus gallery in Melbourne.
I wanted to try to create for myself, using only the sound equipment I had readily to hand, a live sound installation that worked along the same principles as Microphone. The sound would have to be generated live, caused by feedback between two loudspeakers and a microphone. Furthermore, the sound had to continually change, without falling into stasis or obvious, repetitive patterns.

Mock Tudor No.2 (Why doesn’t someone get him a Pepsi?) differed from Tudor’s piece by producing a constant stream of sound, which produced varying patterns by splitting the signal from the microphone into two streams, each of which were treated to a series of interacting processes such as flanging, phasing, modulation. The two different types of rather broken loudspeaker acted as filters, as did the cheap microphone used, which selectively picked up sounds to recombine into the feedback signal. Any sounds made in the room were quickly subsumed into the feedback hum.
Mock Tudor No.2 was another work of radical amateurism, producing distortion away from a pre-existing model by trying to copy it as closely as possible. The piece functioned as a tribute both to Tudor’s compositional thinking, and his general, practical approach to his work.

Australia decides that 15 year olds may look at other 15 year olds after all

Friday 6 June 2008

As was to be expected, I’ve been too preoccupied to update anything since arriving in Melbourne for the show (plug!); but now I’m sitting next to a guy looking up Lesbian Upskirt Spanking Parties on YouTube in the back of an IGA in Swanston Street which doesn’t seem to bother charging anyone using the computers.
Also to be expected, a host of pundits have crawled out of the woodwork to miss the point completely about that whole Bill Henson tizzy. Their main point of arfument: yes, we know he’s a child pornographer, but how much porn is too much? Pity they all forgot to think about whether or not Henson’s photographs were pornographic in the first place.

The Classifications Board has now declared the picture “mild” and safe for many children…. Considered one of the most confronting in the Henson exhibition, the picture came to the board for classification when it was discovered in a blog discussing pornography and the sexualisation of children. But the classifiers found the “image of breast nudity … creates a viewing impact that is mild and justified by context … and is not sexualised to any degree.”