Attend any number of experimental music performances in New York City and chances are you'll come across a curious sight: a skinny young man conducting conversations on a cordless rotary telephone, which accompanies him almost everywhere and is, practically speaking, his mobile phone. This fellow is none other than Tristan Perich, a talented young artist, composer and inventor whose interest in the foundational units of acoustic sound and digital electronics is manifest in his reclamation of obsolescent objects and technology - the rotary phone among them. For 1-Bit Music (2004), the project for which he is best known, Perich retrofitted a CD jewel case with an 8-KB microchip, battery, track control and headphone jack, thereby enabling listeners to plug in and hear 40 minutes of low-fi electronic music. Beyond the strange and marvelous nature of this apparatus, 1-Bit Music's compositions exhibited a surprising degree of sophistication, considering that they effectively comprise MIDI blips and bleeps that Perich wrote in binary code. For tonight's performance at the Whitney Museum, as part of its "Composers' Showcase," Perich will perform three recent compositions (two of them debuts) that find his 1-bit circuit boards accompanying piano, trumpets and violin. Building on Perich's background in math and computer science, Active Field (2007) endeavors to generate the sonic equivalent of a planar landscape, particularly at its conclusion, when ten violins and ten channels of 1-bit music sustain a single-chord, to the point where analogue and electronic sound cease to be differentiable. Far from more conventional applications of electronics as supplements to orchestral music, Perich's project finds the mediums engaged in a formative, structural dialogue. - Tyler Coburn
[kate armstrong & michael tippett / grafik dynamo / 2004-2005]
Kate Armstrong is a Vancouver-based artist and theorist with a panache for new media powered permutational storytelling. Her work questions the nature of narrative in light of computation, social media and contemporary urban space. She has exhibited widely and is currently en route to Turkey for the March 8th launch of PATH, a bookwork generated by "an anonymous individual living in the city of Montreal between 2005-2007" at the Akbank Art Centre in Istanbul. Above and beyond her creative practice, she is the author of Crisis and Repetition: Essays on Art and Culture, sits on the board at The Western Front artist-run centre and is a lecturer at Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive Arts + Technology.
An obvious starting point in any line of questioning about your work would be the primacy of text. The vast majority of your projects could be described as machines for making fiction and you've explored storytelling through found documents, the blogosphere and social media, and even as a geo-locative phenomena. This list of work more closely resembles a bibliography than any conventional understanding of the word portfolio. Could you talk about your relationship with storytelling and why it is a driving force in your work?
Despite the fact that certain nations continue to insist on the building of walls to both quarantine and keep out certain economic and ideological actants, the politics of network culture find governments moving away from the old-school forms of control that involve physical, geographical, architectural wrangling and towards more high tech means of discipline. A conference at New York University, to be held next weekend, will examine this shift. Entitled Radars and Fences, the two-day event will bring together a handful of leading thinkers and activists to discuss the differences between "radars and fences, satellites and walls, networks and bunkers," the forces that have brought about these shifts, and what implications they hold for surveillance, public life, and creative practice. On March 6 and 7, speakers James DerDerian, Stephen Duncombe, David Lyon, and Trevor Paglen will sit on panels entitled "The Military between Transparency and Secrecy" and "Identification Protocols, Net Wars and the Struggle over the Securitization of the Internet." If these sound like a mouthful, it's only because there's a lot to say about the subject of the current state of surveillance and other machinery of control, and organizer Marco Deseriis (an academic, writer, and former Luther Blisset co-conspirator) ensures readers that "by looking at the grey areas where control and discipline, transparency and secrecy, democracy and the state of exception overlap and collide, Radars and Fences [will] provide a cross-disciplinary and experimental platform whereby researchers, artists, journalists, and activists can negotiate new and critical positions." - Marisa Olson
Image: Angel Nevarez and Alex Rivera, LowDrone, 2006