This post is part of a new monthly series of guest curated mixes for the Rhizome blog, entitled Wavelength.
JAPANESE NOISE: A REMINDER
Compiled Summer 2012 by C. Spencer Yeh
Back when I was an undergraduate and involved with college radio, we would hold educational meetings covering a wide variety of music by genre, artist, and geography. I was very much in thrall of the Japanese musical underground at the time, so I developed a presentation and this was the handout I made as an accompaniment. [See above.]
I’ve noticed the term ‘noise’ thrown around quite a bit lately, to encompass particular variations of form, ideology, and even affect, within organized sound culture. I generally have no qualms with what 'noise' can now mean and manifest. With that said, Japanese noise is my preeminent definition of 'noise'–my first and most formative experience. The birth and development of Japanese noise is singular, defined by its relation to time and place, to culture and aesthetic. Japanese noise taught me about freedom, fetish, listening, autodidactism, self-mythology, self-publishing, senzuri.
The selections for this mix date from the mid-'80s to the early '00s, are edited for length, and intentionally eschew the array of strategies in the scene (often deployed under the same project name) to focus on NOISE. Big parties can be a blast, but once in a while, a long visit with an old friend is incredibly fulfilling and necessary.
(note: all tracks are edited for the purposes of this mix)
01. Violent Onsen Geisha 'Heavy Introduction'
02. Government Alpha 'Anonym Slander'
03. The Gerogerigegege 'Nothing to Hear, Nothing to... 1985'
04. K2 'We Destroyed Barcelona Again'
05. Aube 'Aquatremble 2'
06. Merzbow 'Chant 2 (Part 1)'
07. Hedlah 'Proud Flesh'
08. Solmania 'Panic Bend Rock'
09. MSBR 'Psychic Blue'
10. Incapacitants 'Necrosis'
11. Masonna 'Spectrum Ripper (Part XVII/Part XII)'
12. Hanatarash 'We Are 0:00'
13. Killer Bug 'One-Eyed Nudist'
14. Monde Bruits 'Continuum'
15. Hijokaidan 'What A Nuisance!'
16. Masomania 'Burn Me Fast'
17. C.C.C.C. 'Loud Sounds Dopa (Part II)'
18. Gomikawa Fumio 'Satan's Tail, Santa's Head'
19. Niku-Zidousha 'Untitled'
20. Flying Testicle 'Testicle Rider'
21. Pain Jerk 'Crack n' Roll'
22. Kazumoto Endo 'Itabashi Girl'
Our Best Machines are Made of Sunshine, 2009.
The notion of “feedback” is an important element for your sonic sculptures, where the viewer/listener is pulled into and directed by the work. As you stated in our visit, “What you hear affects how you move and how you move affects how you hear.” Your work SA-3, which you developed as a MFA student at Stanford, is a prime example of this technique. Could you discuss this piece and your research going into the project?
Well, for that piece it really started with noticing the moment in which I would become conscious of a localized sound, and how that awareness would pull me into or out of a particular relationship to the space. You could say an in-body/out-of-body type mediation. Through research in sound localization I learned of various directional speaker technologies and I combined that with an ongoing interest in how and why speaker systems are installed and controlled.
I was already looking into military projects involving sound as well as new developments in sound system technology. Talking with some folks at Meyer Sound in Berkeley, I was particularly interested in their Constellation system and their long-range speakers while I was also learning about spatial sound at Stanford’s CCRMA (Center for Computer Music and Research in Acoustics). I came across the “audio spotlight” by Holosonics and the LRAD speakers at the time made by American Technologies. These both use ultra sonic transducers that heterodyne into an audible frequency controlling the localization of the sound through the inherent directionality of ultrasonic waves. The police and military are using the LRAD as hailing devices and have occasionally used them for crowd dispersal, a technique which is super dangerous because the key component of these speakers is that the user can control them without affecting their own ears. The person in control of the sound can inhabit the same space with those that it affects, while remaining immune to its force. Never before has this been the case. There’s a frightening disjunction in that control loop. So I was doing this research and I found a few really cheap small ultrasonic speakers on EBay and combined them into a hanging speaker array loosely based off of one of the Meyer Sound systems. I have always been attracted to the hanging speaker arrays and wanted to combine the ultrasonic speaker technology with the aesthetics of the stadium speakers to address the ways these more known systems control our bodily relationship to sound. In a theater or performance setting there’s a loop between the performer, the sound engineer, the speaker system and the audience that returns back to the performer. With the LRAD system there’s a different loop where the person controlling the sound (performer and the sound engineer) do not experience the sound, yet they could see their “audience.”
Going back to SA-3, I wanted to play between those experiences by having the speakers of SA-3 play the sounds that you as a viewer make in the gallery. A mirror of sorts where you control what the sound is but how you chose to place yourself inline with the directionality of the speakers decides how you experience that sound in space. The audience is the performer. And I guess, as the designer of this system, I am the sound engineer.
Michael Guidetti, Bell, Book, and Candle, 2010
You originally studied painting as an undergraduate. How did this spark or inform your interest in perspective? How and when did you begin to investigate 3D digital imaging software (like Maya) and its use of perspective?
When studying painting I became interested in the viewer's physical relationship to the image and that naturally led into thinking about perspective. Since then, a lot of my paintings have been composed from a one-point perspective with the idea that the scene is drawn from the perspective of the viewer as they are standing in front of it. This began to dovetail with my longstanding interests in computer graphics and virtual environments, which due to their dependence on the user's subjective viewpoint, most often use this same visual perspective. With an image drawn from this type of perspective, one may feel as if they are no longer looking at an objective depiction of a space, but are looking into or existing inside it.
I was also interested in the relationship between abstract and representational imagery in painting, a pretty common painting concern. I was particularly curious about how the context of a semi-representational setting could influence the reading of an abstract shape. My early paintings were trying to smash these two types of representation together. I was then intrigued by the possibility of expanding this idea further into the work's form and I began layering projected 3D computer graphics on top of the mixed-media paintings I was doing.
A few of your pieces, such as Untitled (Standards) (2009), Bounce Room 1 (2009), and Bounce Room 2 (2009), depict standard figures and shapes used in digital animation, such as balls and the Utah teapot. Why are these ubiquitous and recognizable figures featured so prominently in your work?
Untitled (Standards) may be the most intentional in acknowledging these standard objects' historical roles like you mention. The objects in the piece are shown as some type of archetypical virtual object reverently being preserved in a timeless environment. Most of the models on the pedestals in that piece are rendered with the actual data from Stanford where they were originally digitally scanned (all but the teapot). It's interesting to think of these early models as an origin story for computer graphics and the starting point for a new kind of visual experience. When a new 3D graphics technology is developed, out of some sense of lineage or tribute, the creators make sure that rendering a teapot or a clay bunny work nicely. I find something funny and compelling about that.
On the other hand, Bounce Room 1 and Bounce Room 2 are using that aesthetic for more economical reasons. I think both of these works are attempting to embody something basic about their form in order to make the co-operative relationship between the two separate elements as evident as possible; a one-point perspective painting with a projected digital image overlaid. The digital projection represented as three red, green, and blue spherical lights; and the painted environment as five flat planes receding in perspective. That's about as far as I could boil them down to. Separately they are elementary and flat, but when they come together, the simulated light and physics of the spheres bouncing around in the space becomes illusionistic. Bounce Room 2 complicates things a little further by adding the wood structure and lights....
The Stars Below, 2011. Mixed media installation
One thing I like about your work is the fact that you seem to operate like a hacker, taking things apart, finding new ways to misuse technology. But throughout your approach appears to be deliberately poetic, wherein you bring out these singular moments of beauty. For example, when you first started working on your scanner films during a residency at the MacDowell Colony, you mentioned that you began by simply placing a scanner outside of your cabin at night. The footage became a kind of accidental biological study, as the scanner intrigued light-seeking moths and other bugs, resulting in a time-lapsed nighttime sample of the various critters in the forest. I’m wondering if you can comment on how you “hack” technology in your work, and what you hope to achieve in that process. Are you guided by a kind of poetic hacking? How so?
In most of my works that involve a technological device (printer, scanner, photocopier, etc.) the technology itself is actually fairly un-altered. I tend to adjust the context in which the object is placed, or introduce variables or conditions that exist outside what I might call the area of expertise of the device. To use your example of the scanner: whether I'm scanning documents or moths in the woods, the scanner is still executing its function in exactly the same way; I've simply adjusted the expected input. I'm interested in looking at a given system and seeing what else it has the potential to speak about aside from its narrow band of acceptable usage, and how its native landscape (office, classroom, computer lab) might be related to other sorts of spaces, systems, or sets of ideas.
Since you brought up the topic of systems, I’m wondering if you could discuss that further. How do you approach the notion of “system” in your work? How do you reveal the presence of these systems, is it simply an act of mimesis or a disturbance or something else?
At different moments, I might describe my work in terms of systems, structures, frameworks, rules, and/or devices. I think there are a few things at play for me on that page of the thesaurus. The first is that I am always looking for various sorts of engines to move a project forward. Just like a physical device I take up may immediately describe a set of material and procedural constraints, I'll often involve a secondary framework--south polar exploration, the history of astronomy--that will both move a material system beyond itself and help to select supporting materials, an installation’s logic, etc. The second is developing a relationship between the system immediately at work and the secondary framework through a third, usually less visible system. To use my recent piece, The Stars Below, as an example: I first developed the material process. A series of solenoid valves release drips of water onto upright sticks of chalk, slowly eroding them. The secondary framework--an installation space suggesting something between an office and a classroom--arises from the materials involved (what is the domain of a stick of chalk? Where does this drip of water originate?) and provides a context in which to situate the erosive activity. Between these two things is a conception of Deep Time, of which slate and chalk are both products, which complicates the scales of time at play within institutional spaces. So, the work tries to establish a series of interrelations between a set of materials, landscapes, and ideas. In short, a system. Whether or not the audience is able to unravel all of that immediately is not as important to me as their awareness that there is a sense of order, an underlying logic at work.
United States of America
Commissioned by YBCA, Gordon’s new installation—part of her solo exhibition It Only Happens All of the Time—is an immersive sonic experience that emphasizes the primacy of the embodied experience; one that encourages the visitor to navigate the space through a mode of listening that is both felt and heard. Gordon explores sound’s ability to establish different levels of intimacy, and the exhibition’s title points towards the ubiquitous presence of sound in that process, whether it exists at the periphery or center of our awareness. The installation’s sound-absorbing walls reference the design of anechoic chambers found in military and scientific testing facilities, which insulate and absorb sound reflections. In contrast to the walls of the installation, which gestures towards a calculated experience, the sculpture Love Seat situated within this contained environment suggests another, more emancipated, arrangement. Surrounded by a multichannel speaker system distributed throughout the gallery, Love Seat encourages visitors to sit and share in a listening experience with others, while maintaining a physical separation. Fostering an exchange between visitors that wavers between proximity and distance, Love Seat parallels how we listen together.
Gordon’s other works for the exhibition echo a similar concept—sound as experienced within the body becomes a way to feel with others, and to experience the mechanisms of built space through non-visual means. Her film Everyone Will Be Here Now But Me documents a site-specific sound environment created within the empty offices of the Los Angeles Food Center. It follows visitors as they explore sound installations distributed throughout the building, with the option to listen through binaural microphones that captured the 3D stereo sound of the space. The suspended figures in Gordon’s new series of drawings and watercolors Filter Resonance B more subtly signal the body; wire-like lines protrude and drift through these organ-like forms, a reference to the potential for connectivity. Gordon imagines that the drawings represent actual filters, which isolate information, and their presentation is meant to evoke the interfaces of audio filters in music software, which allow the user to directly regulate reverb, equalization, and so on by manipulating graphic elements. Much like the show itself, these strange configurations invite reflection on the many ways the body is instrumentalized through technology.
About Control: Technology in Culture
Control: Technology in Culture, curated by Ceci Moss, Assistant Curator of Visual Arts, is YBCA’s new series of exhibitions showcasing work by emerging and mid-career artists who examine the social, cultural, and experiential implications of technology. The series seeks to prompt timely questions about the profound and far-reaching influence of technology in our daily lives by focusing on artists whose work spans a multitude of disciplines and relates to a diverse set of issues, including architecture, acoustics, psychology, labor, consumerism, the environment, and the military.
The term “control” refers to philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s theory that, as a result of the ever-increasing role of information technology, Michel Foucault’s “disciplinary society” of the 20th century has given way to a “control society” in the 21st century. In contrast to discipline, which molds the individual through confinement in factories, prisons, and schools, control is diffuse, adaptable, and ubiquitous, modulating rather than molding the individual.
United States of America
For her new installation, emergent entity chant array, Murphy has designed a type of fractal involving self-similar patterns at varying scales. Constructed out of a precisely configured assemblage of 3D printed sculptures, LED lights, light boxes, and wood cut forms, the installation resembles a real life version of her complex and dizzying internet-based works. Like Murphy’s virtual video game environments, emergent entity chant array plays upon the visitor’s perception of both space and dimension, encouraging the exploration of elevated states of consciousness.
Deeply post-humanist in her approach, Murphy views her creative process as a form of meditation in which she seeks an intuitive, harmonious relation with the tools used to produce her work. Her intricate arrangement of forms focuses her own energy and that of the viewer, drawing them in. This sense of an attuned connection with an audience is also an active element in the art collectives of which she is a member, MSHR and Oregon Painting Society.
Architecture and Computation with Keller Easterling and Erica Robles (Part of PROGRAM: Media and Literature at NYU)
United States of America
Architecture and Computation
19 University Place, Great Room
New York, NY 10003
Free and Open to the Public
"PROGRAM" is an interdisciplinary event series organized by graduate students within New York University’s Media, Culture and Communication, English, and Comparative Literature Departments. Intentionally broad in scope, the series will present talks that explore the cultural, historical, aesthetic and political impact of software and programming logic.
This first event in our year-long lecture series explores the intersection of architecture and the logic of computation. How does computation structure our physical world, and in what ways has the function of computational media been applied to the spaces we inhabit?
Keller Easterling (Yale University, Architecture)
Extrastatecraft: Global Infrastructure and Political Arts
Repeatable formulas and spatial products make most of the space in the world. Now, not only buildings but also entire cities have become spatial products that typically reproduce free zone world cities like Shenzhen or Dubai. Space has become a mobile, monetized, almost infrastructural, technology, where infrastructure is not only the urban substructure, but also the urban structure itself. Some of the most radical changes to the globalizing world are being written, not in the language of law and diplomacy, but rather in the language of this matrix space. Massive global infrastructure systems, administered by mixtures of public and private cohorts and driven by profound irrationalities, generate de facto, undeclared forms of polity faster than any even quasi-official forms of governance can legislate them—a wilder mongrel than any storied Leviathan for which we have studied political response. Infrastructure space is one crucible within which multiple fields of analysis encounter ample complexity, and it tutors special approaches to both form making and political arts.
Keller Easterling is is an architect, urbanist, writer, and Professor of Architecture at Yale University. Her latest project is titled Extrastatecraft.
Erica Robles (New York University, MCC)
Mediated Congregation: The Crystal Cathedral and God’s Place in a Networked WorldThis talk focuses on an often-overlooked institution that has helped produce and legitimate transformations in 20th century social life: the church. Through an analysis of the Crystal Cathedral Robles situates Protestant spatial production within a broader project of cultural re-formation whereby collective life became conducted via increasingly mediated, mobile, and distributed arrangements. For more than half a century, this influential Southern California ministry helped reshape the style and material conditions for worship. At its height, the Crystal Cathedral was perhaps the most visible Protestant church in the world.
Robles will render three distinctive and successive portraits of the church as a drive-in theater (1955-1957), an indoor-outdoor/television church (1962-1970), and then a globally-broadcast, glass and steel cathedral (1980 – 2012). Each site was a re-imagining of the socio-technical conditions for communion. Together, these portraits will trace a trajectory from the post-war to the present whereby the church helped determine technological and architectural meanings. By designing for mediated congregation, ministries like the Crystal Cathedral inscribed the production of broadcast and then networked geographies with spiritual significance. In so doing, they also translated Christian cosmology into a new technological regime.
Erica Robles is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.
Upcoming 2012-2013 PROGRAM events
Media Archaeology with Matthew Kirschenbaum and Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, March 1st, 2013
Values in Technological Design with Geoffrey Bowker and Sara Hendren, April 12th, 2013
The series is sponsored by NYU's Information Futures, the Humanities Initiative, and the Departments of Media Culture, and Communication, English, and Comparative Literature.
Friday, December 10th 2010 / 3:00 - 7:00pm
Myles Jackson (History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, NYU): “The Role of Physicists in Measuring and Defining Nineteenth-Century Musical Aesthetics”
Kevin Bell (English, SUNY Albany): “Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Sound as Break in Christopher Harris’s “Still/Here"”
Ana María Ochoa (Music, Columbia University): “Orality and Orthography in Nineteenth-Century Colombia”"
Gary Tomlinson (Music, University of Pennsylvania): “Paleolithic Formalism”
Reception to follow
New York University / Silver Center for Arts and Science / 100 Washington Square East / Department of Music, Rm 220, 2nd floor
Sponsored by the departments of Music and Comparative Literature; with support from the NYU Humanities Initiative
Music, Language, Thought” is an interdisciplinary event series organized by graduate students within New York University’s Music and Comparative Literature Departments. Broadly speaking, the series focuses on the relationship between music and language, and our speakers will examine its theoretical ramifications for politics, aesthetics and historiography. The project stems from ongoing conversation and collaboration between graduate students within these two departments, and will continue on an annual basis.
Rhizome is a leading arts organization dedicated to the creation,
presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic
practices that engage technology. Through open platforms for exchange
and collaboration, our website serves to encourage and expand the
communities around these practices. Our programs, many of which happen
online, include commissions, exhibitions, events, discussion, archives
and portfolios. Rhizome is an affiliate of the New Museum of
Contemporary Art. For more information about Rhizome, visit:
Rhizome seeks a Curatorial Fellow from February through June 2011. The
Fellow will support the curatorial and editorial departments at
Rhizome through research, writing and administration. This position is
a unique opportunity for a person interested in pursuing a career in
contemporary art to further their engagement with the field and hone
their professional skills.
The Curatorial Fellow must be based in New York and must be able to
commit to 16 hours of work per week, for 5 months, beginning in Spring 2011. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged. The Curatorial Fellow will work directly with artists and be overseen by the Executive Director and Senior Editor.
The Fellow's primary responsibilities include:
* Coordination and development of the Rhizome ArtBase, including
managing submissions and reaching out to artists
*Researching topics for editorial coverage and writing articles for Rhizome's
blog and publications
* Administrative support of programs, such as Rhizome's monthly New
Silent Series at the New Museum
*General support of the organization
QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates should have a high level of familiarity
with contemporary art and particularly new media and its history.
Education or advanced experience beyond the undergraduate level is
preferred. At a minimum, the candidate should have very strong
writing, editing, and analytical skills, and very high internet
literacy. Knowledge of Microsoft Office software is also required and
basic Photoshop skills are preferred.
TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter, resume or c.v., three
references, and three writing samples (url's or attachments) to Ceci Moss editor(at)rhizome.org. Review of applications will begin
immediately. Starting date is February 15, 2011
DEADLINE: February 3, 2011