Banksy on Instagram.

Beep. Ding. Vroom.

Sounds that will define the highways of the future
September 28th, 2019

Via The New York Times: "Two years ago, Nissan hired the studio Man Made Music for what seemed like a straightforward task: Design a sound that its quiet electric vehicles could play to announce themselves on the road.

The automaker wasn’t just splurging on a flashy feature. It was preparing for a federal regulation set to take effect next year that would require all hybrid and electric vehicles, which are quieter than their gas-guzzling ancestors, to emit noise at certain speeds for pedestrian safety. […]

The team at Man Made Music, which is used to developing audio for TV, movies and radio, spent nearly half of 2017 working on the sound, a layering of sampled wind and string instruments, and analog and digital synth sounds [listen to “Canto,” the future sound of Nissan’s electrified vehicles]."

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Monheim Triennale 2020 poster design by Vasilis Marmatakis.

Monheim Triennial – The Adventure of Music in the 21st Century

Defining the identity for a new music festival
September 10th, 2019

The successful collaboration on defining a new identity for Cologne's infamous Stadtgarten, a European Centre for Jazz and Contemporary Music, led it's musical director, Reiner Michalke, to contract me again for his most prominent recent project, the Monheim Triennal.

Via the Monheim Triennal's website: "The Monheim Triennial is an international music festival aiming to present ground- breaking artistic positions in current improvised, composed and popular music. The first edition of the Monheim Triennial will take place in 2020 and will be continued every three years on the last weekend of June. The Monheim Triennale will focus on telling musical stories at the highest artistic level. Artistic Director is Reiner Michalke."

In order to define the identity of the festival I worked in three concentrated workshops with a core group of decision-makers and consultants: Meryem Erkus (Curator for Gold+Beton), Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein (Artist, Curator for Monheim Triennal), Reiner Michalke (CEO, Artistic Director for Monheim Triennal), Melanie Rossmann (Head of Concert Office for Stadtgarten), Achim Tang (Artist in Residence for Monheim Triennal), Thomas Venker (Editor Kaput Magazin, Curator for Monheim Triennal), and Daniel Zimmermann (Mayor of the City of Monheim am Rhein).

The workshops resulted in a consice design briefing, which Reiner Michalke took to Athens, Greece, and invited graphic designer Vasilis Marmatakis to work on a series of posters for the festival. Today, Cologne based art director Christian Schäfer is working on the corporate design for 2020, and the Monheim Triennal's website is one of the first results of this cooperation.


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From Greta Thunbergs Twitter account on 3:56 PM · Jun 15, 2019: "Yes we can. #FridaysForFuture #schoolstrike4climate #ClimateStrike"

What would you like to do if money were no object?

Listen to Alan Watts
August 19th, 2019

"Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, 'we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do'. So I always ask the question, 'what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?'

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track. See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch and no vomit. It never gets there. And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question: What do I desire?"

Talks and Lectures by Alan Watts

Related: I am in awe of Greta Thunbergs journey on an Open 60 sailboat.

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Illustration by Geoff McFetridge, who not only has his own design studio but has been showing internationally with his so complex yet simple, elegant, colorblocked works.

Use self-dialogue

An experimental study of a virtual reality counselling paradigm using embodied self-dialogue
August 8th, 2019

Via Nature: "When faced with a personal problem people typically give better advice to others than to themselves. This has been termed ‘Solomon’s Paradox’, named after the biblical King Solomon who was wise for others, but not so when it came to making decisions that would have an impact on his own standing.

Suppose that instead of imagining a problem from the perspective of another you were actually able to have a conversation with yourself about it, but from the embodied perspective of another.

A previous study showed how it is possible to enact internal dialogue in virtual reality (VR) through participants alternately occupying two different virtual bodies – one representing themselves and the other Sigmund Freud. They could maintain a self-conversation by explaining their problem to the virtual Freud and then from the embodied perspective of Freud see and hear the explanation by their virtual doppelganger, and then give some advice. Alternating between the two bodies they could maintain a self-dialogue, as if between two different people.

Here we show that the process of alternating between their own and the Freud body is important for successful psychological outcomes. An experiment was carried out with 58 people, 29 in the body swapping Self-Conversation condition and 29 in a condition where they only spoke to a Scripted Freud character. The results showed that the Self-Conversation method results in a greater perception of change and help compared to the Scripted. We compare this method with the distancing paradigm where participants imagine resolving a problem from a first or third person perspective.

We consider the method as a possible strategy for self-counselling."

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Illustration by Laura Callaghan, a Irish illustrator based in London. On her Instagramm she subtiles this image, "Maidin Mhaith 3. A piping hot cup of HELP."

The Four Agreements

As mentioned by Laverne Cox in a public dialogue with bell hooks
July 31st, 2019

Via Amber-Allen Publishing:

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

The Four Agreements sound simple, even simplistic. But try keeping just one for an entire day!"


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Big Science is the 1982 debut album by avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson.

Na na na na na, na na na (bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)

July 21st, 2019
The Hippies Were Right: It's All about Vibrations, Man!

Via Scientific American: "The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades and is generally known now as the hard problem of consciousness […] Fast forward to the present era and we can ask ourselves now: Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it’s all about vibrations … man. Over the past decade, we have developed a 'resonance theory of consciousness' that suggests that resonance—another word for synchronized vibrations—is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally. […]

Stephen Strogatz provides various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience to illustrate what he calls 'sync' (synchrony) […] Fireflies of certain species start flashing their little fires in sync in large gatherings of fireflies, in ways that can be difficult to explain under traditional approaches. […] The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face. […]

The panpsychist argues that consciousness (subjectivity) did not emerge; rather, it’s always associated with matter, and vice versa (they are two sides of the same coin), but mind as associated with most of the matter in our universe is generally very simple. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoy just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter 'complexifies,' so mind complexifies, and vice versa."

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Talk @ Goethe-Institut

A Perfect Match? On The Alliance between Sound and Visuals
July 9th, 2019

Jörg Süßenbach, head of the music devision at Goethe-Institute Germany, recommended to invite me to give a talk on the relationship between sound and visuals on August 29th for an international congregation of Goethe-Institute members in Cologne.

The delegation will be in Cologne to attend the SoundTrack Cologne which is focused on music for images.

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Framework is a collection of open, hand-drawn graphic scores and recordings by Danish musician/composer Mads Emil Nielsen.


Catalyst and mentor

Working with Mads Emil Nielsen
June 28th, 2019

Mads Emil Nielsen (b. 1989) is a musician/composer based in Copenhagen, DK. He works with basic sound sources, often combined with short percussive and orchestral samples, real sounds and an amplification of machine produced errors. Raised in a family of architects and artists, later discovering synthesizers and sequencers, he developed a graphic/visual approach to working with music and sound.
In 2014 he founded arbitrary, the label and artistic platform on which he released his solo works and collaborations.
Mads has performed at the Présences électronique festival in Paris (2018) and contributed to various theatre pieces/performances and the Notations 21 Project exhibitions. His music is featured on compilations by The Wire magazine and raster-media label.
He completed his studies at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and has received grants/scholarships from the Danish Arts Foundation and Léonie Sonning Music Foundation.

In January 2019 Mads hired me as his catalyst and mentor. Our sessions are dedicated to his various graphic score explorations, including drawings and sound pieces, and also to his recent, complex Framework project – a series of scores, recordings and interpretations.
Just now, we enter the next stage, and started to work on repositioning the visual identity for his website and label. Working with Mads is not only deeply gratifying, it is also a productive challenge, hugely inspiring, and a delightful pleasure.

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halb rand
halb rand

On Silencing @ Brückenmusik 25

Symposium: On Silencing – Zur Produktion der Stille
June 22nd, 2019

Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein and I have been invited by Theresa Nink and Volker Zander to discuss my list of female composers during the Brückenmusik 25 – On Silencing symposium on June 29th in the infamous hollow block of Deutzer Brücke.

I started to research female composers in contemporary music (post WW2) for a seminar at Institute for Music and Media at Robert Schumann conservatory in Düsseldorf. During another of my seminars Elisa Metz, post-graduate students at the M.Mus. program Klang und Realität, created an amazing fanzine on the subject. It is called Grapefruits – in honour of composer/artist Yoko Ono.

Elisa Metz will join us for the panel on June 29th to present the first issue of her magazine plus a limited series of 30 shirts which have the names of many of the brilliant composers and sound artists from my list on them.

Via Wikipedia: "Ono's small book titled Grapefruit is another seminal piece of conceptual art. First published in 1964, the book reads as a set of instructions through which the work of art is completed-either literally or in the imagination of the viewer participant. One example is "Hide and Seek Piece: Hide until everybody goes home. Hide until everybody forgets about you. Hide until everybody dies." Grapefruit has been published several times, most widely distributed by Simon & Schuster in 1971, who reprinted it again in 2000. David Bourdon, art critic for The Village Voice and Vogue, called Grapefruit  'one of the monuments of conceptual art of the early 1960s'."

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Split shots are made half over and half under the surface of the water. To get a nice split you need a so called "dome port" in front of the underwater housing. The shots are no collages. Photos: Tobias Friedrich.

Fab Serenity

What Being Sober Has Meant to Me
June 10th, 2019

Via Brené Brown: "This last one is a quote from Mary Karr. I read it in an interview she did for The Fix. I recommend you read the entire interview – it blew me away.
'That schoolmarm part of me — that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober — that was actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself.When I got sober, I thought giving up [alcohol] was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.' "

Via The Fix: "There’s this idea of the tortured artist, or of a link between depression and creativity—is that true and necessary? If so, how do you make meaningful art after recovery, if you’re no longer tortured?
Mary Karr: Well, I don’t know, maybe you don’t. I’ve been sober almost 25 years and anything anyone’s ever bought from me has been written when I was sober. If I hadn’t been, I would’ve been like David, swinging from a fucking noose. That really cuts down on your creativity. [Laughs]
When I was super depressed, I wasn’t working—I was always too depressed. Hemingway did his best work when he didn’t drink, then he drank himself to death and blew his head off with a shotgun. Someone asked John Cheever, “What’d you learn from Hemingway?” and he said “I learned not to blow my head off with a shotgun.” I remember going to the Michigan poetry festival, meeting Etheridge Knight there and Robert Creeley. Creeley was so drunk—he was reading and he only had one eye, of course, and had to hold his book like two inches from his face using his one good eye. But you look at somebody like George Saunders—I think he’s the best short story writer in English alive—that’s somebody who tries very hard to live a sane, alert life.
You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day. It’s probably better for your writing career, you know? I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist. It comes out of that Symbolist idea, back to Rimbaud and all that disordering of the senses and all of that being some exalted state. When I’ve been that way, I’ve always been less exalted than I would have liked. [...]

Blake said, '...we are put on Earth a little space / That we might learn to bear the beams of love.' And I think, 'bearing the beams of love' is where the freedom is, actually. Every drunk is an outlaw, and certainly every artist is. Making amends, to me, is again about freedom. I do that to be free of the past, to not be haunted. That schoolmarm part of me—that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober—that was is actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself."

Grant me
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

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