Talk @ CVM Symposium 2018

Teaching Visual Music
April 14th, 2018

The fabulous Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles invited me to talk about Teaching Visual Music at their Exploring and Preserving Visual Music symposium (August 14-16) in Sonoma, California.

Via CVM: "The CVM Symposium 2018: Exploring and Preserving Visual Music will explore the theories, histories and practices of Visual Music. It features two days of talks and presentations from international scholars, artists, students, curators and researchers, plus a final half day of special sessions. Set in Sonoma County’s wine country.

A series of screenings feature historical and contemporary visual music works. CVM is pleased to present this symposium in association with Sonoma State University at their Rohnert Park campus. Some of the special events are off-campus.The Symposium features talks on music visualization, sonification, color organs, visual music and art history, Oskar Fischinger, James

Whitney, Norman McLaren, Charles Blanc-Gatti, John Cage, Teaching Visual Music, 1960s psychedelic light shows, mapping, oscillocopes, preservation and more. Plus special video spotlights on Mary Ellen Bute and others, and screenings. A preview of the program is online."

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Jee-ook Choi for Rimowa.

It’s all about reputation now

Say goodbye to the information age
April 8th, 2018

Via Aeon: "Gloria Origgi is an Italian philosopher, and a tenured senior researcher at CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) in Paris. Her latest book is Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters (2017), translated by Stephen Holmes and Noga Arikha.

There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it. What makes this paradoxical is that the vastly increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous. Rather, it renders us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced.

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today. It is the gatekeeper to knowledge, and the keys to the gate are held by others. The way in which the authority of knowledge is now constructed makes us reliant on what are the inevitably biased judgments of other people, most of whom we do not know. [...]

The paradigm shift from the age of information to the age of reputation must be taken into account when we try to defend ourselves from ‘fake news and other misinformation and disinformation techniques that are proliferating through contemporary societies. What a mature citizen of the digital age should be competent at is not spotting and confirming the veracity of the news. Rather, she should be competent at reconstructing the reputational path of the piece of information in question, evaluating the intentions of those who circulated it, and figuring out the agendas of those authorities that leant it credibility.

Whenever we are at the point of accepting or rejecting new information, we should ask ourselves: Where does it come from? Does the source have a good reputation? Who are the authorities who believe it? What are my reasons for deferring to these authorities? Such questions will help us to get a better grip on reality than trying to check directly the reliability of the information at issue. In a hyper-specialised system of the production of knowledge, it makes no sense to try to investigate on our own, for example, the possible correlation between vaccines and autism. It would be a waste of time, and probably our conclusions would not be accurate. In the reputation age, our critical appraisals should be directed not at the content of information but rather at the social network of relations that has shaped that content and given it a certain deserved or undeserved ‘rank’ in our system of knowledge.

These new competences constitute a sort of second-order epistemology. They prepare us to question and assess the reputation of an information source, something that philosophers and teachers should be crafting for future generations."

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Example for Stadtgarten's new corporate design by Christian Schäfer.

Redefining Stadtgarten's personality

European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music
April 4th, 2018

Via Stadtgarten: "The Park-Restaurant Stadtgarten was first opened in 1898 and is located within Cologne's oldest inner-city park Stadtgarten. After a colourful history, in 1985 the city of Cologne agreed to a long term lease contract with the Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus e.V., both for the park grounds and its building. Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus is an association of Cologne musicians, founded in 1978. Also in 1985 Stadtgarten Restaurant Betriebs GmbH was founded, and reopened the restaurant after its renovation. [...]

On September 4th 1986, the concert hall was opened and in 1997 Studio 672 [former Schmuck-Kästchen] was reopened in its basement. Today the entire venue hosts up to 400 concerts per year.
In 2016, Stadtgarten received the Venue of the Year award by the German government as part of their the venue programming award Applaus. In 2018, the venue was transformed into the European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music with support from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia and the City of Cologne."

Reiner Michalke, program director for the renowned Stadtgarten venue, hired me to support their executive team to reposition the Stadtgarten identity. Over the course of one year I led the team to reflect and brainstorm on the uniqueness of their concert hall, club, and restaurant. We also started a concentrated research into the different audiences to understand their values and interests.

This process finally resulted in a precise design briefing, which Reiner Michalke used to call a pitch for Stadtgarten's new corporate design. Cologne based designer Christian Schäfer won and created a striking visual identity, which is praised throughout the community and widely recognized.

The Stadtgarten team was one of the most engaged, and inspired clients I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And it is quite wonderful to see how they achieved a complete repositioning of this much loved venue. The endeavor of carefully refacing an identity is always quite a challenge, and achieving it in a group is even harder but if you succeed, you win on all levels.

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Jannis Hannover

April 2nd, 2018

The Raumbewegungen project by Jannis Hannover is concerned with the sonification of environmental data. The focus of the study is the public space, which is created and used by human beings, and the way it changes physically within a particular time span. The sonified environmental data include temperature, air pressure, humidity, vibrations in the ground, CO2 levels, and movement. The translation of the fluctuating environmental data in an open space into sounds yielded an abstract composition, which made the constant reconfiguration of the environment audible. In addition, it provides the new soundtrack of a synchronized and alienated film of the place.
The result is an audio-visual interaction between electronic, abstract sounds and a video, which demonstrates the influence of people on the characteristics of their immediate environment.

Raumbewegungen by Jannis Hannover was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Christoph Beck

April 1st, 2018

Participants in the Focus installation by Christoph Beck attempt to focus their attention on a mantra in front of them. When they allow themselves to be distracted, they transform the distraction into the focus. If they ignore the distractions this suggests that their internal thinking processes were 'louder' than the external impulses.
The installation reflects how the way we interact with ourselves and the external world leaves traces within us. It links up with the internal processes of the autonomous nervous system in order to show that participants direct their own well-being by means of conscious processing of distractions. 

Focus by Christoph Beck was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Vincent Stange

Transformation in Sync
March 31st, 2018

The installation Transformation in Sync by Vincent Stange reflects the connection and separateness of rooms. Both, the sound and the lighting, play a crucial part in this installation. On February 14, 2018 Vincent Stange presented his sound and light composition on the two floors of Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf. The audience was exposed to equally strong auditory and visual stimuli. What they heard was converted to light and back again to sound. The central question in this study is whether a light composition can replace musical elements or whether it remains only a visual event.

Transformation in Sync by Vincent Stange was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Journey in Satchidananda (1971) b Alice Coltrane.

Music on Good Friday

by the One and Only Alice Coltrane
March 30th, 2018

Via Wikipedia: "Discography as leader:
A Monastic Trio (Impulse!, 1968)
Cosmic Music (Impulse!, 1966–68) with John Coltrane
Huntington Ashram Monastery (Impulse!, 1969)
Ptah, the El Daoud (Impulse!, 1970)
Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse!, 1970)
Universal Consciousness (Impulse!, 1971)[15]
World Galaxy (Impulse!, 1972)
Lord of Lords (Impulse!, 1973)
Reflection on Creation and Space (a Five Year View) (Impulse!, 1973; compilation)
Illuminations (Columbia, 1974) with Carlos Santana
Eternity (Warner Bros, 1975)
Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana (Warner Bros., 1976)
Transcendence (Warner Bros., 1977)
Transfiguration (Warner Bros., 1978)
Turiya Sings (Avatar Book Institute, 1982)
Divine Songs (Avatar, 1987)
Infinite Chants (Avatar, 1990)
Glorious Chants (Avatar, 1995)
Priceless Jazz Collection (GRP, 1998; compilation)
Astral Meditations (Impulse!, 1999; compilation)
Translinear Light (Impulse!, 2004)
The Impulse Story (Impulse!, 2006; compilation)
World Spiritual Classics: Volume I: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop, 2017; compilation)"

Thanks to Sarah Szczesny!

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Ruggero Maramotti somehow got fired from National Geographic.

Thoughts without a thinker

by Mark Epstein, M.D.

Via Mark Epstein: "A landmark contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, Thoughts Without a Thinker describes how Buddhist teachings in particular have reshaped understandings of our minds and behavior. Drawing upon his own experiences as a psychotherapist and meditator, New York-based psychiatrist Mark Epstein lays out the path to meditation inspired healing. Now with a new preface by the author, Thoughts Without a Thinker offers a revolutionary understanding of what constitutes a healthy emotional life."

Via The New York Times: "The problem with the ego, according to Mr. Epstein, is that it wants so badly to know. 'The ego comes into being when we’re two or three or four years old,' he said, 'just feeling our own separateness and how difficult it is to navigate the external pressures from parents and teachers, and the internal pressures of one’s biology, one’s drives and so on. The ego wants security and stability and coherence. It’s rooted in the intellect, so it tells stories. It fastens on to the first stories that start to make sense, both positive and negative.'
We then incessantly repeat these stories to ourselves 'under our breath,' as Mr. Epstein writes in the new book. The classic stubborn story dealt with in therapy, he said, can be summarized in four words: 'The problem is me.' And the low self-esteem reinforced by such stories 'is as much ego as the puffed-up, I’m the best, competitive, American way we ordinarily think of the ego.' "

Via Wikipedia: "Epstein has been a practicing Buddhist since his early twenties, when he traveled to Ajahn Chah's forest Buddhist monastery near Bangkok, Thailand together with his American Buddhist teachers Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Richard Alpert.
He is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and his books include Thoughts Without a Thinker, and Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. Both books deal with the difficult and counter-intuitive Eastern teachings of non-self."

Thanks to Nina Juric!

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Valentin Dudeck

they don’t need repair
March 10th, 2018

The audiovisual installation they don’t need repair by Valentin Dudeck establishes a link between object and sound. The deliberate destruction of an object made of glass is transferred to the sound level. As a result, the destruction continues to be audible beyond the moment of disintegration.
The chance configuration that occurs is scanned by a camera. The individual positions of the broken pieces of glas determine the sound, which is also made visible by the projection of the camera picture.

they don’t need repair by Valentin Dudeck was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Jannis Carbotta

Moiré Patterns
March 8th, 2018

The Moiré Patterns installation by Jannis Carbotta reflects upon the moiré effect. This is a graphical effect created by overlaying screens onto each other and produces endless new forms according to the angle from which they are viewed. In the installation the effect is reconstructed analogously and made perceivable in the form of light and sound. Jannis Carbotta transfers this optical illusion to sound and shows a large-screen visualization in the room.

Moiré Patterns by Jannis Carbotta was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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