Bainbridge Held performance, distENDED cinema curated by David Linton, Brooklyn, NYC 2016, document video by Yana Milanberg
BENTON C BAINBRIDGE and BARBARA HELD’s new duo pairs acoustic and electronic sound with analog image. Their live performances and studio work are composed using Eurorack video modules and a small Moog synthesizer modulated with acoustic flute sound. This is the first time they have worked together since their 1995 collaborative performance with Nancy Meli Walker for the Festival Grec in Barcelona, Spain.
BARBARA HELD is a flutist and composer based in Barcelona. She has performed audiovisual work of Eugenia Balcells at MACBA; with Ursula Scherrer, Katherine Liberovskya and Anne Wellmer at LOOP Festival of Videoart in Barcelona ; Soundproof Festival, London; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; Solianka Gallery, Moscow; Issue Project Room, New York; The Bridge, Cologne; Experimental Intermedia, New York; Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; she participated in the group show “Microcosmics” curated by Joan Fontcuberta at the Sala Metrónom in Barcelona, and “Bioderivas” at the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Tenerife with Yapci Ramos and Richard Garet. Her music has been published by FO A RM magazine and Leonardo Music Journal, and on the Lovely Music Ltd. CD, “Upper Air Observation”. A collaborative installation with Kenneth Kirschner and Wolfgang Gil was presented by Contour Editions at Eyebeam in New York, and she recently created from 0, a performance/generative installation for the Signal X festival in Cagliari, Sardinia. She teaches as part of the University of Barcelona’s Master in Sound Art program. http://barbaraheld.com/
BENTON C BAINBRIDGE is a Bronx artist who makes media art with his own custom systems. Bainbridge is best known for visual performances, solo and in diverse collaborations. Benton VJ’d for 2 Beastie Boys world tours and made analog video synth FX for TV On The Radio’s “Staring at the Sun”. His artworks have shown around the world; currently touring projects include Kaki King/Glowing Pictures “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” and two collaborations with Jin Hi Kim, “Ghost Komungobot” and “Digital Buddha”. Bainbridge has been resident media artist for One Step Beyond since its inception; this monthly music and visuals series is now in its ninth season at American Museum of Natural History. Benton C Bainbridge teaches “New Forms in Media” at School of Visual Arts MFA Computer Arts Department. Benton’s generative browser artwork “justasecXYZ #3” recently showed at the MFACA exhibition “Techtonic Shift” and online at justasec.XYZ.
An improvised performance for a specific space that activates an evolving 4 channel sound installation. The flute tunes around a very soft high-pitched drone that seems to change location depending on the room’s acoustics.
Una performance improvvisata che “collabora” con lo spazio acustico, trasformandosi in un’installazione sonora in evoluzione continua.
Catalunya Musica joins the Ars Acustica Series of the EBU Euroradio Season. This is the first time that Catalunya Musica collaborates live with the EBU Ars Acustica Group on a collaborative concert with the Czech Radio. The concert titled AETHERART will be played live in 2 studios, Prague Improvisation Orchestra in Studio HRDINU in Prague, and members of the Orquesta del Caos in the studio of Catalunya Musica in Barcelona. The program consists of two collaborative group compositions by each ensemble, separated by 3 short interludes performed virtually via radio transmission by several musicians from each group.
From Barcelona: Barbara Held, flute; José Manuel Berenguer, live electronics; Tom Chant, saxs; Míriam Fèlix, violoncel and Pilar Subirà, percussión. Gerard Font, sound engineer.
From Prague: PIO : Jirí Durman, bass clarinet; Petr Vrba, trumpet and loudspeaker; Ivan Palacky, amplified sewing machine and voice; Lucie Vítková, acordeón and voice; Jorge Boehringer, violin; George Cremaschi, double bass; Michal Matejka, guitar; Ken Ganfield, live electronics; Michal Zboril, live electronics; Matthew Goodheart, piano
Painter Francesca Llopis and flutist Barbara Held have experimented with many different time forms, from performance defined by a scenography of objects, fans and special lighting (Upper Air Observation), to site-specific outdoor installations (6.4.89 Tienanmen), video installation (Gotescauen 2007), single channel video (S.T., 2009), (Drums, Desire…, 2007) (HOMMM, 2004) and collaborative performances with live video/sound.
“The Time in Tokyo” is a work in progress for live video and sound. Last Christmas, Francesca Llopismade the first of what will be a series of trips to Japan, and brought back a wealth of video footage, as much considered for the sound as for the image. A Spaniard whose childhood ambition was to live on the noisiest possible street corner, she was amazed at the impression of silence, even in the middle of the city of Tokyo. This piece uses much of the original video soundtrack, as in many cases it was composed directly to the camera.
In our time, music has been totally transformed by the influence of Asian philosophy, especially the sense of time and combination of silence and intensity of Japanese music, “sound in fragments in-between silence” as notated by Yuji Takahashi. “The Time in Tokyo” is based on the physical phenomena of sound as meditation. Maya Deren said that there is a woman’s time sense. It is true that each person, each country has a particular cadence. Here, music and found sound connect to my roots as a flutist in the 20th century, and to a personal musical rhythm. A 28 minute video of the full moon rising over beach dunes keeps time as a backdrop for images from Japan, sometimes narrative, filmed with the contemplative sense of the painter, who observes the image and makes it her own.
The following is a demo of scene 3, and attempts to give a sense of the shape of a live performance, and is not meant to be an edited video composition.
Issue Project Room NYC, 7/22/10
“Floating Points Festival” curated by Stephan Moore
A proposal by Barbara Held, commissioned by and realized with the technical support of the Orquesta de Caos and the collaboration of Jorge Guillen and Marta Martinez of the Institut de Ciencies del Mar, CMIMA, Barcelona.
Notes on State of the Sea – About measuring and naming, scientific and artistic study
When the Zeppelin Festival 2009 invited me to perform with their 8-channel sound system, a series of events lead me to a meditation on nature and technology. While listening to the weather report on my car radio, for the first time I noticed that the state of the sea, the “estat del mar”, was included in the weather forecast. “Marejol”, such a beautiful word to name a certain waviness of the sea. I investigated a bit more, and found that scientists have developed the Douglas Scale, an international table of categories to name the states of the sea in the major European languages, and in keeping with the character of each language, the names sound more or less poetic. The categories for “wind sea” in Italian, for example, (quasi calmo, molto agitato, molto grosso) sound like music notation, and in Catalan they appear to come from the traditional terms used by seagoing people. I also recalled reading the news about a giant wave (26,13 meters) that was measured off the coast of Santander during one of last winter’s major storms. The buoy belonging to the Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO) that made the measurement was actually broken from its mooring and carried away as far as San Sebastian. Scientists of the sea are constantly measuring the levels and movements of water, and that data is available online. The Coastal Monitoring Station of Barcelona, ICM-CSIC, maintains a system of a number of permanent devices continuously measuring different parameters of the coastal zone and systematic (monthly) surveys assessing environmental factors. This information is available as a series of daily photographs of a segment of the coastline, a monthly composite movie, as well as numerical data and graphs. The scientists who are using the data received from the system of buoys up and down the Catalan coast have made it available to me to use in this piece. Interestingly, Jorge Guillen of the Institut de Ciencies del Mar, CMIMA, is a specialist in beaches, the “line” between the dry land and the sea.
Specialists in acoustics use sensitive instruments to measure and record the resonance of real spaces in order to reproduce them digitally and create recordings of music or movie sound tracks that sound more realistic, approaching 3D sound. I was fascinated to discover that the special microphones and sensors that are used to capture the reverberation of an architectural space use heat to measure acoustic particle velocity, a translation of data that is similar to the way marine scientists measure the pressure of water in order to calculate the height of waves.
For the past three months I have been living with a beautiful book called Goethe & Palladio, Goethe’s study of the relationship between art and nature, leading through architecture to the discovery of the metamorphosis of plants. Goethe and Palladio, David Lowe/Simon Sharp, Lindesfarne Books, 2005
Inspired by the poet Goethe’s scientific approach of “knowing – from the inside”, so similar in spirit to Pauline Oliveros’ life-long practice of deep listening, I have approached the creation and performance of the State of the Sea as a classically trained flutist exploring natural acoustic space, as well as the electronic synthesis and reproduction of sound by using “real seeing/listening” – what Goethe called an “exact sensory imagination”, basic to both scientific and artistic study.
State of the Sea is a sonification of data from measurements of the sea including the famous storm in December of 2008 that reshaped the beaches of Barcelona. The data creates sound and controls the volume or movement of music through a multi-speaker system, translating one kind of natural movement into another perception of movement, sound vibrations, interacting in architectural space. In his Quattro Libri, Palladio defines architecture as “the transformation of space”. Music, as in all the creations of nature, is perceived as a “vibrant field of formative processes”. (Gordon L. Miller, Introduction to Goethe’s The Metamorphosis of Plants, MIT Press, p. viv)
“When man’s nature functions soundly as a whole, when he feels that the world of which he is part is a huge, beautiful, admirable and worthy whole, when this harmony gives him pure and uninhibited delight, then the universe, if it were capable of emotion, would rejoice at having reached its goal and admire the crowning glory of its own evolution. For, what purpose would those countless suns and planets and moons serve, those stars and milky ways, comets and nebulae, those created and evolving worlds, if a happy human being did not ultimately emerge to enjoy existence?” (Goethe, Essays on Art, p101)
Many thanks to Carlos and Elmer, Stephan Moore, Sam Roig, Jorge Guillen and Marta Martinez, Oscar Chic, Pauline Oliveros, Nil Tous.
fragment of sonification CSIC data mapping sea movements, temperature and wave height:
Hand program, State of The Sea
graphic design: Yapci Ramos, photos: Bruce Mowson