For one week each year, the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts gathers creators and performers of new media arts from around the world to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul (USA) to showcase their work to the public.
February 17 – 22, 2009
University of Minnesota
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Douglas Geers & Ali Momeni, Artistic Directors
J. Anthony Allen, Producer
Phillip O’Toole, Technical Director
James P Hunglemann, Nightlife Curator
2009 Featured Artists
STEIM (the studio for electro-instrumental music) is the only independent live electronic music centre in the world that is exclusively dedicated to the performing arts. The foundation’s artistic and technical departments supports an international community of performers and musicians, and a growing group of visual artists, to develop unique instruments for their work. STEIM invites these people for residencies and provides them with an artistic and technical environment in which concepts can be given concrete form. It catalyzes their ideas by providing critical feedback grounded in professional experience. These new creations are then exposed to a receptive responsive niche public at STEIM before being groomed for a larger audience.
STEIM – 40 years in live electronic arts by Takuro Mizuta Lippit / Artistic Director of STEIM
For the last forty years STEIM, STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music, Amsterdam has been the leading institution in research, development and facilitating live electronic music and arts. Many unique instruments and tools have been created over the years; Blackbox Modular Synth System, Crackle Box, SensorLab, The Hands, LiSa and JunXion are just to name a few. STEIM has also functioned as an active hub of ideas and people, becoming a safe house for an international community. Today, STEIM continues to support artists through it’s artist in residency program, educational program and concert series.
This presentation will introduce the general history of STEIM and it’s work method through various examples of artists and projects. Recent activities will also be presented as well as the challenges that the institution faced in 2008.
Visit the STEIM website…
Kanta Horio studied acoustics and sound art at the Kyushu Institute of Design in Fukuoka, Japan. He present audio performance using physical phenomena with electronic devices, kinetic objects, and assorted self-built gadgets. In recent presentations he has explored installations too. He has performed widely both internationally and throughout Japan. Alongside his performance activities, he organizes some unique events such as “dorkbot tokyo – people doing strange things with electricity”.
Visit Kanta Horio’s website…
David Wessel studied mathematics and experimental psychology at the University of Illinois and received a doctorate in mathematical psychology from Stanford in 1972. His work on the perception and compositional control of timbre in the early 70’s at Michigan State University led to a musical research position at IRCAM in Paris in 1976. In 1979 he began reshaping the Pedagogy Department to link the scientific and musical sectors of IRCAM. In 1985 he established a new IRCAM department devoted to the development of interactive musical software for personal computers. In 1988 he began his current position as Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley where he is Director of CNMAT. He is particularly interested in live-performance computer music where improvisation plays an essential role.
Visit David Wessel’s website…
The kaleidoscopic talent of Douglas Ewart has expressed itself in so many forms–instruments that double as sculptures, music that combines the traditions of four continents with fresh inventions, masks and costumes fit for rituals ominous or joyous, death-defying improvisations combining master musicianship and acting-that the whole might be mistaken for the work of a small culture rather than one man.
Visit Douglas Ewart’s website…
Puzzleweasel is the sonic output of Peter Dahlgren. Originally swedish, the puzzleweasel was brought up around europe in Zürich, Amsterdam and Stockholm and now resides in Aarhus, Denmark. Where he started churning out his music in 2001. Fueled by years of dance floor attendance at raves and jungle/ dnb venues he started sculpting away at his intricate take on beat programming. Quickly getting recognition for his uncompromising sound and overwhelming presence on stage.
Visit Puzzleweasel’s website…
Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal is a professor at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He has exhibited his art world wide, and traveled and lectured extensively to inform audiences of the situation of the Iraqi people, and the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Bilal’s dynamic installation Domestic Tension placed him in front of a paintball gun which people could shoot at him over the internet, 24 hours a day. The month-long piece spurred online debates and intense conversations, garnering the praise of the Chicago Tribune, which called it “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time” and named him Artist of the Year in 2007. Newsweek called it “breathtaking.” But it is the resulting dialogue that Bilal seeks, as an artist who feels he does not have the privilege to create work that is not political. In the face of a war that stretches on, the 2004 deaths of his brother and father, the violence in his own history, Bilal seeks to imbue his audiences with a sense of empowerment that comes from hope in the enduring potential of humanity. In fall 2008 City Lights published “Shoot an Iraqi: Life, Art and Resistance Under the Gun,” about Bilal’s life and the Domestic Tension project.
Visit Wafaa Bila’s website…
UK sound artist Ray Lee’s bewitching sonic sculptures become an extraordinary choir that produces mesmerizing drones and whirls of light in a carefully shaped hourlong sound /theatrical performance. An indescribable experience, Siren incorporates 30 large metal tripods at varying heights with rotating arms that generate electronic tones. In near darkness, two performers set each arm in motion, building a dramatic, immersive spectacle of choreographed movement, light, and sound while the audience is free to roam the McGuire stage. Siren was a hit of the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Visit Ray Lee’s webite…
Although you won’t find his name in their catalog, Stefan Betke has been closely associated with the Berlin-based Basic Channel label and BC artists such as Maurizio, Monolake, and Vainqueur. Like those artists’ bassy, dub-laden reductions of techno and house, Betke’s work (appearing so far on the Kiff SM, Din, and Mute labels under the name Pole) has been all about doing more with less — snaps, clicks, crackles, and smudgy bass atmospheres occupy the whole of Pole 12- inches such as “Tanzen” and “Raum Eins/Raum Zwei,” as well as Betke’s aptly titled series of CD releases issued by Kiff and distributed to American audiences by Matador. Where most Basic Channel releases cling fearlessly to the throbbing momentum of 4/4 minimalism, however, Betke draws complex, intricate rhythms from the crisp analog haze, layering rich, ghosted melodies over multitracked tape hiss and a barrage of syncopated skips and stutters. Betke’s nom de plum derives, as usual, from a sound- processing device — the Waldorf 4 Pole-Filter, from which issue the strained creaks and crackles that identify and characterize his music.
Jochem Paap, aka Speedy J, is a Rotterdam-based techno musician whose polished blend of melodious electro-pop with a harder, more Detroit- fueled edge has been among the most highly-praised of post-rave European techno. The Dutch rep in Richie “Plastikman” Hawtin’s Plus 8 label, Paap was equally well-known as a club DJ (his nom de record is in reference to his prowess on the cut) before deciding in 1997 to curtail his DJ engagements and focus on his music. His 1993 debut LP, Ginger, was an engaging blend of ambient textures and hard, crisp beats, and was immediately smacked with the “intelligent dance music” tag, aided by the inclusion of a pair of tracks on the first volume of Warp’s influential (Artificial Intelligence) series. Paap has since released several follow-ups under the Speedy J moniker (G-Spot, Public Energy No. 1, A Shocking Hobby) and two solo albums in an ambient series for Fax titled Vrs-Mbnt-Pcs 9598 (just re-insert the missing vowels for a quick translation). He’s also recorded a scattering of material as Public Energy for Plus 8, as well as for his own Beam Me Up! label before discontinuing the latter in 1996.
Author of over ten books and over 90 papers in the fields of Arithmetic, Topology, Category Theory, Algebraic Geometry, Mathematical Music Theory, Brain Research, Computergraphics in the Arts, Performance Theory, Computer Musicology. Mazzola is an internationally recognized jazz pianist. Production of several LPs and CDs; composition grants of the City of Z¸rich. Extensive tours as a jazz pianist in Europe, USA, Corea, Japan, Indonesia, and Mexico.
Scott Pagano is a filmmaker, motion designer and spatial reconstructionist. He is a leading edge exemplar of the current digital vanguard reinventing the fine art as well as pop art worlds. He is a visionary and acclaimed Creator Director and Designer in the interactive visual storytelling arts that are being more and more demanded by feature film and video gaming audiences. His motion art works and music videos have been screened in venues ranging from, movie theaters, fine art galleries, international film and music festivals, and MTV. Working with some of the most innovative artists in the Music and Film worlds, Scott has created abstract and conventional digital artworks that push the boundaries of audio- visual composition and process combining a dynamic mix of cinematographic and synthetic imagery. The narratives streaming in his video artworks lay the foundation for the storytelling of a new age.
Born in New York in 1976, KEIR NEURINGER is active as an improvising saxophonist, a composer of electronic and acoustic music, and a vocal performer. His output ranges from pulse-based electronic music, through free jazz and experimental electroacoustic improvisation, to notated compositions for contemporary classical ensembles. He also writes texts and makes videos and installations critical of the destructive behavior of the dominant culture. In 1999 he moved to Europe and spent ten years, during which time he was a Fulbright scholar at the Academy of Music in Kraków and a master’s degree graduate of The Hague’s experimental interdisciplinary ArtScience Institute. It was during these ten years that he cultivated a personal and intensely physical approach to solo saxophone performance that both honors and eschews many diverse music-making traditions. He also cleaned offices, worked as an undocumented helper at a children’s daycare center, and curated the audiovisual program at contemporary art platform <>TAG. Keir Neuringer collaborates with a wide and undefined network of musicians, including Rafal Mazur, Ensemble Klang, Joel Ryan, DJ Sniff, Carlos Iturralde and Matt Bauder. He has performed and exhibited works in the US, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, South Africathroughout Europe. He lives in New York.
Danceband, Second Life Avatar Orchestra, Beatrix*JAR, and many more!