The exhibition 'Territoires Familiers?', curated by Huayra Llanque at Espace Niemeyer in Paris, will feature Optophono projects by the artists Matilde Meireles and Una Lee. The exhibition will run from 10-27 April 2018.
Espace Niemeyer, a National Heritage site designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, holds the distinction of being the Paris HQ of the Parti communiste française.
Llanque writes of the exhibition:
When in 1999 the artist Mona Hatoum created the installation Home, she questioned everyday space, and placed us between intimacy and geopolitical situation. Kitchen utensils made of metal, arranged on a worktop, become the conductive elements of an electrical circuit. This one draws a palpable demarcation line and gives a familiar universe a threatening character. From this everyday image, broader questions are involved.
Today, this installation is the trigger for a conversation imagined between graphic works, or sound, photographs, sculptures, on the occasion of the exhibition Familiar Territories? , at the Espace Niemeyer. Usual objects or familiar images constitute a universe and sometimes structure our places of life. Repeated gestures draw in their own way playgrounds or territories. The exhibition proposes to look at artistic practices that question these familiar terrains, through different media. The works take place inside the Espace Niemeyer, which houses meeting places, spaces for passage and exchange.
Marked by a singular architecture and history, Espace Niemeyer is located at Place du Colonel Fabien, at the junction of several neighborhoods in eastern Paris. Many people rub shoulders daily with the building, known in particular for its white dome that rises from the ground and awakens the imaginary. The exhibition Familiar territories? proposes an exploration inside the building where the curved walls, the inclined planes, the sloping ground jostle our landmarks.
The launch event will feature Una Lee and Meabh Meir in performance. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to all.
Sign up for the event here. We hope to see you there!
Optophono is proud to take part in the 2017 Digital Design Weekend at the V&A Museum in London. We will be showing projects by:
Una Lee: OAZE (2017) interactive sound map
Helena Hamilton: Butterflies (2017) for overhead projector and electronics
Pasquale Totaro: Pyramid Synth (2017): the snythesizer that turns objects into sound
Where to find us at the V&A:
Seminar Room 5, Learning Centre, Victoria & Albert Museum
10 AM-5.30 PM, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 2017.
We are grateful to the V&A and to the AHRC Digital Transformations Scheme for their support of this project.
Optophono: Making Music Interactive
As listeners we have come to think of recordings as something we passively consume. Music is something we press ‘Play’ on—and then do other things while the music ‘happens’. With Optophono we wanted to trouble this dynamic. We wanted to move away from the idea that recordings should be fixed or static objects, and that listeners should have so little creative input into the musical process. Therefore, instead of issuing fixed recordings on CD, tape or vinyl, we created interactive works that we published on hard drives and USBs. These compositions put the listener at the heart of the creative process. Instead of simply pressing ‘Play’ listeners could create their own music using our software and sounds.
Some Optophono projects have practical applications in addition to being musical compositions. Long for this World, for example, doubles as a sleep app. Using our software, listeners can choose how long they want to sleep for—say, twenty minutes or eight hours—and then create their own music for sleeping. They can do this by mixing dozens of audio tracks contributed by various artists, choosing various randomizing functions, or selecting options from a bank of acoustic effects. The complexity and variety of the music that arises means that not only will every listener have an entirely different experience of the music upon each hearing, but that the listeners themselves will determine, to a large extent, what that music comprises.
Music could more meaningfully come into dialogue with digital design, software design and object design. Some musicians and engineers are already thinking this way. Pasquale Totaro, for example, has created a synthesizer that senses the properties of small objects—their colour, transparency, weight, texture, etc.—and modulates sound accordingly. Helena Hamilton, a visual artist and sound artist based in Belfast, is creating a new work for Optophono that will enable people to create their own music by drawing.
Optophono would like to support the work of such artist-designers. At the V&A Digital Design Weekend we will also showcase work that we recently developed as part of our AHRC-funded project ‘Pet Sounds’, which explored the possibilities of music making using social media. More generally, with Optophono we would like to put pressure on the idea of what a music recording is. In the digital era recordings don’t have to be inert. Recordings can also be alive.
The Optophono logo (above) was designed by Ryan O'Reilly, the enormously talented designer behind Rinky Design. The 'O' in Optophono hints at an eye (as in opto/optical), while the 'P' hints at an ear (as in phono/audial).
Our design was inspired by this: a cosmic amplifier by NASA. An actual cosmic amplifier!
After completing our logo design and publishing our first edition we discovered this: a print entitled 'Optophone I' by Francis Picabia, from 1922. Coincidence? Or kismet?
One of the highlights for us at the End-of-Year Show at the Royal College of Art was Charles Richards' A.T.O.M.S. (Acoustic Tonalities of Mineral Sound), for which Richard sonifies the material properties of stones & minerals.
As part of his project Richards designed a turntable that resonates slabs of marble, travertine, Onyx and clays. He also made album of original compositions derived from the sonified properties of these materials.
Richards writes in the album notes that he wishes to 'inspire new ways of experiencing the materials that make up our landscapes and built [environments]. A.T.O.M.S. is the magnification of the micro sound worlds that lay semi-dormant within many forms of our earth's DNA, but that, as structural surfaces, also have profound effects in acoustically shaping the sound of our environments'.
Optophono is thrilled to announce that we'll be taking part in the Victoria & Albert Museum's Digital Design Weekend 2017, part of the London Design Festival. The exhibition will take place over the course of two days, 23-24 September. Organisers are expecting over 25,000 visitors, so arrive early! We will show a number of Optophono projects including apps we recently developed as part of our AHRC-funded project 'Pet Sounds'. We hope to see you there!