CEAIT Festival

CEAIT Festival

TwoTwenty/OneTen | Europe, L.A. and Points East

"An important contender in the international network of multimedia experimental festivals." Los Angeles Times

The genre-defying annual festival from the CalArts Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology offers three evenings of new improvised music and multimedia. Opening the fest is Miya Masaoka, the Alpert Award-winning composer, sound artist and koto player whose trailblazing work incorporates natural sources such as the sounds and movements of insects, plant physiology, human brainwaves, and the bodies of exotic dancers. This year's fest also brings programs from the Sicilian composer and improviser Domenico Sciajno, whose practice generates and modifies sounds through visual parameters and processes; and Tokyo-based sound artist Toshi Nakamura, who uses his signature no-input mixing board to weave delicate webs of feedback tones and "accidental" sonic textures. Each artist will perform a solo set, and then a second set with Los Angeles-based improvisers Hans W. Koch (25 Jan.), David Rothbaum (26 Jan.) and Lewis Keller and Carole Kim (27 Jan.).

Thu Jan 25 | 8:30 pm
Miya Masaoka/Hans W. Koch
"Even within the wide-open esthetic of West Coast improv, Miya Masaoka is a maverick." The Vancouver Sun
"Those who take the time will marvel at how ingeniously Masaoka can challenge and change perceptions of what is, and isn't, music".  San Diego Union Tribune

Fri Jan 26 | 8:30 pm
Domenico Sciajno/David Rothbaum
"It's a good listen because Sciajno knows how to seduce the ear, not clobbering the listener but welcoming us into his viscous, oozing soundscapes." Clive Bell, The Wire

Sat Jan 27 | 8:30 pm
Toshi Nakamura/Lewis Keller and Carole Kim
"I don't know of any music being created anywhere that exerts such a profound physiological effect." David Toop, The Wire

Funded in part by generous grants from the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and The Herb Alpert Foundation.

Thu Jan 25 | 8:30 pm
Miya Masaoka

Selections from:
Things Connecting to Nothing (2006) for koto and interactive electronics I wanted to create a piece where pitches were sometimes themselves on their own, and sometimes exploding in little outbursts like small fires, random and surprising, but also maintaining some unity.

Pieces for Plants #9, an interactive piece for houseplant, electrodes, and laptop. Pieces for Plants is an interactive installation for the American semi-tropical climbing philodendron, electrodes and laptop. It was shown most recently at NIME 2006 at IRCAM, France and the Center for Art and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland. Other exhibits include Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival’s Homemade Instrument Day. Versions of this piece have also been performed at the Lab in San Francisco, and Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California.

In this installation, highly sensitive electrodes are connected between to the leaves of the philodendron and connected to a laptop computer. The electrodes and computer give “voice” to the plant, providing a sonic indicator of the plant’s electrical activity and its physiological response to its surroundings. Thus, people can approach the plant, and hear the plant’s response to their presence; as they move their hands around the plant at varying speeds, the plant’s responses are audible. In this way, participants are encouraged to consider the possibility and potential of a plant to have an awareness, to have the ability to communicate, and to have a plant-like consciousness.

Things in an Open Field (2005–6) for Laser Koto
I like to think of sounds like objects that can be conjured by gestural hand movements coaxing the sounds to come forth. I became very aware of the power of gesture in studying gagaku, where learning the instruments included specific gestural movements not related to sound, but to the visible and psychological impact on the listener. Here, the laser beams are in a horizontal array, and act as metaphors for koto strings. The position and gestures of the hands breaking the beams manipulate and control the sounds of this piece. Developed first at STEIM, the Laser Koto began as one beam of ultra-sound rising up horizontally across the koto. Adventures of the Solitary Bee
An 8-minute video composed, written, performed and directed by Miya Masaoka. In a faux documentary style, hundreds of bees from the hive crawl on skin, and the solitary bee is the hero who escapes the highly structured and oppressive hive system.

Miya Masaoka resides in New York City and is a classically trained musician, composer and sound/installation artist. She has created works for solo koto, laser interfaces, laptop and video, sculpture installations and written scores for ensembles, chamber orchestra and mixed choirs. She has a large body of work for solo koto, live electronics and video. She often works with the sonification of data, and maps the behavior of brain activity, plants and insect movement to sound.

A major influence on her musical and philosophical approach has evolved from studying with gagaku master Suenobu Togi, for whom she formed and directed the San Francisco Gagaku Society for eight years. She studied with Wayne Peterson and Eric Moe at San Francisco State University (Bachelor of Arts in Music), and Alvin Curran and David Tudor at Mills College (Master of Arts in Composition, 1994)

Her work has been performed throughout the world including the Venice Biennale 2004, the Miller Theater, NYC, V2 (Rotterdam), IRCAM, (Paris), KunstRadio (Vienna ), Radio Breman (Germany), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Le Centrale (Canada), and festivals including Moers (Germany), Victoria (British Columbia), London Musicians’ Collective’s Festival of Experimental Music (England), Other Minds Festival, Bang on a Can at Henry Street Settlement and the Santa Fe Electro-Acoustic Music Festival.

Sound installation exhibitions include Lincoln Center Out of Doors (Homemade Instrument Day), The Kitchen (The Cube with participating artists), 2006 Winter Olympics (Torino, Italy), Center for Art and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland (Blur of the Other Worldly), and the Issue Project Room, Brooklyn.

She has also has performed with leading improvisers and artists working in jazz and world traditions. Toshiko Akiyoshi wrote a piece for her entitled Suite for Koto and Jazz Orchestra. She has performed with Pharoah Sanders, Cecil Taylor’s large ensemble, toured and/or recorded with Steve Coleman, Pauline Oliveros, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, William Parker, Fred Frith, Larry Ochs, George Lewis, John Butcher, Peter Kowald, Gerry Hemingway, Samir Chatterjee, Zakir Hussein, Christian Wolff and Joan Jeanrenaud, formerly of Kronos Quartet. She has toured throughout India six times with Dr. L. Subramaniam.

Commissions include Bang On a Can, Engine 27/Harvestworks, Gerbode Foundation, Wattis Fellowship, British Broadcasting Co. (BBC), Asian Art Foundation, Alonzo King and Lines Ballet. Other ensembles performing her work include Volti, Ensemble of the Piedmont Choirs, ROVA, San Francisco Choral Society; Awards include the Alpert Arts Award, the Mills Faculty Award in Composition (1994), ASCAP and The New Langton Arts Award. Residencies include Other Minds, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, Western Front (Vancouver), Jacob’s Pillow and STEIM (the Netherlands),

Miya Masaoka is currently a professor in the Music/Sound department at the Milton Avery School of the Arts MFA Program, Bard College, NY.
Miya Masaoka

Miya Masaoka with Hans Koch

Hans Koch: As composer/performer I am often working with electronic sound produced by or taken from everyday-tools, like household electronics, hairdryers, steel wool for cleaning pots and pans or old computers. They are combined in strange ways to reveal some more hidden aspects of their functionality, and I strive to transform them into instruments. Music-like structures are more or less a side-effect of the process of the search for the proper abuse of these things. On the other hand when working with digital media, I try to explore their boundaries and implicit faults, in order to arrive at interactions which keep a life of their own and react to human input in an unpredictable way.
Hans W. Koch

Fri Jan 26 | 8:30 pm
Domenico Sciajno

The videos of the dAtA serie are not derived from a standard “post-production” technique. Sequences, edits, superimpositions, keyings and video processings are in fact generated by myself in real time during live performances. My roots are in music and sound production therefore it is essential for me to eliminate the distance between the creative idea and its activation and to bring this process on stage as part of the performance. This new series is therefore an evolution of my research in the field of sound and image elaboration and within my personal synchronization computerized system: sounds and music produced in the performance are “dissected” in several sonic parameters and mapped to visual parameters in order to have a direct relation between musical gestures and visual processes. Other techniques are also adopted in order to invert this process modifyng or generating sounds through visual parameters and gestures. These processes were used for the first time in 2000 for my project entitled Objectable, then evolved for the series ThisTime_DisPlace, and today they have been further extended and applied to my dAtA project.

The title dAtA comes out from the data and databases treatment techniques which I transform in social and political metaphor. dAtA is a “box” containing a series of audiovisual performances: for instance in dAtA cOntrOl the letters written by the infamous fugitive Bernardo Provenzano in a Mafioso code addressed to his “picciotti” (fellas) in order to manage the clan businesses, digitalized by optical scansion, become the control data which will modify the audiovisual parameters during the performance. In dAtA cOmprEssIOn, the false perfection of digital image widely acclaimed by producers of mobile phones, video cameras and digital cameras for commercial aim in order to involve inexpert consumers, is unmasked (actually it is a compression/degradation of reality) and used as metaphor. The hypercompressed images are collected through the web and received as IMs or emails on an site created before the performance. After being combined together, each one of them becomes a single pixel composing a more complicated and articulated image, less and less faithful to reality.

dAtA displace: The idea derives from the previous series titled ThisTime_DisPlace and represents the research of an “environmental contestualization” connected to the place where the performance takes place and in which the audiovisual source is real time captured during the performance itself.

dAtA control: The letters written by the infamous fugitive Bernardo Provenzano in a Mafioso code addressed to his “picciotti” (fellas) in order to manage the clan businesses, digitalized by optical scansion become the control datas which will modify the audio-visual parameters during the performance.

dAtA UnwArpEd Warp is not “just” a label. Warp is a “style”, actually a “brand”. The well-famed Warp sustained the new electronic scene that appeared in the 2nd half of the ’90s and today it glorifies its success. A scene that renewed the routine of the techno and DJ culture but that is strongly in debt to the field of historic and experimental electronic music. So why not feel free to play around with the great images and videos accompanying the sounds of the well known Warp artists? Visual sources will therefore be the “Warp Visions” accompanied and processed by my own sounds.

Born in Torino Italy in 1965, double bass player and composer Domenico Sciajno studied instrumental and electronic composition with Gilius Van Bergeijk and double bass in the Royal Conservatory of Den Haag in Holland. His interest for improvisation and the influence of academic education, bring his research to the creative possibilities given by the interaction between acoustic instruments, indeterminacy factors and their live processing by electronic devices or computers.

Since 1992 he has been present at some of the most important festivals as a musician, improviser, or composer in the contemporary and experimental music scene and some of his work is documented by worldwide independent labels of experimental and electronic music. The wide spectrum of his experiences brings him very close to the concept of performance, where he use texts and electronics in combination with a choreographic use of the scene space and the projection of visuals made by him.

In 1994 he became assistant to the American composer of electroacoustic music Alvin Curran. This relationship developed into an intense artistic collaboration. Since 1999 he lives in Palermo. In 2002 STEIM (a center for the development of interactive systems for performance located in Amsterdam, Holland) commissioned from him a composition for a multichannel spatialization system, and offered him a composition residency.

He has made interactive sound installations for art galleries and exhibitions (among these the remarkable Espiral premiered at the Stuttgart FilmWinter festival 2004). An activist in the development of experimental arts, in 1995 he founded the association Antitesi, from 1995 and 1998 organized concerts and little festivals (Antitesi in musica ’95/’96, Folk it out! ’97, i(n)terazioni ’98, Inaudito! ’99), in 1997 he collaborated to give birth to the Fringes record label, in 2003 started toghether with other musicians the label Bowindo and founded the national collective iXem (italian eXperimental electronic music). In the edition 2004 of Prix Ars Electronica his work OUR UR in collaboration with Alvin Curran was awarded an honorary mention.
Domenico Sciajno

Domenico Sciajno with David Rothbaum

David Rothbaum, originally a heavy metal electric bass player, now performs on analog modular synthesizer. Current projects include Monsturo (field recordings of imaginary spaceships), Planet of the Flesh-Eating Robots (with Jonathan Snipes) and Dirty Modelz (with Albert Ortega). In addition to these projects he can often be found in smaller improvised settings. Since 2003 he has run the record label emr which specializes in putting out music he likes.
David Rothbaum

Sat Jan 27 | 8:30 pm
Toshi Nakamura

Toshi Nakamura, starting as a guitarist, has evolved a unique style of sound performance based on the use of a small sound desk with no signal inputs. Instead, this “no-input mixing board”, as he calls it, is set up to loop outputs to inputs, running in outboard effects to produce a delicately constructed web of feedback tones and other “accidental” sonic raw materials. Un was a recording of his duo with Sachiko M (“no-no duo,” with Sachiko M’s no-sample sampler). Since 1996 Nakamura has been a composer/sound designer for the theatrical works of Bagnolet Choreography Concours-winning dancer Kim Ito, which have been performed in Japan, the U.S., England, France, Germany and Israel. Since 1998 Nakamura has also organized, hosted and performed in a monthly improvised music gathering with guitarists Taku Sugimoto and Tetuzi Akiyama in Tokyo, which has become an important meeting point of the Tokyo improvised music scene.
Toshi Nakamura

Toshi Nakamura with Lewis Keller and Carole Kim

Lewis Keller plays percussion, guitar and electronics and is a composer and sound artist based in Los Angeles. His work deals with the perception of time and space as well as the roll of technology in his culture and its impact on Earth. He is interested in focusing people’s awareness by manipulating these memes and often subverting their usual understanding. He finds sounds in electromagnetic radiation, contact miked objects, field recordings, hacked and repurposed consumer items, and found objects in addition to more traditional instruments. He builds instruments acoustic, electronic, found and virtual. Much of his compositional language addresses improvisation and constrained stochastic events. Pieces range from the dense and hyper complex to tissue-thin simplicity. He plays in solo, duo and group situations as well as creating interactive and static sound installations.
Lewis Keller

Carole Kim is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on performance-based video installation combining digital/new media technologies and the sensitivity of the improvisational live performer/participant. The work emphasizes video’s capacity as a live medium and the illusory architecture of layered video projection in space. The seamless cinematic distance of pre-edited film viewing is ruptured by the awareness that the moving image is being constructed in the moment. A particular love for the reciprocal exchange between sound and image has fostered many collaborative projects with musician/composers including Nels Cline, GE Stinson, Jesse Gilbert, Alex Cline, Steve Roden, Sara Schoenbeck, Harris Eisenstadt, Yorgos Adamis, Motoko Honda, Gilbert Nouno, Joelle Leandre, Carla Bozulich, and Scott Amendola.
Carole Kim

Funded in part by generous grants from the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and The Herb Alpert Foundation.

Associated Images: 

THU 1/25
8:30 pm
FRI 1/26
8:30 pm
SAT 1/27
8:30 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff