Steam Machine Music (Transmediale, Berlin, 1-5 febbraio)


Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee, Berlin, Deutschland

31 January 2012


For the opening event of the 25th anniversary edition of transmediale, we present a compelling and compressed taster of what will be on offer during the festival. In the opening ceremony taking place in the Auditorium of the HKW, the new Artistic Director Kristoffer Gansing will introduce the 2012 festival in/compatible, accompanied by Hortensia Völckers (KSB) and Bernd Scherer (HKW). Somewhere in between, the glitch-artist jon.satrom is featured, with one of his signature performances Prepared Desktop. And at the end of the ceremony, The Joshua Light Show will dazzle the audience with a special preview of their vintage light-show. Before and after the ceremony you are invited to enjoy events around the house, including the opening of the exhibition Dark Drives. Uneasy Energies in Technological Times which is devoted to the dark side of our technologised lives.

Meanwhile in the Labor Berlin studio, the artistic engineering group Weise7 present their in/compatible Laboratorium, delving deep into the materiality of network culture. With the miscommunication platform R15N, the Telekommunisten Network kick off the new festival initiative reSource for transmedial culture. While Jeremy Bailey takes us on a colourful journey into a bright and shiny looking tomorrow with his multimedia performance The Future of Creativity. In addition, there are performances and installations from Morten Riis, Robert Sakrowski and Gæoudjiparl among others.

A particularly in/compatible installation is Ben Woodeson’s latest work in his Health & Safety Violation series, an electrified curtain dividing the space of the HKW foyer. As a nod to the 25-year anniversary of the festival, you can also experience the re-staging of Videospiegel, the opening video programme of VideoFilmFest in 1988, the first edition of the transmediale.


And of course there will, as ever, be the opportunity to speak to the curators and producers of the festival. We look forward to your visit!


Detailed Programme: 


transmediale 2012 Exhibition (curators intro at 20.00)
Dark Drives. Uneasy Energies in technological Times curated by Jacob Lillemose

with artworks from Ant FarmWilliam S. Burroughs and Antony BalchArt 404Bjørn Erik Haugen,Bureau of Inverse Technology (B.I.T.)Chris BurdenChris Cunningham/Aphex TwinConstant Dullaart,Costanza Candeloro and Luca LibertiniDaniel García Andújar / Technologies To The PeopleHeath BuntingJack Caravanos (Blacksmith Institute)Vibek Raj MauryaJaromilJennifer ChanJK Keller,JODIjon.satromJunko & MattinMarcelina WellmerMatteo GiordanoKarla Grundick and Mistress KoyoPaidia InstitutePeter LuiningRuth WhiteSPKSteina and Woody VasulkaSture Johannesson,Nikola TeslaJay DahlTR KirsteinTracy CornishUBERMORGEN.COMVNS Matrix[epidemiC]Franco Berardi, Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG


reSource for transmedial culture
Steam Machine Music – live construction by Morten Riis
R15N | presentation by Dmytri Kleiner, Baruch Gottlieb and the Telekommunisten Network


Screening (loop), Theatersaal
Re-enactment Videospiegel | The first programme of VideoFilmFest ’88


18:30, Auditorium

transmediale 2012 Opening Ceremony | presentation with Kristoffer Gansing, Hortensia Völckers, Bernd Scherer and performance for prepared desktop by jon.satrom


20:15, Café Global stage
Opening of the reSource for transmedial culture
Introduction of the reSource programme by Tatiana Bazzichelli with the participation of the Telekommunisten Network and Morten Riis.
20:30, K1

Steam Machine Music | performance by Morten Riis


20:30, Labor Berlin Studio

Labor Berlin 8 / Studio Weise7 Exhibition
The in/compatible Laboratorium | Vernissage with Kristoffer Gansing, Valerie Smith, Studio Weise 7 (Servando Barreiro, Brendan Howell, Gordan Savičić, Bengt Sjölén, Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev)


21:00, Performances, Café Global stage

The Future of Creativity | by Jeremy Bailey


21:30Café Global stage
DJ Set
STRFLD Simulation | with lu-cut and actylat


(Image: jon.satrom Prepared Desktop)





Steam Machine Music is a homebuilt mechanical instrument made mostly from vintage Meccano parts. The instrument is driven by a steam engine that provides the whole instrument with energy. The sound material is generated from various strings, dynamos and music boxes but the most important sound generating part is the sound of the machine itself, the rhythmic patterns and pulsating drones of the steam engine, the squeaking of the gear trains.


The instability of the entire mechanism is extremely noticeable, and displays and reflects the physicality of the machine to an extreme degree. Everything is imminently about to go wrong, a cogwheel that jams, a screw that loosens itself, a chain falling of, water running out, the loss of steam pressure, gas running out. Steam Machine Music questions the whole practice and conceptualising of machine music in a historical perspective that points to the fact that machines always have been malfunctioning, they have always broke down, there has always been a “real” physical mechanism that challenged the predetermined functionality of the machine.


The artist can be watched building up the Steam Machine at the opening night, followed by the performance Steam Machine Music later on (20:30). The perfomance will be repeated in a shorter version on Wednesday, Feb 1, in the framework of the In/compatible Research Practices event, K1.


Morten Riis holds a masters degree in electronic music composition from The Royal Academy of Music, Denmark, and is currently on a PhD scholarship. Besides his academic work he is a very active sound artist having released several albums, played  numerous concerts and exhibited sound installations in Denmark, England, France, Germany and China. Common for all of Riis’s artistic endeavours is a fascination of working on the limits of what is technological possible when finding new sound material.


(Image: Morten Riis)




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