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ACHIM WOLLSCHEID & JULIEN OTTAVI : AUTOMATED HORSPIEL (Suite in Parochial - August 2004)

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collected materials :

AUDIO

VIDEO

preparatory discussions :

06.07.2004 20:29 Julien : I had some exchanges with Carsten of the Berlin Festival, from what I understood of the project : it’s a concert/performance : 1 solo each (45 minutes each) + 45 min for a duo… with some special vj’s mixing with us or we could propose some videos too during our solos… there is not a large way of moving around, everything looks already fixed like 45 minutes solo + duo with VJ… From what I understand of the situation there are two propositions possible : 1- answer to the proposition from it’s own framework from solo to duo & our own light/video on the screen. which is the simpliest proposition. 2- propose them an alternative solution : set some automation/robots system on our computer playing by themselves, with a sort of compositions which could be developped during the whole festival or all day & work on the spatialization outside of the church, for example open an FM transmission in the neighborhood or/& put some speakers around the church as you made in the yard here in Nantes… The audience could move from outside to inside & vice versa, we could catch some sound around the church, in the street and re-inject it in the church & in the street: play with the church and his context. We should discuss from now how we want to organise our “intervention” there to beginning to talk with Carsten.

07.07.2004 19:36 Achim : some more thoughts. I looked at the schedule of the festival and noticed there is a lot on almost every night. Supposing we set something up like a “roboted” version in and outside of the place this will more or less actively interfere with the other events. I guess you and me don’t mind ;-) but I’m not so sure about the rest of the guys… Presuming there are still some hardcore musicians who tend to think about sound-work in a very central (meaning egotistical) way. Not sure whether conflicting on that issue is very productive. What I can imagine, though, is to set up a radio emitter and to use the sounds produced by others (and us) for a live transformation and broadcast. Not sure whether it should be on all the time (also concerning german radio law…) but I could imagine to use it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (19./20./21). Maybe the radio(s) could also play a part during our “showtime”… Maybe we could also use 2 emitters? I’m considering to play outside the church… (of course). I guess I still need some good idea to not let it look (and sound) silly… (whatever to “play” means… - guess I’d like to see the church as just one architectural structure between others that are somehow in the field of sound that we create…)… Wondering of how to relate my sound production to the sounds of the environment that is maybe charged with our radio-waves… ok - Curious to hear what you think.

Date : unknown julien : maybe we could play with this constraint as an engine! we could find a way to not interfer on their work, find an alternative way to diffuse our sounds! I’m really into bringing a FM transmitter to broadcast, I’m not sure to bring 2… I think we just could play with the context of the festival and his diffusion through the architecture & environment. For example, we could fix some microphones around (outside church & inside) + some HP in the same way, that could be a basis… I will bring a HF microphone to travel around and catch some sound in live. We could also make some pre-recording during the three days and always re-inject it in the automated mix & process. We could use the FM to extend the diffusion outside in the neighborhood and also have a radio architecture sound builder! In the same time, we could set 2/3 machines with semi-automated process/recording/sampler, think as a live lab in work in progress, as we tested a little bit in Nantes… We could fix some common ideas of the processing sound : fix, 100% automated or semi-automated, in perpetual evolution, an endless system… this could be one of our main issues ! We could exchange on patchs/ideas for this… I will try to make a diagram with some ideas/toughts & maybe you could do the same, and exchange graphically on the project. For the video, I’ve got few ideas : 1- I could release a minimal white point moving on the screen, that’s a simple solution, asking vj to play only on this range of image ;) 2- a second idea raised to me, maybe we could film the church, preparation of the festival, the neighborhood and the construction around the church & show it during our “performance time”, it could be as a mirror for the festival, an infinite mirror(?) What do you think?

11.07.2004 15:24 Achim : hopefully I can travel to Berlin before we meet for the festival and take some photos of the environment. But let me give a rough description of the situation first… Parochial (church) is located next to Podewil. Podewil must have been some kind of prussian military building and the church probably belonged to this military complex. This area is considered to be the old center of Berlin - but that is just history because it was completely bombed and there is nothing left of this but the (partly rebuilt) podewil, the church. These 2 buildings are surrounded by lots of GDR (east German) office buildings, straigthforward grey and mostly empty now. There is no neighborhood in terms of people living there. The area consists of an 4sq km triangle which is sourrounded by three main traffic routes. Meaning there is nothing on at night, exept for the audience coming to see shows. The church is rather gloomy and sourrounded by the rests of a park and a graveyard. Given that situation I wonder whether it makes a lot of sense to fix speakers or mikes. Unlike your yard in Nantes, which is a center of activity and an acoustical unit this place has no intimacy and direction. Meaning people will not go to see/hear the side or the back of the church (unless we ask them). They just enter, hang out and leave (Berlin audience is as blasé comme les Parisiens). Furthermore there is the weather (I was really lucky in Nantes, but this seems to be the most rainy summer in the last decade) and quite a chance for theft or vandalism (seriously… what will we do if it rains…?) . Main reason for my doubts, though, is the acoustical problem. There is no space to sort of reflect and concentrate sound. Everything is open with diffuse traffic noise undertone. I guess, putting speakers outside will not sound good… And - using the church walls as display area for the speakers will once more emphasize the “object” church… I’m just telling you problems without having a direct clue for a solution. My notion, though, is to rather go for one straightforward strategy (which can be handled under quite stressy contextual conditions) than to get mixed up in installation problems that will require (think of the cablework…) a lot of work and will, maybe, not even get noticed. That’s why I was emphasizing the radio approach. It seems to require less effort and promises quite some results. Well. Let me know what you think

date : unknown julien : I really appreciated your thruly tought, I think it’s best to go deeper into a subject! Now our object is strictly limited in a way, if we couldn’t really work on the context & architecture all around the church, because of all the arguments you gave, the main argument for me is the time, because even if the place is not really interesting acoustically or structurally you could always find some mystery space or original acoustic or find some specialities of the building & in the neighborood. But the time to work & install is the most important thing, if we couldn’t really have the time to install & try some ideas, we have surely to reconsider our position. After there is the space of the performance itself which could be worked as a social space to move out the « habitus » it produces, there’s few ways to do it as playing with the sound itself as the main interface between us & the audience or between the sound itself and the audience (we could be also completly part of the audience…). This is something I’m sure we are used to. Another idea is to create a kind of automatic “horspiel” during the 2h30/3 hours we have to perform. We could release an automatic horspiel on “what we would have been released if we had been ther longer” I mean that during 3/4 days we could record sound of church & neighborhood (playing buildings, playing with the space, record sound activity night & day), meet some people of the neighborhood and ask them how they see/hear the place they live & work in. We could also interview & record ourselves on what we think about the different spaces, ideas we would release or experiment, exchange toughts…etc. After, during the “horspiel performance” the different recordings could be mixed automatically or we could release it ourself during the performance, as if we have been in a radio studio preparing our “horspiel” for next week, but we will be into the situation mixing live the different sound sources & interviews. I don’t really know at the moment, if we should take the automated mix and discover the result of the “horspiel” as the audience itself, which in a way will be funny for us with all the indeterminacy of the mixing or mix it ourselves and involve in a way the listener, in the sense that we will be in a sort of experimentation of the rushes we will have recorded and “he/she” will be with us in this first shot or first essay, he/she won’t have this impression of finalized product but a sense of the act of construction & an inconscient feeling of hearing a developpement of thoughts in action. I mean that’s a speculation of what I could feel & think as a listener in front of such proposition, for sure it’s not a general state… . If we involve our bodies & mind into the “horspiel performance” it will be more as an open radio laboratory during 3/4 days where we will record sounds on our computer, discussing the recordings which will feet better, the way we will mix all this material… listen and mix during the perf…etc. If it’s an “automatic horspiel” we will just be as an operator or “passeur” between a reality and the machine transforming & mixing this reality into “an objective point of view”. That could be one of the issues if we choose the “automatic horspiel”: try to think this notion of “objectivation” used a lot by the media, push this idea to his limits : give the final cut to a computer! In anycase I will bring a FM transmitter to recreate a real radio context, maybe ask to the audience to bring their own radio receiver, after we could bring some & ask to the organisers & friends to bring some… For the video screen we could propose a photographic series in the same ideas of the sound, reverse the video proposition into a photographic one… tell me what do you think?

16.07.2004 15:44 Achim : thanks a lot for your profound considerations. I think they head into a direction we will acutally take. To get a better idea of what’s actually happening at Parochial (in terms of time and schedule) I talked to Carsten Seiffarth on the phone, yesterday. We sort of stepped throught the timline and found out there is only one time window to install/set up - and that’s Friday morning. Which means there is, I guess, about 4 hours maximum to set up. I asked Carsten what he’d think about transforming the set1(solo1)/set2(solo2)/set3(collaboration) frame with a more flexible method and did not mind - so there is no objection to the kind of horspiel procedure you propose. We should have to coordinate with the VJ guys pretty soon. Then we’d also need some kind of description of what we are up to, including some kind of title… I agreed with Carsten to keep him up to date by CCing him all of our conversations - I presume you don’t mind… What I really like about the horspiel idea is to conclude it with an automatical mix (no interference by the authors…;-). I’d be very much into this, though I think it requires quite some programming efforts… About the “preperatory phase” (the live part with the audience)..: I think it could consist of taking the word “spiel” in its actualy meaning (jeu, play) - and to think of some rules that could be used and applied - I’ll be pondering on that for a while… I’ll be back tomorrow.

19.07.2004 17:00 Achim : more Berlin - ok - I did not arrive at something like a plan yet - though there is one thought constantly on my mind. I was thinking of really using the video - in terms of displaying something like the rules of the game(s) (in various ways…) - Meaning I could imagine to let the time not just be an interplay between us (sonically) but also between sound and visual (sound and silence…). Not sure, whether “interplay” is a good title. It seems so obvious. Also thinking of what to do with the furniture. Carsten tells me the place is designed like a lounge - meaning there are sofas and easy chairs… Iniviting people to be comfortable… Not sure whether they serve drinks all night… I’m in Rome for the next 2 days. Back on Thursday.

23.07.2004 16:33 Julien : I think it’s interesting to manage the video as you said displaying the rules of the game(s)… the most difficult is to think how? I tought about recording with a video camera some of our work before and send it to the screen… there could be some text… or some “time” developpement… write on the screen. The main question is : our “intervention” will be really an audio one with no real performance as the machine will be programmed to work alone, so the video might appear like a “subsitute” of the performance or a “thing” to fill the emptyness of the visual performance aspect… there’s the danger of this point of view… the video should be a reality, a necessity but nothing like “en plus”. I think it could be interesting to think about fixed images from the neighborhood, like long minutes of fixed points of view of different places around, and sometimes show time schedule of the performance… . let’s think about that…

25.07.2004 11:13 Achim : ok, I get your point. Let me - in response - introduce my alltime favourite: the audience. What about regarding the audience as context? What I could imagine for example: We “present” a set devided into 2 sections. A production section and a “play” section. The production section would produce (record, transform etc) all the material for the “play” section - meaning the “automated” computer composition. For the first section we could use the audiences input in terms of using cameras and mikes - allowing the audience to interfere with the production process with help of the video screen (the video screen becomes the interface for the audience to influence the production - like we could use motion tracking and display picture and effect… not sure about the way this interface should be designed - because we face a crowd…) In the second part - the automated horspiel - the audience can then listen to the outcomes of their interaction. The video could then maybe consist of realtime images that are transformed by sound (we have to find out, whether the VJs can for example take osc or midi signals). What do you think?

Date : unknown Julien : sorry for my late reply Achim but I was busy those days and I’m kind in holidays / working days… not really holidays, I brought the computer! I took time to think about our automated horspiel and on what you said on your last message. Actually my ideas is to maybe mix both aspects. On one hand we have the context of the church and the preparation of the night which I want to focus on, what we could called the extended point of view. With pre-recorded elements : interviews, architecture, soundscape…etc. On the other hand we have the night & audience context which you want to focus on with all the elements you already developped, it’s what we could call the internal point of view. I think both of this points of view should really work together it’s only 2 aspects of a main idea / developpement / context. For me the united element will be the robots / automation which will mix all the source to organise / transform / broadcast it to an audience. That’s a point we could try to set up! We could discuss the details on how we organise the 3 hours (it’s around three hours I think)… Just few other points : on the radio broadcast, should we really need to set a FM broadcast in the church or could we use the P.A and set up in the space as we want? Is it really relevant? On the video aspect, I think we could mix the both ideas as audio take some linear plan of the neighborhood/church + audience images. Maybe we could have some exchange with the VJ to talk with them about their different possibilities (technically), for example could they film, mix & transform in real-time? As you said could they received some data via network to control mix/images? And how we organise the preparation of this device? what do you think?

01.08.2004 13:33 Achim : yes - I think, things come together now. I guess it is a very good measure to conceive of our activities as a “mix” - because also the technical function and the social structure/background of the night are “mixes” somehow. (I mean, the way we’ll programm will mainly depend on mergers and juxtapositions. Also the audience space is kind of a “mixer”, because of the infrastructural set-up (the “lounge” concept) and the relations between stage, visual, and acoustical issues… ) So what I propose you proceed the way you described it up. It is good and apt to have some pre-recorded material and structures to feed into the automated “broadcast”. Pursuing the “mix” aspect, I’d like to add some real-time recording and mixing - so that the audience gets a notion of themselves being part of the system. As to the FM radio and PA question. I guess there is not a lot we can do to the PA - because it is fixed and there is no time to move it between the shows… As we both opt for an indoor version right now, I think it is just an additional measure to bring the FM system - in terms of the option to do transformations of the other concerts. As I won’t do any outside action, I do not need the FM as a tool. As to the video - yes - I think it is necessary to get in touch with the VJs right now. As we have been getting clear on what we want, I propose to sent them a list of questions. My questions would be - to what extant they permit, allow the use of “other” material, fore example photos you took before etc. Also the question of digital input (osc) is important. Can data we send, trigger or generate visuals? Can they do split screens? Meaning can we send them our monitor output? Can they do live processing? Meaning film the place, the audience realtime and process the visuals? More questions from your side?

Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 14:37:18 +0200 From: wollscheid To: lillevan_lillevan.com CC: alexej_snafu.de, carsten_seiffarth_web.de, info_apo33.org

Hi - ok this is about the video/VJ part for our (Julien Ottavi and my) “suite” on friday, 20th. Musicwise we have finally decided what we are going to do. The key issue for our “suite” is to set up an “automatted” player - meaning sort of a computerized composition. There will be no (or very few) interference from both of us during the concert (which is therefore not following the solo, solo, duo pattern) Julien is going to collect some audio footage the days and nights before, which will then be used as material for the concert. I’m going to record the noises and athmosphere in the church for the first part of the night and the material gained will then also be part of the automated play. I also decided to go for some audience interference (or interaction) - as I’ll be using PD and GEM (like Jitter for MAX). The idea is to film the audience and let them trigger certain function of the automatted play via motion detection. So this would mean to inlcude some kind of visual from my part. But before going into further detail, I’d like to know what you are up to.

Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 15:47:21 +0200 From: wollscheid To: alexej_snafu.de CC: lillevan_lillevan.com, carsten_seiffarth_web.de, info_apo33.org

Hi Alexey, Hi Lillevan, Carsten and Julien talked to Alexey this morning and we agreed on thinking about the possibilities to link visuals and sound. This could happen in 2 directions - one being to figure how visuals form the side of the musicians (harddisc or realtime) can be fed into the VJ matrix. On the other hand its the question of how (the change of ) visual data can be protocolled and trigger sound (via midi or osc). Alexej asked me to send a screenshot of the visual interface that I’m writing for the performance. here it is. I intend to install a camera somewhere on the ceiling and monitor the audience. The audience, so to say can see themselves projected on a screen. (of course this can’t be simulated now- instead you see my messy worktable on the screenshot…) the screen is covered by a grid of red dots. Movement in the audience will cause the white frame to move. Once it hits a red dot, the dot disappears and re-appears somewhere else. Any change of the dot-matrix causes a change in the sound-profile. I intend to add some text info on the rules of the system as well as some general info on relations between sounds and the programming. At the bottom some exerpts of the discusssion between Julien and me- maybe they shed a light on what we are up to.

Date : unknown Achim : where are you? I feel pretty much on my own in my preparations for Berlin..

09.08.2004 19:31 Julien : I’m sorry to not be so present in the video discussion but I’m very busy at the moment on different works, I didn’t see any vacation on this summer… I was expecting an answer from the other guys on video, we sent few emails about it and I didn’t see any answer. So for me on the audio part, we’re quite ok together (we should just discuss few things about the global result of all of works real-time & fixed). But I don’t know what to say more on videos as no one answered since then? Did you receive any answer? What could we do? The videos is not priority for me, if they do it, that’s nice if not, we could set something as simple as that, no? a camera on the public and some process with GEM on the image itself… that’s fine with me. Otherwise we could also shot some images from the place (I will bring my digital cam) as I already proposed and show them as “materiaux bruts” or auto-mix by GEM… or the vj’s, if answer, could mix both of it (live image and some “plan fixe”). What do you think? Further, I would like to discuss with you the way we will synchronise our automates? or not? But this could be discussed anyway on the ground…

09.08.2004 20:19 Achim : I’m still on WinXP with PD - I intend (and started) to create arrays of little programs that layer and imbricate sounds I transform from the sonic environment. Meaning my “automat” will be an “interface” between the sounds in the space and the “replay” section. Guess we have to decide whether we produce sound on 2 machines which then are fed into a third machine to be mixed and put out… What’s your idea?

09.08.2004 21:17 Julien : I think it could be interesting to link both machines via netsend/netreceive for example and let them work together but with their audio autonomy and not with a third machine to mix it, normalize it in a sense… I think the co-operation between both machines could be interesting to study on this context. Your automate could be on your machine play & replay the play(?) of sound in the space & my automate will play/mix a-context & fixed sounds materials, pitch some & filter some others… basically my patch will make my works by itself. I think your approach & mine should collaborate in time & spacial way as for example : how we organise the spatialisation if we have 6 speakers (do we have 6 speakers or 4 I don’t remember)? we could put your sound on left and center, mine on right and center or reverse or completly mixed up. For time we could pre-programme the “début” and the “final” and work around some transitions. For example if your sound is continuous and linked to the « activity » of the audience (mouvement & sound) and mine is a constant developpement of different events appearing one after another, we could try to think about a time schedule for both machines, also we should think about a global volume or no?… what do you think?

10.08.2004 08:29 Achim : yes. Good. I’ll try to work on some patch tonight. Acoustics can be a problem - because churches, of course, are no democratic sound distributors… - we have 4 speakers. Really hard to judge what kind of spatialisation this kind of setting allows. My experience in diffuse and reverberal spaces - for loudness - is “either-or” - meaning to be really loud or really soft… Guess I’ll go for the latter because I want source and transformation to be heard/perceived at the same time. I can bring additional speakers (the ones I had in Nantes) - this could allow for a little bit more open situation? Guess for netsend the basic info to exchange would be a “solo/duo” structure - meaning to develop an array of possibilities of how to blend in/out and layer sound. I agree with the debut and final framework. Lets go for it…

10.08.2004 18:47 Achim: thought about the netsend exchange. One idea could be to use the netsend not as a “command” instrument - but as kind of an “informer” - to keep both of us updated with the current state of the respective others processes. What I thought could be worthwhile as an info would be - on/off - general loudness (a scale of 0 - 10 - can of course be more precise) - and info on multi-chanel output to the 4 speakers. What do you think?

10.08.2004 22:48 Julien : we should work on this idea of informer, give updated, how this influences the process of each others machines… I need to think a little bit more on this how the two systmes could interact together… I need to take time to work on it (technically & conceptually)… I also checked your patch, it’s strange how you build it, I can’t have the same number using your method: when I bang 4 it receives 6, it seems that there is a bug somewhere, when I used it on another machine it’s different… Anyway at the same time I write this email I test and think on PD, we surely have different versions of PD, my setup on this laptop is quite special… I need to check this, I have tones of librairies spread out and I didn’t check since long time, just updated it and it didn’t work out… . I send you a version I’m always sure it will work, that’s the first method I used since 2/3 years and never failed on any version… But the central idea here is more on what we will do with these numbers ahaha! the main question, we connect we connect and connect again but for what ??

11.08.2004 11:31 Achim : My idea is that the information I get from you works as a monitor so that I can adjust to your ouput. Basically there is 3 possibilites - your machine solo, my machine solo and duo. First 2 options pose no problem - we can exchange on/off signals with “spigot”. The duo situation seems to be more rewarding - for example I could imagine a “vice-versa” method - you being loud/me being soft, you being complex/me being redundant, you being dispersed/me being condensed etc. This could either mean we agree on some protocol that would accompany each sound (like a specific number for complexity, a specific number for redundancy etc) or we could leave the analysis up to machine decisions/analysis. (I wrotealittlepatchthat can somehow differentiate between complexity and redundancy.. but of course there is also “fiddle ” etc..) The basic structure of my program will consist of a number (about 20) of small programs/patches, that can be turned on or off in different combinations and sequences. The analysis of your sound stream could then result in a method to switch or combine these programs - in accord with the switching that is done by the movements of the audience (through screen motion-tracking).

13.08.2004 22:12 Julien : I really think about the netsend & netreceive, it’s not very important at the moment, I think we should focus more on the production of sound & the way we organise together during this few days and how we build the automated horspiel. I’m actually working on the automate, it seems I find a way to work on sound at 2 levels : 1- some abstract sounds I will take in the place & around before the 21th, these sounds will be processed by the automate on sound level/mix & pitch 2- some interviews I would like to make on the process of construction of our work, the context of the place…etc, for the “voice / sense” part the automate will process sound level & filter automatically with a biquad. It will create a kind of radio-automated-soundscape of all the buildings & the context. But the sense with the interview will be really strong and bring a kind of interpretation and a sort of movement… the automate will mix the voice at the same level as the abstract sounds, which is create a unity, but I don’t want the voice/meaning aspect to take over the listening of the sounds. I would like to talk with you about the way we will organise our sound movements or the way we organise the process. For example : do we think this context is an experimental one for us and we build a kind of experience where we will test some ideas & discuss around this idea of automated horspiel? You will organise your process around the context of the “performance”, directly on the moment, I would say live! The main part of my process is before this time, the live part is a kind of observation of a digestion process for me, maybe for you it will be a little the same with the present context. We should try to think about the two « temporalities » that will be involved. On the night of the performance, I will have few hours of recordings… . Also on the data-net-exchange, I would like to not link some similar process but link some different process, for example, put a relation between a filter and a volume or a bang with a pitch… I would like also to organise our email exchange to photocopie it to the audience, to get them closer of our process. Tell me what do you think about it !

14.08.2004 10:48 Achim : meaning both types of sounds (abstract and interview) will exist as samples on harddisc? I think its a good idea to introduce the text - English, German and French? well I guess I’ll not only use your netsend signals - but also use your sounds to process them live… So one of the the functions of netsend could be to give me “stops” and “gos” for the passages where text should stay un-processed. Though I guess most of the decisions we’ll take will happen ad hoc… I think the experience will be an experimental one, yes. yes - that’s my intent. Right now my idea is to work with 2 computers. Machine one is doing the Video “interface” and basic parts of the “machine” functions. And computer2 (laptop) is a statellite where I can adjust or correct. I imagine myself sitting in the audience with the laptop - being part of the crowd that uses the interface (hopefully the laptop-light will notconfuse the motion tracking… - anyway there is some other problem about the light in general - to be able to grab motion I’ll need a basic lighting, which then might compete with the video light… Not sure how to solve this… The decisions we will have to take are about how to select rather then of how to multiply material…

14.08.2004 12:24 Julien : Yes, that’s what I tought, make the interview in french/english have some answer in german/english something like this… yes for sure, the sound will be projected in the space and you will catch it in the space itself, good loop!! feedback & rolling! We could also have some minimum light, not be in a black space, it’s more the idea that people could walk around, have a drink, listen the automated horspiel, maybe exchange toughts, discussions…etc so the light shouldn’t be turned off. Maybe we could work on this to solve your problem and make it more in the mood of 3 hours of horpsiel…

SUITE in PAROCHIAL 2004

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