Violinist Barbara Lüneburg invited composers and visual artists to collaborate with her in the creation of new multimedia works for electric or acoustic violin with the goal of exploring artistic relations between the classical instrument violin, mediated sound, and visuals.
The approaches of the individual artists varied greatly, in extremes ranging from the manga-inspired Alias for electric violin, electronics, lighting and laser by Marko Ciciliani to the more classical approach in Fluid calligraphy, a joint work by Dai Fujikura (composition) and Tamayo Yamaguchi (video).
In Vega/Flores' Stream Machines and the Black Arts sound track, electric violin and video images merge into a single morphing Gestalt. Flores’ gradually transforming geometric visuals interact with linear, pulsating grids in Vega’s electronic sound track, while the violin melts into both worlds adding an element of expressiveness through simple sleek lines.
Alexander Schubert's Weapon of Choice is the body-movement of the violinist. He gives the violin a meta-body that includes the physical gestures of the playing captured by a motion sensor affixed to the violin bow and a camera in front of the player, both of which are feeding data to the processing software for the live-video and electronics. Barbara Lüneburg, who was intensively involved in the composition process, also provides the musical material of the violin part by improvising and at the same time manipulating the electronic processing through her gestures.
Re: Mad Masters by Yannis Kyriakides is based on Jean Rouch's legendary film "Les Maîtres Fous". It plays with the colonial subtext of the film and the relationship between music and possession as displayed in a Hauka ritual from Ghana in the 1950's. The texts shown are transcriptions of Rouch's original spoken commentary, and there are some sound samples and images taken from the original film. Mirroring this possession ritual, the violinist in Re: Mad Masters, takes on changing roles; the sound of her instrument is also hijacked by the animist spirits colliding with the colonial military machine.
Fujikura understands Fluid Calligraphy as an acoustic expression of the ancient art of Japanese calligraphy. The violin bow becomes the equivalent of the calligraphist's brush. Phrasing and accents don't necessarily follow the melodic lines but develop a life of their own replicating finesse as well as the roughness of the brush's movement on the paper. In his video, Yamaguchi works with linear and curved shapes capturing the intensity of the music and translating it into the motion of images.
For Marko Ciciliani, audio and visual concept play equal parts in his composition Alias. In his hands music, light and laser transform the space into an immersive, almost physical experience for performer and beholder alike. The look-and-feel of Alias is inspired by Japanese mangas, pop and the visual phenomenon of aliasing. Ciciliani supplies a firework of energy and light, abducting us into new worlds off the beaten track of classical violin repertoire.
Realisation or documentation of all works was supported by ZKM. A coproduction of Deutschlandfunk, Centre for Arts and Media Technology (ZKM) and Ahornfelder.
Promoted by MCN (Muziekcentrum Nederland)
1 Henry Vega/Emmanuel Flores Elias
Stream Machines and the Black Arts (2010) [10:42]
for electric violin, soundtrack and video
2 Alexander Schubert
Weapon of Choice (2009) [7:53]
for acoustic violin and motion sensor, live-electronics and live-video
3 Yannis Kyriakides
Re: Mad Masters (2010) [25:17]
for 5-string electric violin and acoustic violin, live-electronics, soundtrack and video
4 Dai Fujikura/Tomoya Yamaguchi
Fluid Calligraphy (2010) [10:41]
for acoustic violin and video
5 Marko Ciciliani
Alias (2007) [21:03]
for electric violin, live-electronics, lighting and laser