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article imageLondon Treated to Future of Sound, Future of Light Event

By Lisa Devaney     Mar 25, 2009 in Entertainment
Martyn Ware, founding member of 80s bands The Human League and Heaven 17 explores the future of sound and light in London
Entertainment experience took a new step forward in London this week with this year’s multi-sensory Future of Sound/Future of Light event presented by 80s pop star Martyn Ware, the founding member of The Human League and Heaven 17, at Goldsmiths College, Tuesday, 24 March 2009.
More than 300 attendants were treated to an evening that combined performance with presentation and a few blasts from the past of 80s music tracks, all broadcast through a 3D surround sound system. Ware, in creative partnership with Vince Clarke, a member of the bands Erasure, Yazoo and Depeche Mode, developed the 3D sound system, through their company Illustrious, and have been staging exhibitions using the system in public spaces. Customized for any indoor or outdoor space, the sound system is capable of transforming a conventional room into a sports stadium or a concert hall into a cubicle.
“This is the holy grail of audio; 3D sonic imaging that challenges audiences to embrace a new take on experiencing sound,” said Ware, “It's incredibly interesting, it makes you think about how you compose things. You're not thinking about a fixed relationship with values of sound any more. What you're thinking about is really mind-bending.”
On the bill for the evening was a collection of experimental artists working in sound, music, audiovisual techniques and interactive art, with UnitedVisualArtists (UVA) kicking off presentations. UVA rose to fame through the collective’s stage design work with Britain’s trip hop group Massive Attack, and showed a collection of projects they have produced over recent years, including interactive light and sound installations at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Guest electronic music artist from Moscow Andrey Smirnov, demonstrated his electroacoustic theremin instrument. Played without being touched, his instrument produces eerie futuristic sound by sensing movement of the hands. Smirnov also spent the afternoon hosting a workshop exploring the phenomenon of synesthesia and discussing how Stalinism inspired avant guard approaches to the arts as an key social tool for revolution.
Collaborative artists Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), a conceptual artist who has worked with Radiohead, The Royal Ballet and Bryan Ferry, along with audiovisual artist Sophie Clements showcased their installation Of Air and Ear, an audiovisual light sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the Royal Opera House in spring 2008. Designed to match the architectural structure of the space, the piece formed a double cone that spanned the length of the hall. Visuals were projected onto the sculpture, accompanied by the echoing sounds of deep breathes being taken, giving the piece a living quality.
BAFTA award winning director Tal Rosner’s short film Without You was screened during the evening, depicting a digital reconstruction of London’s normally banal industrial suburban buildings such as Ikea. His re-mix of the landscape, set to music, demonstrated the hidden beauty of color and shapes that are found in the everyday views.
Ghislaine Boddington, of the body>data>space collective, presented the group’s mixed reality projects that are exploring how to place the human body at the center of technology and architecture, including replicating real time movement in virtual environments such as Second Life.
“I see the future of sound as offering further connectivity between sound, light and the body, allowing virtual touch in virtual environments,” Boddington said.
Headlining the evening was animated rock band The Sancho Plan who have worked with Kruder & Dorfmeister. The band uses electronic drum pads to control animations projected on screens above them, producing a live interactive show that includes an underwater visual adventure, where sea creatures sing and dance.
Future of Sound/Future of Light heads to Arnolfini, Bristol on April 25 and will be at The Sage in Gateshead on May 23. Check futureofsound.org for details.
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