MaerzMusik is a contemporary music festival exploring ‘Time and the Digital Universe’. It aims to ask questions, develop ideas and deepen experiences about the socio-political, philosophical and artistic effects of digital technologies on our concept of time.
One of the things Brighter Sound's Change Or Be Changed commissions enables, is for young composers to pursue out of the ordinary, creative inspiration that they wouldn't normally get access to. Here Benjamin Finney blogs about his experience at MaerzMusik Fesitval, reflecting on how it has stimulated his compositional process.
The first performance we saw on the 17th March was the ENSEMBLEKOLLEKTIV BERLIN.
‘In Ensemblekollektiv, four Berlin-based ensembles – Adapter, the Sonar Quartet, Ensemble Apparat and ensemble mosaic – are united to form one collective body,[and] build upon the extensive chamber music experience of the groups. This situation is of particular benefit to two composers: the Argentinian Eduardo Moguillansky carries out a “measurement of the human body” and investigates the secondary acoustic effects of physical performance actions on a range of instruments and technical devices. And the American Timothy McCormack also roots his work in a scientific interest: in his new piece “KARST” he pursues the notion that sound has a mass, that displaces air and is tangible as a physical object.'- Source
This was a very interesting performance exploring sound and electronics. One particular piece stood out for me which involved cellist Cosima Gerhardt playing whilst being filmed live, and cellist Mathis Mayr controlling the playback of the the video of Cosima Gerhardt by scrubbing through the video using the bow of his cello.
On the Friday we decided to explore the city a bit before we saw the final performance of our trip.
‘Can our inner thoughts be transmitted by our eye movements? Can our future actions be predicted by our current behavior? Julien Prévieux’s film Patterns of Life enacts more than a century of evolving technologies in tracking human behavior, from reorganizing the factory floor to today’s “activity-based intelligence” in the “war on terror.” This is but one example from over 30 works tracing the inversions that mark the relationship between man and machine. Co-curated by Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski from the Tactical Technology Collective and Anselm Franke the exhibition showcases a range of reflections on our quantified society and the processes of self-quantification.’ – source
We came across the Nervöse Systeme exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The exhibition was interesting and explored the history and consequences of social data.
The final performance of our trip was Alif.
‘“Alif :: split in the wall” is a concert experiment which applies the principles of exhibition practice visual arts and the performance on the musical form of the concert: An installation by the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota makes a pulsating organism arise in which musicians * inside can move as freely audience. The composer Stefan Goldmann and Samir Odeh-Tamimi develop a four-hour acoustic experience space, which is dominated by tensions between different states of perception, between Continuum and scandal between Techno, Arabic music practice and Western avant-garde, between inward and outward attention.’ – source
The performance was very unique: there were projections and a mass of pulsating red cables around the room as part of the installation by the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. The audience was also encouraged to sit within the orchestra creating a very immersive performance.
Overall the trip created a lot of ideas for me on how I should be approaching the performance of my commission.
Read more about Ben’s progress on his own blog page here.