Or: Nam June Paik meets Pan Sonic.
One of the most amazing performance we attented during the festival was this piece by Japanese artist / composer Wada Ei.
He lines up a series of old Braun tube televisions ($5 worth each, he said) in raw / DIY aesthetics Nam June Paik would have been proud of.
Using hacked videocassette decks and turning his hands and his whole body as a sort of antenna, he triggers sounds from the visual patterns emitted by the screens.
The old tvs are converted into loud percussive and musical instruments, generating analog sounds and lights similar to those you can listen or see in a Pan Sonic concert.
One day, a spectacular picture popped up in my brain. It was an image of abandoned electrical appliances being played as musical instruments on a street in a town. Using this image as a starting point, I set up the same number of tube televisions and PC-controlled video decks corresponding to the number of notes in a musical scale to create a set of gamelan percussion instruments. Tapping TV tubes produces primitive and cosmic electrical music.
An old and almost defunct technology we use to know so well is thus completely reinvented, opening it up to new explorations.
Recycling a dying species, indeed.
watch this video by nina wenhart:
Ei Wada, Braun Tube Jazz Band @ Ars Electronica 2010 from nina wenhart on Vimeo.
and our not-so-good-quality videos…
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