MASS MoCA ISM Hexadome
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
November 21st through December 2nd
The Institute for Sound & Music (ISM) announces the final location for the ISM Hexadome experience for the Wunderbar Together initiative at MASS MoCA - Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. This marks the finale of a meaningful, international collaboration spanning two years of dedicated work made possible by the Goethe Institute and German Federal Foreign Office as part of the Wunderbar Together initiative.
The ISM Hexadome will be present during the November and December program of MASS MoCA, having commissioned new installations during the tour from Suzanne Ciani and Herman Kolgen. These have been added to the existing 8 installations previously commissioned and produced in Berlin, Germany, by artists such as Holly Herndon, Thom Yorke, Peter van Hoesen with Heleen Blanken and Ben Frost. Each installation is an immersive audio-visual exploration, developed by artists collaborating in sight and sound, and designed to push the capabilities of the Hexadome’s unique immersive architecture as a direct means of expression, shared experience, and form of connection with the audience. To date, the ISM Hexadome has been hosted by Gray Area Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco, The MAC in Montreal, featured during the 20th Edition of MUTEK, and Gropius Bau in Berlin. The finale at MASS MoCA represents a fitting end to an extraordinary program which began March, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Exclusively for MASS MoCA, the ISM has partnered with Brooklyn-based Little Cinema. to present The Neverending Story, which marks the second film adapted exclusively for the ISM Hexadome’s 6 screen, 52 speaker cinematic format. Viewers will experience a 15 minute ’shared VR’ journey through Fantasia, learning how "The Nothing is destroying our world"
MASS MoCA is also host to the first edition of the ISM Experiential Learning Program. Designed in partnership with the Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute, this first edition is held under the direction of Professor and Artist Neil Leonard for students and faculty to work with the ISM Hexadome as an immersive installation case study for fine art.
The ISM Hexadome US tour is part of the “Wunderbar Together” initiative, which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). It is designed to show how US-German cultural co-production boosts innovation, creativity and diversity and at the same time strengthens transatlantic dialogue between our civil societies.
“Projects like the ISM Hexadome are important ambassadors for the Wunderbar Together initiative. They show us how international cultural co-production boosts creativity, diversity, and innovation.”
Andreas Goergen, Head of the Culture and Communications Department at the German Federal Foreign Office
The ISM Hexadome is an immersive 360° audiovisual installation combining cutting-edge art and technology. It is the first step for the Institute for Sound & Music's campaign to build a museum in recognition of sound, immersive arts, and electronic music culture in Berlin.
The ‘Klangdom’, an advanced 52 channel Meyer Sound speaker configuration created by ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics is hosted within a 6-screen visual projection architecture designed by digital media studio, Pfadfinderei. The Klangdom utilizes 3D spatialization software Zirkonium developed by ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany and Panoramix developed by IRCAM’s STMS research lab in Paris, France.
The Never Ending Story (DE) - Little Cinema for ISM Hexadome
It's been 35 years since the Neverending Story captured our imagination and inspired a growing generation with hope. Fantasia - the world of human fantasy - is just as magnificent today as it was in 1984 and it’s fight against ‘The Nothing’ has never resonated so loudly as in our current political climate.
"The Nothing is destroying our world."
Cairon, spokesperson of the The Childlike Empress.
As a special commission for '‘The year of German-USA friendship' in a special partnership with Constantin Films, The Never Ending Story will be reimagined by NYC based creative collective Little Cinema into a unique cinematic experience.
The film is transformed into a 15 minute audio visual installation by adapting this cult classic title to ISM Hexadome’s 6 screen and 52 sound channel structure. Comprising of a re-edited film structure, audience members will be transported to the world of fantasia in a ’shared VR’ like experience confronted by the sights and sounds of fantasia and fusing the nostalgic with the contemporary.
Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute | ISM Hexadome Experiential Learning
Throughout the program at MASS MoCA, the ISM will conduct an immersive education workshop with Berklee College of Music. This program is designed to provide students in the Berklee interdisciplinary Arts Institute under the direction of Neil Leonard an opportunity to work with and contribute to the perpetual development of the ISM Hexadome.The immersive education workshop will offer hands on interaction with the technology, and explore ways in which leading edge immersive formats for fine art can advance cultural engagement now and in the future.
Selected Artists | ISM Hexadome | MASS MoCA
- Herman Kolgen
- Suzanne Ciani & AudeRrose
- Ben Frost & MFO
- Tarik Barri & Thom Yorke
- CAO & Michael Tan
- Frank Bretschneider & Pierce Warnecke
- Lara Sarkissian & Jemma Woolmore
- Holly Herndon & Mathew Dryhurst
- Peter Van Hoesen & Heleen Blanken
- René Löwe & Pfadfinderei
In RETINA, Kolgen explores the way traces of light are encoded in our memory. What remains of these diffracted moments and ephemeral flashes that result from the constant bombing of photons and optical frequencies? Kolgen probes the coexistence of the human and its intermediate territories — a double relationship that interrogates what is real, intimate, and exterior — in all of its fragility, permeability, and indeterminacy.
An acclaimed multidisciplinary artist with more than two decades of experience in media arts, Herman Kolgen lives and works in Montreal. An audiokinetic sculptor, he draws his raw material from the intimate relationship between sound and image. Kolgen creates pieces that take on the form of installations, video and film works, performances and sound sculptures. He works in a constant cycle of exploration, at the crossroads of different media, to conjure up a new technical language and a singular aesthetic. The impact of territories on human life lies at the heart of his conceptual pursuits. The resulting brutal tensions as well as the interplay between various elements constitute the epicentre of his practice. His multifaceted work is characterized by a radiographic approach. It’s this x-ray effect, with its immaterial quality, that allows the invisible to be seen.
Image credit: Herman Kolgen
Herman Kolgen’s works have most notably been presented at the Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica, Berlin’s transmediale, Centre Pompidou, MUTEK, Elektra, Sonar, Taipei Digital Art Center and Shanghai E-Arts. He has also performed with Ensemble intercontemporain from Paris and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Herman Kolgen has been awarded many prestigious prizes, including Ars Electronica, Qwartz and the New York and Los Angeles independent film festivals’ best experimental film. From 1996 to 2008, he devoted much of his creative output to the Skoltz_Kolgen duo.
Suzanne Ciani and AudeRose
UNDER THE ELECTRIC SEA
Suzanne is a five-time Grammy award nominated composer, electronic music pioneer, and neo-classical recording artist whose work has been featured in countless commercials, video games, and feature films. Over the course of her 40+ year career, she's released 16 solo albums, including "Seven Waves," "The Velocity of Love," and most recently, her comeback quadraphonic Buchla modular synth performance recording “LIVE Quadraphonic.” She's been recognized as Keyboard Magazine's "New Age Keyboardist of the Year," provided the voice and sounds for Bally's groundbreaking "Xenon" pinball machine, created Coca-Cola’s pop-and-pour sound, designed Atari’s sound logo, played concerts all over the globe, and carved out a niche as one of the most creatively successful female composers in the world. A Life in Waves, a documentary about Ciani’s life and work, debuted at SXSW and is available to watch on all digital platforms.
AudeRose is multi-disciplinary artist working with performance, photography, sound and projection. In the past years she produced a collection of photographic prints using alternative techniques like photograms, chemigram, cyanotype and lumen prints. The result of her work are series of organic motives declined in a serial collection, exploring the expanded possibilities of printing with paper, sun, chemical reactions, revisiting the avant-garde techniques of the pioneers of experimental photography.
The ISM Hexadome video piece is composed of a series of analog photographic images created with ancient printing techniques such as cyanotype, lumen print, chemigram and photogram. Through experiments based on chemical reactions, abstract shapes and colour motives are created. The Prussian blue, revealed by sun exposure, becomes a miniature landscape that, once digitised, unveils another dimension of its physical structure. The collection of small format prints expand into a large scale digital panorama made of 16 million colours, scaling up physical worlds, creating a macroscopic journey animated with digital technology.
"It is not about the sound itself, but how the sound can move. It’s alive. "
Ben Frost and MFO
Spatialized deconstructions of material from the 2016 "The Centre Cannot Hold" recording sessions form the backbone of Frost’s work for the ISM Hexadome. The piece is a document of an event, of a room, and of the composer within it. It is music that is not fully controlled and appears to be anxiously, often violently competing against its creator.
Image credit: Maria Tiffany
Born in 1980 in Melbourne, Australia, Ben Frost relocated to Reykjavík, Iceland, in 2005. Working closely with friends Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly, he formed the Bedroom Community record label/collective. Frost’s work juxtaposes music, rhythm, technology, the body, performance, text, art, beauty, and violence, combining and coalescing the roles and procedures of various artistic disciplines.
Marcel Weber is a visual artist who works with imagery, light and space. He has been directing and producing audiovisual performances, stage designs, video works and installations since 2001. Weber's performances are concerned with memory and perception, identity formation and dissolution – particularly in the context of possible futures and their underlying mythologies. His work is marked by a well-defined and distinctive aesthetic, using images that both resonate with and form a relationship to sound. Applying to visuals the musical language, with its ability to shape emotional worlds, an ethereal quality emerges, brought to life by his passion for experimental narratives.
CAO and Michael Tan
THE BURIAL THEME: TRANS-MATTER PORT AND OBJECTS
Inspired by ancient Moche iconography and cosmology, the work explores the dualities of life/death, generation/destruction, and cohesion/dispersion cycles and how they appear as two planes constantly transposed onto one another. The Moche cosmology envisioned certain gates that render the intersections of both planes as a space for events. One of these might be considered the ceremonial or ritual space, a realm in which the distance and division between both worlds would blur. The work aims to explore the ceremonial object both in its native context and as an “unearthed object,” expressing its connection with both ancient narratives and the transience and decay that operate in the natural world. This object, usually presented as a recipient, acts as a gate or a threshold, a geometrical key, and signifies generative space and the readiness preparatory to a transfer between worlds (living/dead, vision/blindness, sacred/profane, etc.).
Michael Tan was born in Whyalla, Australia, and now lives and works in Berlin. His work explores social and political issues, and their relationship to pop culture using digital works, 3D rendered and real-time images for video, animation, and installation.
Constanza Bizraelli aka CAO is a Peruvian electronic music composer and producer, artist, and theorist. She is the director and editor-in-chief of Cyclops Journal, an academic publication dedicated to contemporary theory, theory of religion, and experimental theory.
Frank Bretschneider and Pierce Warnecke
Approximate Accuracy is a hybrid audio-visual installation/performance especially designed for the ISM Hexadome that borrows from modular sound and visual synthesis techniques, adapting them with contemporary analog and digital tools. The audio uses modular synthesizer patches manipulated live: A matrix of oscillators interact with each other to produce a variety of sounds, from delicate, subtle sequences to rough walls of noise. The imagery is based on digital emulations of modular video synthesis. Simple lines and noise-based textures combine to form dynamic patterns and complex synesthetic moirés. Combining algorithmic generation and audio-driven interaction, vertical bar-based elements overlap to create dense and abstract fields that encourage viewers to explore the real and perceived sense of synchronization between sound and image.
Image credit: Maria Tiffany
Frank Bretschneider is a musician, composer, and video artist in Berlin. His work is known for precise sound placement, complex, interwoven rhythm structures, and its minimal, flowing approach.
Pierce Warnecke is a sound and video artist from the US, based in Europe for over a decade. He works in both the sonic and visual domains via performances, installations, and compositions.
Lara Sarkissian and Jemma Woolmore
Sound artist Lara Sarkissian and video artist Jemma Woolmore approach the ISM Hexadome installation as a transsensorial space for storytelling on topics of territory, recognition, and memory. Lara Sarkissian’s work is an ambient electronic landscape referencing Armenian music, field recordings, and churches (both in their sonic and physical form). The musical score collages elements of voices, literature, hymns, and instruments, holding a space for modern-day Armenian narratives tied to displacement, both past and present. Jemma Woolmore's visuals explore the fragile boundary between utopia and dystopia. The ISM Hexadome screens become a landscape to be navigated and divided, creating symbolic borders that are enforced, blurred, or dissolved throughout the work. As histories and regions are constantly rewritten or destroyed there is an urgency to produce counternarratives and highlight cultural voices often left out. This installation is a celebration of resilience and space for these stories.
Jemma Woolmore is a Berlin-based video artist. Blurring the boundaries between real and virtual, Jemma’s work explores the spatial and emotional possibilities of light and image in performative environments. Spanning audio-visual performance, installation, and bespoke visual and sculptural design, her work shows a strong sensitivity for combining light, sound, and structure.
Lara Sarkissian is a sound artist, DJ (FOOZOOL), and filmmaker based in San Francisco, CA. With 8ULENTINA, she is a co-founder of Club Chai, a music label, radio show (on Radar Radio), and curatorial project that artistically hybridizes non-western sounds and visuals with contemporary western culture. Lara Sarkissian’s electronic music focuses on ambient/experimental productions with Armenian influences, film scores, and installations.
Holly Herndon and Mathew Dryhurst
SPAWN TRAINING CEREMONY I: DEEP BELIEF
Spawn is an artificial neural network that has been initially trained to recognize and reproduce the sounds of her parents' voices and the voices of others. Spawn is a fast learner, and once she has constructed a concept of a sound, she can improvise and create abstract compositions based on what she understands that sound to be, and what she anticipates it might do next. For this first training ceremony, our ensemble members will lead exercises to help Spawn model and understand the world around her. We will recite text together, sing and emote together, and collectively produce sounds for her to witness, understand, and later interpret for an installed piece in the ISM Hexadome. The training will be run by a cast of characters modelled to represent emerging and competing archetypes within contemporary battles over data collection and network training, so that Spawn might gather a greater understanding of the new world in which she has been born. This process challenges us to ask ourselves, are we the parents or the children in this new epoch? Are we training our own systems to enact our ideals, or are we rather being retrained to serve the opaque purposes of others? We encourage your full hearted participation in this performance and piece, and promise that no personal identifying information will be collected in the process or exhibited in the final work.
Holly Herndon became a leading light in contemporary music by experimenting at the outer reaches of dance music and pop songwriting possibilities. Born in Tennessee, Herndon spent her formative years in Berlin’s techno scene and repatriated to San Francisco, where she’s a PhD candidate at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.
Mat Dryhurst is an artist who releases music and artworks solo and in conjunction with Holly Herndon and the record label PAN. As well as collaborating to create the album "Platform," he released the decentralized publishing framework Saga, which enables creators to claim ownership of each space in which their work appears online, and a number of audio plays that derive their narrative from the personal information of listeners. He lectures on issues of music, technology, and ideology at NYU, and advises the blockchain-based platform co-operative Resonate.is.
Peter Van Hoesen and Heleen Blanken
ADAPTIVE ENQUIRY No. 1
This work focuses on the cause and effect of resonance. It deals with the friction between two elements, searching for the observable space in between. The visual part of this work will be created in close collaboration with the Institute for Geosciences at the Utrecht University.
Image credit: Maria Tiffany
Peter van Hoesen is a Belgian electronic music producer, composer, DJ, live performer, and a key player in the Brussels electronic music scene. He has produced various styles of music but is best known for his bass-heavy, abstract take on techno with a psychedelic approach. He has developed a deep interest in surround-sound composition and spatial sound design.
Heleen Blanken is a visual artist living and working in Amsterdam. She works in cinematography, photography, and installation art. She holds a bachelor in fine art degree from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In her work, she explores the different layers of our aesthetic perception of the natural world and collects images that she transforms into new constellations, defying traditional artistic dichotomies like the organic vs. artificial, or analogue vs. digital.
René Löwe and Pfadfinderei
Want to hit the ceiling, to change the perspective, then float in wide spheres and rushing wind, turning on my own axis in free fall, pictures like parachutes, the bass a compass, off the beaten paths through time and space, das Labland, as far as the eye can see, the legs are dangling in space, point A becomes B, cpatch, 3Dub…..just a frame on the big timeline. Click Render and always play.
René Löwe has long been an important figure in Berlin's electronic music scene, and his compositions helped to define the sound which the city is so well known for. Under the name Vainqueur, Löwe's compositions such as "Lyot," released in 1992 on the Maurizio label, became a benchmark for the early 90‘s electronic sound. Löwe’s influential work is a unique blend of minimalism with dense, textured, and spatial sounds.
Pfadfinderei is a Berlin-based international collective specializing in interdisciplinary concepts for visual music performances, multimedia installations, stage shows, and creative direction. Going beyond their initial roots of screen work, they apply immersive components to fuse light, video, and spatial design.
Tarik Barri and Thom Yorke
Tarik Barri presents a composition created in collaboration with Thom Yorke. Inside the virtual 3D universe of Barri's self-programmed "Versum" software, all that is heard can be seen, and all that is seen may be heard. Looped and distorted video fragments of Yorke's singing are scattered all around, forming, moving, and changing patterns. Twitching and pulsating, they fill the space with unfamiliar sounds and sights. The audience is taken on a flight exploring this universe in audiovisual surround, as their path determines the melodies and atmospheres they will encounter. The experience combines elements of music and cinema, but at its core is a different entity altogether.
Photo courtesy of Thom Yorke
Photo courtesy of Tarik Barri
Tarik Barri is an audiovisual composer in the sense that his compositions always concern the combination of audio and visuals. During his study in music and technology, he came to realize that the same type of programming he used to write musical applications could be used to create moving images. He has since focused on developing and using his real-time audiovisual software "Versum" for the sole purpose of discovering and expressing new kinds of aesthetics that can be found in the interrelations between seeing and hearing.
Thom Yorke’s work, both as principal songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist in Radiohead and as a solo artist, has placed him at the forefront of global contemporary music. Over time he's shown an enduring commitment to exploring the aesthetical and technical forefronts of his field.
The ISM Hexadome North America tour is part of the “Wunderbar Together” initiative, which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
The tour stop in North Adams, Massachusetts is realized in collaboration with MASS MoCA - Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
EPSON are a leading manufacturer in the printer, professional imaging, projector, scanner, system devices, and factory automation categories. Going the extra mile to develop a lasting relationship, for the Wunderbar Together tour, EPSON have supplied use of their high-powered innovative XXX projection system which has provided visual solution and service that has exceeded all professional expectations and wowed audiences along the way.
Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts is the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Known for the study of jazz and modern American music, it also offers college-level courses in a wide range of contemporary and historic styles, including rock, hip hop, reggae, salsa, heavy metal and bluegrass. Berklee alumni have won 294 Grammy Awards, more than any other college, and 95 Latin Grammy Awards. Other notable accolades for its alumni include 19 Emmy Awards, 5 Tony Awards and 5 Academy Awards.
Pfadfinderei is a Berlin-based international design studio specializing in creative motion graphics for concert performance, large-format media installations, and events. Going beyond screen work, they apply innovative ideas to fusing light, video, and spatial design.
By extending the original duties of a museum, the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe has become a cultural institution unique throughout the world. By combining archives and collections, exhibitions and events, research and production, the ZKM is able to aptly illustrate art's development in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, not least due to the symposia and other platforms for theoretical discourse between philosophy, science, art, politics, and the economy that accompany its collection, exhibition, and research activities.
Norient, network for local and global sounds and media culture since 2002, is currently re-inventing itself to become a community-based platform that performs music research. It discusses and explores sounds, thoughts, and aesthetics of our time worldwide, multi-authored and multi-disciplinary, through podcasts, texts, photography, and experimental formats.
IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music directed by Frank Madlener, is one of the world’s largest public research centers dedicated to both musical expression and scientific research. This unique location where artistic sensibilities collide with scientific and technological innovation brings together over 160 collaborators. Founded by Pierre Boulez, IRCAM is associated with the Centre Pompidou, under the tutelage of the French Ministry of Culture.
MASS MoCA, is one of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA is able to embrace all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. Much of the work we show in our light-filled spaces, on our technically sophisticated stages, and within our lovely network of late 19th-century courtyards is made here during extended fabrication and rehearsal residencies that bring hundreds of the world’s most brilliant and innovative artists to North Adams all year round.
ISM Hexadome North America Premiere
The Institute for Sound & Music is proud to announce the US premiere of the acclaimed ISM Hexadome installation in partnership with Gray Area Festival at the historic Pier 70 location in San Francisco from July 25th through August 4th.
”Under the Electric Sea" an Interview with Suzanne Ciani
Suzanne Ciani is undoubtedly a heroine of electronic music. Preparing for her upcoming ISM Hexadome shows in San Francisco and Montreal, we sat down with Suzanne Ciani to talk about the past, present and future.