My work is build up out of multi-sensory compositions, performances and installations, focused on research and the expression of notions of spatiality and related phenomena such as echolocation. I mostly work with pure sound sources such as sine waves and white noise and minimal visual aesthetics such as grids and lines to stay close to the core of the concepts I work with.
Who/what are your influences?
Since my work is strongly based on concepts I try to research as many expressions of art and philosophy which relate to the concepts I focus on as possible. This can reach from writings by Slavoj Zizek to Swiss architecture or paintings by Robert Zandvliet. I do have a habit to look for inspiration in places that are not directly in the same method of expression which I’m working in to keep a fresh and personal path from concept to creation. So if I work on a new composition I tend to research visual arts and philosophy, not music.
What questions are you trying to answer with your work at the moment? How do you see your work evolving?
For my most recent work “Shift Symm” I investigated the idea of creation by shifting: by displacing very simple elements like lines, grids, pulses and sine waves I looked for unexpected and in a way uncontrollable events and results. This was related to the idea of Zizek on the ‘breach of symmetry’ which he describes in his book “Event”: the notion that a system which is in an equilibrium, in which all energy and movement is in symmetry, can be brought into a trajectory of unpredictable events by shifting elements within the system until the symmetry is breached. Which eventually leads to a new entropy. I used this concept in my compositional methods to explore new and unexpected images and sounds. Over the last few years I think I have become more strict in my execution of my concepts and have learned to stay closer to the core without adding much ornamentation. I guess this results in more abstract work.
One of your most recent compositions is called “Shift Symm” and is a series of three audiovisual works that focuses on the concept of shifting, creating textural works in which “order gives way to controlled entropy.” The marriage between sounds, visuals, and space is apparent to me in this piece and you’ve expressed this as being central to your work as a whole. What is your process in creating this multisensorial work? Why is this important to you and what effect are you seeking to achieve?
Yes it is true that the synergy of those elements is one of the foundations of my work. For “Shift Symm” I tried to take this to the next level by creating a purely digital audiovisual work and to take a step away from a physical release which always focuses on either the visual or the auditive. By releasing it on the platform of Sedition I hope to have found a more equal realization of the intermedia. The process of creating “Shift Symm” started with finding a way to explore the concepts I described above, for which I simultaneously worked on the compositions of the visual work and the music. By applying the concepts and movements to the different senses at the same time I tried to find the strongest interrelation between them as possible, it was fascinating to discover the different results of the same methodology in image and sound and to express this tension. After creating this audiovisual fundament I fed the images into a system which manipulates them in relation to the music, looking for a feedback loop between the senses. I don’t think I’m looking for a certain effect with this way of working, for me it is the deepest and most realistic way of expressing various concepts and notions because in our sensory system the senses are linked and they give us the possibility to fully experience the space we inhabit. By working with multi- or inter- media I hope to come closer to this core of sensory involvement.
You often perform your compositions live. How does a work change based on the location that you perform? You’ve also created works that are site-specific. What specific elements of a physical location do you take note of when creating a composition for that space?
For me it is vital to perform my work live: I work with white noise and sine waves which are opposites in the way we experience them in a space, pulses of white noise can be easily located and can relate strongly to reflections of the space while sinewaves are very hard to locate and can achieve a strong connection to the architecture by use of standing waves and interference. When I perform live I manipulate various parameters of these elements such as the interval between the pulses or the frequency of waves, responding to the reaction I get from the space. During my performances I use my visuals as a visual score, responding to the movements and events that occur while at the same time the visuals are being manipulated by the sound I create, which is again being influenced by the space I am performing in. With this process I try to look to diffuse the boundaries between the senses, for myself as well as for the audience. In my site-specific works I try to respond to the elements that to me characterize the location. This can vary from more physical acoustic behavior of the space to a more conceptual approach of the history or use of a space. My last location-specific installation “concealed // sealed” for example was built in a park like environment which at first glance looks very natural and organic but after some research I discovered all the natural elements were carefully selected, designed and built by the previous owner. The park was filled with unnatural tracking and light systems and there was even a fake waterfall, in the middle of The Netherlands which is as flat as can be! So I decided to express this hidden layer of technology by recording the electromagnetic radiation which the various systems emit and make them audible. I created a composition out of these recordings which the visitors could hear on a multi-speaker setup which I placed in a tunnel under the man-made hill of the waterfall. In this installation I looked for a strong relation between the specific hidden auditive qualities of the equipment and the special acoustic qualities of the tunnel.
In the same vein, what do you think sound can help listeners understand about their environments? Why do you make sound? In your mind, what can sound communicate?
For me sound has a strong connection to the essence of architecture and the experience of space. The temporal and fluid character of sound fascinates me, allows me to find interesting relations to architecture and to express various concepts in a fully fledged manner. The relation to the visual and the synergy between these forms of expression with each their own character and physical specifications is a field in which there is still so much to explore and discover. The abstraction of sound also plays a big role in my work, the possibility which sound gives to create work which opens up and broadens the experience and psyche of the visitor fascinates me, while language and image often have the tendency to narrow things down or to pinpoint a certain ‘truth’ or meaning, sound has a more fluid and expansive nature.