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Shell Shock

Shell Shock

Commissioned Sound Installation

As part of the Shell Shock programme at Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam, I created a commissioned interactive sound installation. Visitors can listen to stories of refugees by picking up old rotary telephones. These stories were recorded and provided by the BMP Foundation as part of the European refugees oral history project Specially Unknown.

 

 

For this installation several rotary telephones had to be mechanically modified and powered by Raspberry Pi’s. Every time a phone gets picked up, a random soundfile is triggered through a python script, so a different story can be heard through the handset.

 

 

Coinciding with the exhibition A Tale of Hidden Histories, Shell Shock provides a forum to the cinematic representation of violent conflicts and traumatic memories. It not only includes films but also socially engaged specials featuring talks, Q&As and performances. The programme focuses on such themes as memories and narrativity (Hannah Arendt), psychiatry (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) and the tales of Syrian refugees (storytelling).

Year

2019

Kind

Interactive Sound installation

In cooperation with

BMP foundation

Anna Abrahams

Ronald Simons

Job van Nuenen (Studio Beneden)

Location

EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam

Shell Shock’ programme (films, events, talks, exhibition), curated by Anna Abrahams & Ronald Simons

HKU Media Bot

HKU Media Bot

A twitterbot that publishes an auto-generated poem once every hour, based on the words used in all first grade teaching modules within the Media Faculty of the Utrecht University of the Arts (HKU).

 

For this twitterbot I used tracery, a story-grammar generation library for javascript. The script generates a short new poem, loosely based on the Japanese Haiku poetic form. It uses all nouns, verbs and adjectives from the teaching module descriptions of all the fields of study within HKU Media (Audio Visual Media, Image and Media Technology, Animation, Illustration, Graphic Design and Photography). I used cheapbotsdonequick to create the twitterbot part.

This twitterbot, together with the Teaching module generator installation, was part of a research project commissioned by the Expertisecentrum Educatie of HKU Utrecht University of the Arts, on the possibilities of language technology within an art curriculum, whether for analytical purposes, or as a toolkit within a creative process. This project, with this installation as a ‘proof of concept’, is also a plea for embracing more emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, data visualization and natural language processing in art education.

Year

2016

Kind

Twitterbot / Installation

Location

HKU Media, Utrecht

Symposium on language, curated by Corrie Nagtegaal

Teaching Module Generator

Teaching Module Generator

In cooperation with David Jonas Castanheira, I developed an automatic Teaching module generator, that generates new lesson content, based on the texts of all first year teaching modules within the Media Faculty of the HKU. 

 

We used Processing and the RiTa library (Version 1.12; Howe 2015) to perform natural language processing of all existing teaching module descriptions and made an automatic teaching module generator. It generates a randomly assembled, but perfectly readable text. This way, one gets a good impression of the language use and ‘tone of voice’ across the different disciplines.

This installation, together with the HKU Media twitter bot, is part of a research project commissioned by the Expertisecentrum Educatie of HKU Utrecht University of the Arts, on the possibilities of language technology within an art curriculum, whether for analytical purposes, or as a toolkit within a creative process. This project, with this installation as a proof of concept, is also a plea for embracing more emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, data visualization and natural language processing in art education.

Year

2016

Kind

Generative video installation / printed text generator

In cooperation with

David Jonas Castanheira

Location

HKU Media, Utrecht

Symposium on language, curated by Corrie Nagtegaal

Pecking the red dot

Pecking the red dot

a theatrical lecture

To celebrate the 65th anniversary of Behaviour and the 40th anniversary of Niko Tinbergen’s Nobel Prize, Dutch theatre company Cowboy bij Nacht and behavioural biologist Carel ten Cate will team up to deliver a special theatrical lecture about the life and work of Niko Tinbergen (1907 – 1988).

 

Inspired by Tinbergen’s work with herring gulls and his classic experiments on supernormal stimuli, this lecture will provide a brief account of Tinbergen’s experiments on the begging responses of Herring gull chicks, illustrated with a short movie and pictures of Tinbergen’s old notes. Tinbergen’s original data on the famous experiment on the colour of the spot on the lower mandible differ from the well-known textbook figure showing the strongest response to a red spot.

 

Ten Cate will discuss this and show how recent data also provide a novel twist to the story of the supernormal beak. He will end with some modern examples of supernormal stimuli with humans, which is the main subject of a longterm project on Tinbergen by theatre company Cowboy bij Nacht.

Year

2013

Kind

Theatrical lecture

In cooperation with

Prof. Carel ten Cate (Institute of Biology, Leiden University),

Brill Publishers (Michiel Thijssen)

Location

International Ethological Conference Behaviour 2013

Newcastle (UK)

Tesla Theatre

Tesla theatre

Tesla Theatre is a short musical theatre performance about inventor and eccentric genius Nikola Tesla. In this performance for actor and a musical tesla coil, we share our fascination with wayward inventor, physicist and futurist Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943). Although he was often regarded as a mad genius in his own times, nowadays Tesla is seen as one of the biggest inventors of all times in the fields of electricity and magnetism. In this performance his miracles and radical ideas regarding a global network of unlimited wireless energy come to live.

Year

2013

Kind

Musical theatre performance

Location

Nacht van Kunst en Wetenschap’, Groningen

In cooperation with

Roel Voorbij, Daniël Eindhoven (megavolts.nl)

De meeuwen van Tinbergen

De meeuwen van Tinbergen

Theatre performance

exhibition

bird excursion

lecture

After two years of preparation, my interdisciplinary project De meeuwen van Tinbergen will have its grand premiere at this year’s Oerol Festival. This collaboration between Cowboy bij Nacht, Staatsbosbeheer and Museum Boerhaave is a hommage to ethologist and Nobel Prize Laureate Niko Tinbergen (1907–1988).

The project consists of a theatre performance by Cowboy bij Nacht, a small exhibition (in cooperation with Museum Boerhaave, Leiden) and an excursion to the seagull colony at De Boschplaat (in cooperation with Staatsbosbeheer).

Later this year, performances are planned during Festival Karavaan (july, Hoorn), Fortenmaand (september, Utrecht) and Museum Boerhaave (october, Leiden).

Furthermore, a series of ‘theatrical lectures’ will take place on 5 different Dutch universities in september and october in cooperation with different scientists from the fields of biology, psychology, philosophy and cultural and media studies.

More info (in Dutch) can be found on the project blog.

Year

2012

Kind

Theatre performance

Exhibition

Bird Excursion

Lecture

In cooperation with

theatergroep cowboy bij nacht

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

Staatsbosbeheer

Studium Generale Nederland

Location

Oerol Festival

Fortenmaand Utrecht

Museum Boerhaave

Festival Karavaan

Smile! You’re on cctv

Smile! You’re on CCTV

Security is both a feeling and a reality, and they’re different. You can feel secure even though you’re not, and you can be secure even though you don’t feel it.”

 

—  Bruce Schneier

An installation about feeling secure even though you’re not, and being secure even though you don’t feel it. In Smile! You’re on CCTV the visitor enters a room with several hidden IP cameras and one central video surveillance monitor placed on a desk. On several sticky notes placed on the walls and the floor, the visitor can read quotes on the subject of privacy, CCTV, security, safety and the rise of the ‘politics of fear’. The video monitor shows several (delayed) video streams of the cameras capturing the image of the visitor. Because of this delay, the visitor can watch himself on the monitor walking around the room, while he was reading these quotes. 

Year

2011

Kind

Interactive video installation

Location

Neudeflat, Utrecht.

Exhibition ‘10 jaar 911’, Vrede van Utrecht.

Curated by Willem Westermann.

Extra information

In the video below (in Dutch), I explain a bit more about the conceptual motives for this project.

Mozzhukhin

Mozzhukhin (2008) is a performance installation by cowboy bij nacht, inspired by a classic cinematic experiment by Lev Kuleshov, known today as the “Kuleshov effect”.

Around 1918, Lev Kuleshov edited a short film in which shots of actor Ivan Mozzhukhin, looking into the camera, were intercutted with fragments of various objects. The audience praised the acting skills of Mozzhukhin; first an object made him hungry, then sad, etc… 
 In reality the audience always watched the same shot of the actor, in which he actually looks quite expressionless.

Cowboy Bij Nacht is curious about the theatrical implications of this experiment, and invites the audience to act as a test person.

READ MORE

Lightroom

Lightroom

Lightroom is an interactive light/sound installation. 64 Lights are placed in a square grid on a floor filled with white shingle. The room is totally darkened when the visitor enters. By walking in between the lights, the visitor triggers the lights and influences the behaviour of the installation; the room becomes ‘filled’ with fluid-like waves of light and sound.

 

Inspiration for this project comes from the different concepts of ‘seeing’ that are developed throughout history. In antiquity, seeing is a humane activity, a movement of the eye towards the world. The eye was a candle that transmitted a ‘soft radiating light’, that lighted the world. In the 17th century, Descartes and others made the eye an inhuman, physical ‘instrument’, a sensor for light, independent of what it perceived. This idea is still very influential in modern science. In recent philosophy these separate views are being criticized however, and more comprehensive and nuanced ideas are developed that try to form a symbiosis of the observer and what is being observed.

 

These ideas form the basis of the project Lightroom; in order to be able to experience the room he is in, the spectator has to be active. If he’s not, he will not experience anything. The room exposes itself, depending on the activity of the visitor, and becomes ‘sensitive’.

 

In this article I explain a bit more about the video-based motion tracking system i developed to make this project technically work.

Year

2004

Kind

Interactive Light / Sound installation

Location

EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam

 

Exhibition ‘4D’, curated by Joost Rekveld

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