Helsinki Computer Orchestra @ Avanto Festival 2003

A surprise find on YouTube: Helsinki Computer Orchestra performs Shinji Kanki’s piece “PCM 0355+53” at Avanto Festival, Helsinki, November 2003. 

The rotating camera captured the show. Composer Shinji Kanki conducts the orchestra that on this occasion featured Tommi Keränen (HCO founder), Pilvari ‘Nosfe’ Pirtola, Jusu Vehviläinen (Pink Twins), Ovro, Ibrahim Terzic, O Samuli A, Jukka Vallisto (Lost Weight / Half A Map), Emi Maeda, Lauri Luhta, myself and some others I fail to remember at this time (sorry). 

I was in the dolphin section, the role of which was to imitate the pulse sounds that the dolphin language is based on. My setup, based on Reaktor modular environment, was a rather simple but accurate sine wave pulse generator.

Interesting to listen to this after almost 15 years from its performance — it still sounds awesome, especially the latter half where the piece gets going and reaches a kind of energetic equilibrium.

Helsinki Computer Orchestra rehearsals at Sibelius Academy.
Photo by Shinji Kanki. 

Related:
Shinji Kanki – PCM 0355+53
Avanto Festival info on HCO

Artist’s Work Hours

Media-archaeological excavations

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There’s the notion that the artist is always as work, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. At least some parts of their brain are at work. I have to agree, and often it’s not the question of choice but simply the way the mind works.  A fresh example follows. 

Yesterday I borrowed an old VCR (my own VCRs had been dead long ago) to check out some tapes I made 20+ years ago (more about them later). To test the player I grabbed the first VHS tape I found from my storage. It turned out to be The Hunger (1983), directed by Tony Scott and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. Unfortunately but perhaps not unexpectably, the old VCR turned out so hungry it ate the video tape right up! I don’t blame the player, it is totally understandable by circumstances – shelved away like the decaying former partners in the vampire queen’s attic in the film would make anyone crave for anything to chew on. 

The Hunger of the VCR / media-archaeological excavations pt.2

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Anyways, I turned to more imminent things on my ToDo-list, making my way towards a thing that had a deadline set for tomorrow (ie. today). The thing was an assignment for a film course by renowned artist-researcher-lecturer Kari Yli-Annala, on topics related to hauntology, Russian cosmism, David Lynch and whatnot. So I had that in the back of my mind while doing the other stuff on my list… but the day grew short and I had to push the assignment over to the last day and get some sleep. 

(Zzz…)

One of my dogs woke me up at 3 am to let him run his errands outside. After, I went back to bed but couldn’t get sleep. Something was bubbling under in the unconscious and kept me awake. And it suddenly dawned on me I had practically done the course assignment unknowingly! Hauntology, the VHS and the VCR, The Hunger… it’s all there and just needs some camera work and writing as a red thread to connect the dots. 

(Coffee & work ensues…)

Now it’s 7 am and I’m writing this down for personal amusement, having mostly finished the assignment as well as a small media art piece (or two) related to that. More about those later; the Instagram photos here are merely for fun and documentation. This note is to illustrate how the ‘office hours’ are sometimes so off.. and… that the conscious mind is not always up to date on what’s going on. 

Niko Skorpio on Vimeo

I still agree with David Lynch on what he says on the video above, about watching movies on an iPhone. That was a decade ago, but the point remains. It’s impossible to achieve the kind of immersion that you get on a large screen in a dark movie theater, no matter how pristine your phone’s or tablet’s retina screen is.

For similar reasons, I’ve been hesitant to share online some of my videos and cinematic works, since many of them are installations designed for specific site and setting. Oneline, one cannot achieve the same experience as on large projections, special screens and darkened spaces.

Now I’ve partly changed my mind. I still think one should experience the works in the environment and setting meant for them, but if that’s not possible, online streaming is better than nothing at all.

That said, my video works from 2011-2017 (most of them, at least) can now be viewed on Vimeo. They’re also found on my website where there’s more info, stills, photos and related stuff.

vimeo.com/nikoskorpio

www.nikoskorpio.net

So, feel free to watch wherever, whenever and however you prefer. In general: the larger the screen, the louder the sound, the darker the room, the fewer the people and other distractions between you and the work, the better.

From 2017 to 2018

2017 was another busy year, quite work-focused (as usual). After some contemplation, some accomplishments will follow. Scroll down for obscure notes called “plans for 2018″…

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TH€€€F, a sound project that had been incubated for some time, surfaced with a release on PARAFERAL Sound in February. Also a special TH€€€F radio project Shred.fm was presented on location in Espoo in May, and made later available for download.

Kulttuurivihkot 10/2017

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Feedback – solo exhibition at Galleria 2, Pirkkala in April. Subtitled “samples from cyclic processes”, the show presented works related to feedback, recycling and loops.

A glimpse into the Feedback exhibition

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A collaborative film/installation project Out 2 presented at the Research Pavilion in Venice Biennale in August.

Out 2 installed @ Research Pavilion, Venice Biennale (photo Maiju Loukola)

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My video piece I WANT MY REVOLUTION toured Europe (plus a visit to Peru) as part of MUU‘s PV7 program: London, Dublin, Umeå, Vaasa, Lima, Berlin, Turku, Poznan, Vilnius…
The soundtrack by RØUG was also released for free download in three variations on PARAFERAL Sound.

Frame grab from I WANT MY REVOLUTION

* * * * *

Some plans for 2018, in notes-to-self spirit:

+ More TH€€€F, on record and live.
+ Two new cinematic works in progress to be completed.
+ Finish my Master’s thesis for Aalto university.
+ Collaborations with acquaintances old & new.
+ Archival excavations, to let some selected old works (buried but not forgotten) be seen in new light.
+ Last but certainly not least: Go out more than last year, to meet old and new friends.

Download Shred.fm by TH€€€F

Originally presented at All Ears Radio Project in Espoo in May;
given limited (now out-of-print) CDR release in August;
Shred.fm by TH€€€F is now available for download:

https://theeef.bandcamp.com/album/shred-fm

Shred.fm is an electroacoustic composition based on live sampling of random radio broadcasts. Samples are splintered and resequenced relying on chance, intuition and bleeding edge algorithms. Shred.fm is an immersive abstract sound collage, occasionally reminding of the pop music it plundered, mostly ploughing the fields of sound art and noise. Shred.fm is a piece of tape music for broadcast radio.

The initial version of Shred.fm was generated in April 2017 for broadcast via the All Ears Radio Project. The outcome of any subsequent versions will depend entirely on the temporal and locational circumstances therein.

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TH€€€F is a plunderphonic sound art project founded by Niko Skorpio. Focusing on live sampling of radio broadcasts and recorded music, TH€€€F tears down the cultural notions of order and convention and lets something new emerge from the debris. What might appear as noise or nonsense to a culturally conditioned mind may unfold as vast non-euclidian landscapes or sentient sonic entities to one temporarily liberated from such constraints. As such, TH€€€F is a new kind of psychedelic music aimed for deep listening and self-exploration.

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TH€€€F – Shred.fm
PARAFERAL Sound – PFS1702
www.paraferal.com
paraferal.bandcamp.com

The mind works in mysterious ways

I’m currently working on my Master’s thesis for ViCCA/Aalto University, it deals with road movies to some extent, obviously with related reading, writing, watching and filming on the to do list…

The other day, taking the usual procrastinatory detour, I checked some news headlines and learned that Malcolm Young had passed away. (Well, sir, have a fine and restful journey onward and thanks for laying the major cornerstones for hard & heavy rock with the juggernaut called AC/DC.)

While finding my way back from the data swamp to actual tasks at hand, I again remembered a film I had partially seen way back but didn’t know the name or any details about it. Call it obsessive or whatever, but I often get these little flashbacks from films that I’ve forgotten about; not knowing what films they are or how to successfully find info on them is somewhat frustrating, and they keep haunting me.

Anyways, this particular flick, or at least the parts I remember, deals with highways in the American desert and a sort of demon cop driving a police car in pursuit of someone or something. Well, cars, highways and the desert relate to my thesis, so I thought why not try to check out again if I managed to find it this time around. Googling for demon cop, police car, desert, highway etc. and wow, this time I actually get what I was looking for!

So it seems the film is Highway to Hell! Synchronicity, coincidence, whatever you want to call it, but I’m certain the news about mr. Young triggered a chain of events in the subconscious mind.

The AC/DC classic is featured on the film trailer as well…

Looking forward to watching this undoubtedly fine piece of early 1990’s B-grade horror cheese, all of it this time around. (Well, shot 1989 but first released 1991 to be exact.)

Facing the Shadow

Frame grab from a work in progress © Niko Skorpio

“In the aftermath of the carnage of World War I, a number of avant-garde thinkers and artists realized that the modern experiment had taken a serious wrong turn. The arrogant belief system of scientific progress and materialism seemed to be a cover for something deeply irrational and dangerous – what Carl Jung called the “shadow”, representing the suppressed and repressed contents of the psyche. Poets and philosophers realized that the modern alienation from nature and the cosmos had reached such a state that it literally threatened to tear the world to shreds. Despite its faith in science and progress, modern humanity, as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche realized in the nineteenth century, continued to live mythologically, influenced by unknown cosmic powers, shaken by periodic paroxysms whose origins were outside the circumscribed scope of the scientific worldview.

“When quantum physicists peeled away layer after layer of the material universe, they found that matter was made up mostly of empty space and energetic frequency, and that far from an objective reality that was actually “out there”, the nature of reality was participatory and subjective. The model of an empirical science capable of separating object from subject, matter from consciousness, turned out to be, in itself, a myth that the modern world had created. Time and space were not linear and straight but relative and curved. As the myth of objectivity collapsed, the modern world faced an abyss of relativism, which various ideologies, ranging from fascism to fundamentalism, made desperate attempts to overcome through brute force of propaganda.

“At the same time, anthropologists found that cultures aroud the world maintained practices of initiation. Indigenous people preserved a process of separation and vision quest, in which the direct experience of altered states of consciousness brought the adolescent out of egocentrism. Through a direct encounter with the Anima mundi, the soul of the world, the initiatory ordeal compelled an acceptance of sacred time and adult responsibility. Initiation dignified the individual by giving him status as a self-reliant member of the tribe and a keeper of its secrets. It soon became apparent that the only world culture that had marginalized and rejected such initiatory practices was the modern West. The consequences of this rejection, and consequent soul loss, remain severe.”

Daniel Pinchbeck, “Embracing the Archaic: Postmodern Culture and Psychedelic Initiation.” in David S. Rubin (ed.), Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s. (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010), 50-51.

TH€€€F on shiny disc

Small edition CDR of the debut TH€€€F album. Get yours here.
Disc includes exclusive bonus track ***_SUMM:ASMO_07-07 / Capsular not available otherwise.
4-track download version free / name-your-price. Streaming from Soundcloud below.
Hand-finished, home-burnt object made for you by yours truly.

Out 2 collective film installation @ Venice Biennale

Out 2 is a collective film installation and related explorative events, inspired by Jacques Rivette’s enigmatic 13-hour film Out 1: Noli Me Tangere (1971). Out 2 investigates “accessibility” to contemporaneity via historical moments. It intertwines documentary and fabricated fragments, also produced in the event, into a sculptural moving image composition.

Friday, August 18, 2017 – 11:00
to Sunday, August 27, 2017 – 21:00
Sala del Camino, Venice – Research Pavilion
Out 2 info @ Uniarts Helsinki
Out 2 Facebook event

Out 2 group:
Harri Laakso and Maiju Loukola (artist-researchers responsible for the project), Laura Jarvey, Riikka Theresa Innanen, Outi Yli-Viikari, Saara Tamminen, Jernej Cucek Gerbec, Matti Tanskanen, Niko Nurmi, Ragnar Águstsson, Joel Autio, Eero Tiainen, Valeria Nekhaeva, Niko Skorpio, Ali Mehta, Aneta Atsova, Katja Lautamatti, Henna Herranen, Katri Miettinen, Tatiana Melnikova, Jakub Bobrowski, Ilona Lehtonen, Victor Pereira Pardinho, Jelena Rosic, Adriana Delgado / MA and DA students from ViCCA MA programme in Visual Culture and contemporary art, ELO Dept. of Film, tv and Scenography & Medialab at Aalto ARTS Helsinki.

Installation photos by Maiju Loukola
Frame grabs by Niko Skorpio

 

 

Self-portrait as “Ghost” for OUT 2
(Niko Skorpio, October 2016)