Fat Butcher's Photosonica
North London V-tard splicing beauty to the beats

Dec
04

immersion_dec4Knocking skulls with Spencer Mash/ABKomm tonight at 7.30, The Flea-Pit.

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Nov
21

Some of us from the AV Lab are returning South for a series of installations at the breathtaking, Grade 1 Listed, Modernist De La Warr Pavilion this Saturday 22nd. If you happen to be passing through Bexhill-On-Sea and have an insatiable curiosity for experimental AV you’ll also catch Gavin Morris, Barry Murphy, Shaun O’Connor, Kristi Markiewicz and Sabine Vogel performing live beside the seaside.

Plinth

In 1935 when the De La Warr Pavilion was being finished, Serge Chermayeff, one of its two architects, envisaged a 10ft statue of the ancient Greek goddess Persephone for the front of the building overlooking the seafront Lido. Neither the statue or the Lido were ever made – a marble bust of Persephone was commissioned, but it was decided that this kind of classical decorative flourish was out of step with the clean, modern streamline design ideal that the Pavilion embodied, so the full statue was never built.

Persephone was the goddess of Fertility in Greek myth, abducted by Hades and smuggled down to the Underworld to take the throne as his wife. Winter raged while she was gone, so Hades would allow her to visit the mortal’s realm annually, restoring the warmth and life of Summer to the world once a year. In one myth, a mortal, Orpheus, loses his tree nymph (or Dryad) wife, Eurydice, when she steps on a poisonous snake. Devastated, his music grows so hauntingly sad that all the nymphs and gods weep with him. They urge him to make the dangerous and near-impossible journey through Hell to bargain with Hades and Persephone for the return of his wife’s soul. Upon hearing his tragic music, Persephone takes pity on Orpheus and offers him a chance to return home with Eurydice, bringing her back to life. He may walk out of Hell with his wife following; but, Persephone warns him, he must not look behind him, not even once, or Eurydice will be lost to him forever. If he trusts her word, she promises him, his wife will live again.

Orpheus makes the long climb out of the Underworld, but just as he nears the surface, he can’t bear the tension any longer and turns around to check his wife is still behind him. He sees Eurydice for just a moment, before she disappears and the entrance to Hell closes. This version of the story belongs to the poet Virgil’s time, around 29BC, but in Plato’s later version Eurydice’s soul was just a mirage, a cruel trick of the Gods all along. The marble bust of Persephone went missing shortly after it was finished and has never been found.

In ‘Plinth’, Orpheus and Eurydice’s journey is told using the shapes and surfaces of the Pavilion, with the journey beginning at the point where Persephone would have stood and leading to a conclusion on the roof terrace. Audio recordings made in the building using a variety of sound-capture techniques and digital manipulation are triggered and played back using automatic sensors which pick up on changes in the space as the audience moves through it, led by light-projected Modernist animations designed exclusively for the De La Warr audiovisual performance and projected wirelessly from two performers, each equipped with a wearable projection system. By bringing this story to life as a digital sculpture, with the Pavilion its plinth, the audience can experience an alternate take on the finishing touch that Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff never realised.

De La Warr Pavilion Performance Proposal
Music: Kristi Markiewicz
Video projection: Fat Butcher and PRICKIMAGE

pavilion staircase

De La Warr Pavilion

Nov
19

The brief for this title sequence was an upbeat Saul Bass-referencing credits roll featuring the sponsors of the production. Mountain Stories is now available on DVD from snowboarding retail outlets. There was a premiere in Brixton’s Roxy but I was shivering outside the V&A that night.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Mountain Stories on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod


Client: Urb_Orbis

Credits: Art Direction, Production and Animation by Fat Butcher, October 2008

Nov
18

wlyMr Jazz played a surprisingly pop-rock set, kicking off with Crazytown’s Butterfly. But it got heavier. The demand for him to stay on at the end of his set was shouty and insistent, a chorus of stamped heels and gnashed grills… anyone make it to the free afterparty? I had to get back to upload a DVD loop for Dirty Vegas.

Nov
16

Don’t know how to describe the experience we made in Brighton’s Basement at Cybersonica and Future of Sound‘s week-long AV Lab so all I’ll say is I think I turned a corner creatively and technically, and I know I was in the company of some incredibly talented experimental AV artists. Here they are.

photo by allthegoodnamesaregone

photo by allthegoodnamesaregone

Sabine Vogel – Sabine went from performing with an electronically-modified flute and footpedals at the start of the week to flute, effects pedals, a Wii-mote strapped to each forearm, Gypsy MIDI (exoskeletal metal arms that parlay the user’s movements as MIDI data to a trigger), laptop and 3D soundsystem by the last night. Unmissable.

Gavin Morris – Gavin’s dry humour had us in tears regularly over the week. Another modest genius, his boredbrand site gives you an idea of the sort of mischievous crackpot schemes he cooks up in his digital bistro like it was a cheese toastie.

Alison Ballard – Ali‘s major interest is infrasonics, and the physical effects of sound and resonance. In the final show she created a tone inside our heads, using the resonance of our ear canals.

Shaun O’Connor – As VJ PrickImage Shaun is regularly sticking it to the East End club scene and touring with Bishi, when he’s not collaborating with me on MOTH (formerly FYI), which was the project we brought to the Lab for development.

Simon Dell – Simon had the brilliant idea of getting 6 of us to ride a rollercoaster on Brighton Pier, equipped with sound recorders, while a seventh stood underneath capturing the doppler effect and ambient noise. This was then fed into Martyn’s 3D soundsystem and moved around you in realtime using a joystick. You just had to be there.

Mike Blow – Another sound artist, Mike’s collaboration with Ali comprised some bizarre, insistent tones like a car alarm that (unbelievably) became completely riveting and affecting music.

Ryan Jordan – A confident performer and funny bloke, Ryan’s collaboration with Shelley saw him pull tights over his head while strapped into the Gypsy MIDI for a mechanoid bankrobber musical mash-up in 3D immersive sound.

Sonia Vera – OddScene and MOTH collaborated on an outdoor installation on the streets of Brighton. And up the walls. Her VJing and animated characters blend clever cut-ups with a gritty, flaky, scratched texture and tinted b&W silent films.

Kristi Markiewicz – you’ve got to check out Kristi’s beats. She mixes her husky vocals live using a Korg pad and has been DJing for years. We worked on a live AV proposal which we’d like to realise ASAP, mixing her musical talents with video graffiti by the MOTH.

Agnese Mosconi – Agnese’s programming skills provided a sensational responsive backdrop to Sabine’s flautism (?) on the final night. Her work deals in visual, non-verbal communication and exchange of knowledge.

Barry Murphy – Barry’s impressive skills as a director, animator and filmmaker were evident from the work he presented. You’d never know cause he’s so quiet but check out his MA piece and cry because you didn’t make it.

Shelley Parker – just listen to this. Shelley’s record label Structure is putting out phenomenal minimal sounds, italo-house and squeaky blip-bloop-bleep brilliance. She’s a truly original composer and performer based in West London.

Jules Rawlinson – another innovative musician, Jules gave a fascinating demo with his monomé, a handmade device about the size of a mac mini which does incredible things with programmed and sequenced music. He also performed a milk crate remix in an alley – see drunkphdstudentsmakethefunniestmusic.com for details.

Evan Raskob – Evan joined the workshop as a mentor/guest speaker and shared his knowledge of programming, sensors, and AVJing, as well as his Wiimotes, Arduino and several handwritten programs. He also showed me how to VJ in VDMX using Wiimotes (two of those in the post as we speak…). I’ll be performing at his Immersion night for the second time on Dec 4th.

Steve Symons (from the Owl project) – showed off his iLog handmade instruments; wooden blocks with contact mics secreted inside them. He makes live music with these by sawing into them, wrapping tape around them and tearing it off slow, tapping and chafing them, and also makes music from olde-timey lathes (the string-and-springy-branch kind you see at Glastonbury etc).

Martyn Ware – Martyn was a founding member of the Human League and Heaven 17, and now creates innovative three-dimensional sound installations with Illustrious and promotes new experimental musicmaking techniques through his Future of Sound events.

Tom Belton – Martyn’s engineer and a sound bloke, Tom is also a composer and producer with SharpNine music, based in South London.

Sarah Littman – Sarah is a filmmaker who gave us a screening of Boys With Lightsabers, a documentary about some Welsh teenage chancers who’ve set up a church for the Jedi faith, which became recognised as an, um, serious religion after the results of the 2001 census.

Matt – as half of I Am The Mighty Jungulator, Matt uses Max MSP patches and programmes to remix sound live into amazing jungle and dnb performances with motion-collage visuals, all semi-automated and partly coded live.

Bruno Mathez – Bruno is a talented filmmaker, editor and VJ. He spent the week filming, plugging things in, and making an inspired abstract installation for the loft space of the beautiful Grade 1 listed De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea which I hope to see again on the 22nd of November.

Ray Lee – inspirational sound environment artist. Ray took some time to isolate and attune us to the sounds we could hear all the time, and his presentations on previous work opened our eyes to his Heath Robinson-referencing, War-of-the-Worlds-in-Notre-Dame-dramatic and forgotten visions of the future of music.

Lewis Sykes – a member of The Sancho Plan and a dedicated promoter, funder and creator of creative new AV experiences, Cybersonica‘s founder has been running events since 2002, giving promising experimental artworks a forum to perform and collaborate. I’ve no doubt that some great collaborative works will come out of the network of common interest that is continuing to grow after this year’s Lab.

cybersonica 08

Moth will be launching at Fabric on Sunday December 7th.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Nov
12

The knives come out at Koko this weekend as Fat Butcher cuts a blah blah blaAah

koko-logo

look, it’s Club NME on Friday, Kaputt and Kenan Bell are playing, just come along if you like live rock music from boys who hate their hometowns and a tasty sequence of indie rock songs from a DJ who’s busy misspending his youth on records you’ll still be dancing to when you’re too old to stand. Koko, Camden, from half nine. Details.

Nov
10

Cybersonica took over the V&A for one of their popular French Connection V&A Late nights on October 31st, showcasing a spectacular array of electronic and interactive art installations and performances. I would have uploaded this footage sooner but I’ve been down in Brighton for a week with Cybersonica and 15 incredible artists (more on this later) so cut me some slack, yeah? As you can see we’re mainly performing for smirters and deserters. Thanks to all the people who approached us to chat and ask questions about the piece and the roaming projection project.

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va_still2

Shape On Top

Taking cues from Corbusier’s concepts of the ‘Poéme Électronique’ and the nomadic mural, Ed Firth and Shaun O’Connor present Shape On Top, a performed roaming video installation examining the influence of the cold war on self-image. As the Cold War Modern exhibition demonstrates; cultural trends in the shadow of the ongoing rivalry between the US and the USSR were affected and cultivated by the paranoia and competition that permeated everyday life through product design, high fashion and architectural concepts.

It was not unusual for designs to take on a military-industrial look, resembling hi-tech weaponry or gadgets for espionage. Fashion began to resemble futuristic space travel uniforms, and architecture grew strong, dependable and hulking, vast bunkers or smooth geodesic domes to protect their inhabitants from a nuclear blast. The imagery in Shape On Top explores the possibility of a link between all of these elements; the domed protective shape of perm hairstyles, echoic of both geodesic domes and the sinister motif of the atomic mushroom cloud, a chic modern image created around a structured hair design much like a helmet, following the ideal of the ‘monocoque’ or single-piece shell, which was an influential trend in furniture and houseware design.

With the benefits of new technology, it seemed as though any material could be as malleable as clay, and from this sense of liberation and convenience came a fresh, futuristic glamour a million years away from communism’s rejection of capitalist values, and of the attainment of individuality and identity through consumption.

“The internet is one of the many modern technologies to have come out of the Cold War so it only seemed appropriate to use YouTube videos for this piece. That the liberation of information sharing came out of such globally threatening hostilities is weird;- how should you feel about that? The doublespeak in the perm ad is hilarious – “it’s the perm that doesn’t show”? I beg to differ! As for the mushroom cloud, it’s a time-worn image but no less scary for it, and the similarities between the aesthetics of the two clips were just uncanny.”

Using wearable projection technology designed and built by the artists, the video loops are displayed exclusively on the curved and convoluted surface of the V&A’s imposing entrance façade. The work is a one-off performance bridging Cybersonica and the Cold War Modern exhibition, and will not be repeated.

Ed Firth / Shaun O’Connor



Oct
23

It’s another busy weekend for the Butcher…

Club NME beefs up its impact with live Fat Butcher visuals tomorrow (Friday 24th)… from the Koko site

Playing this week we have Tellison and Kinkane. Upstairs The Lovely Jonjo (Durrr) presents The On & Up Room playing sweaty electro music alongside special guest Harry James (Snap Crackle n Pop). The middle room hosts Brainlove Records showcasing their own take on indie.

And on Saturday the mince hits the fan at 333:

UPDATE : 27/10/08

Well somehow I survived the weekend with hearing still intact, so thanks to Kristina and Alex at Koko for the beers on ice and for a great night of mainstream indie. The Automatic were pretty explosive live, delivering a tight, authoritative set that had the hits in the right places, and the Ask? brothers sent the strobe lights into hyperdrive with their massive club-DJ-duo sound. The DJ skimmed and served the best of indie rock and electro from the last year or so, including LCD Soundsytem, MIA, Pigeon Detectives, Arctics, Gorillaz, Soulwax and I think some Ladyhawke. I took some footage but will be working hard on the V&A show this week so it’ll be up when it’s up.

Also thanks to Neil at Production London for an impressive line-up at Spook, including Radio 1’s Fabio, Utah Jazz and Barney Logic. There was some brilliant MCing from MC Fats and MC Darrison, who are also sound blokes and kept the party going in the Mother Bar through a catfight and a grumpy amp. You know the night is a success when you find yourself worrying that all your equipment’s going to get pulverised in the throng. The floor was bending, it was mash-up, guy.

Oct
13

The first refuse-collection gangster-hop apostrophe-popularisin’ band FLC top the bill at W,LY this Saturday at 93 Feet East. Who doesn’t have a man crush on Huey? He’s like a gangster and a dustman AND was on Top of the Pops – and now Top of the Pops 2!!!

Looking forward to hearing their DJ/MC set anyway; their first album rattled my bin lids as a teenager dodging bullets in the rural Lake District ghetto. also check out out Cantaloop and Kush (hope you have more luck on google than I just did). See you October 18th, Brick Lane, and cut up any cardboard boxes or they’ll get left.

Oct
06

via Cybersonica 08.

This Friday Fat Butcher will be returning to the FleaPit in East London to contribute to Cybersonica ’08, formerly the Çonic Social; a regular sociable celebration of art, sound, and technology. Loosely themed around the idea of ‘In 3-D’, the night promises a number of surprises from some unheard of and established experimental artists.