Job description: Festival PR Officer at STEIM, Patterns & Pleasure Festival (2011)

New musical instruments from the last century – the Theremin, electric guitar, synthesizer, turntable – were outlandish, noisy, and often threatening to the conventional. But to the fresh ear these were instruments of pleasure and freedom that sparked creativity. From Edgar Varése to Grandmaster Flash, new instruments were essential for the creation of new music. For 42 years, STEIM has helped artists realize dream instruments that would allow them to make music like no other. From 26 till 28 September 2011 STEIM showed their favorite artists at the Patterns + Pleasure Festival located at Frascati Amsterdam.

The festival program featured some of the newest and most adventurous approaches in today’s live electronic music. “Wireless controller for voice,” “Composition for sounding juggling balls,” “Graphite synthesizer,” “Joystick sampler,” and “Video choir” are some of the wonders that resulted after artistic residencies at STEIM. Other invited artists come with their own take on DIY synthesizers and controllers, live instrumental hip-hop, heavy machine doom music, biofeedback-Tuvan singing, and boogie-woogie noise. Many of the performers and pieces will be seen in the Netherlands for the first time.

The symposium program brought together internationally renowned artists, writers, and scholars from diverse fields to discuss about new directions in music making. We revisit the pioneering work of Steina Vasulka and the historical STEIM archives in “The New Past” session. Influential writers David Toop and Hans Boutellier talk about improvisation in the ”Playing by Ear” session. “Handmade Music” is an open demo session of odd and unique instruments built by local artists and students. Other themed sessions are joined by specialists in mathematics, computer music, new media, musical healing, and complex systems. Our local collaborating partners and institutions will present their own work throughout the program.

There also was a workshop program ranging from building small touch synthesizers to drawing with handmade chaotic analog computers and learning how to design networked interactive systems. Additionally, intimate seminars on interactive media education, archiving multimedia performances, working with field recordings and new cross disciplinary collaborations will be organized. All workshops and seminars will be taught by experienced artists and researchers from our extended network of colleagues.

New musical instruments from the 21st century – the laptop, touch screen, mobile phone – are familiar devices that easily produce wild sounds and complex patterns. However, we should not forget that what grasps us during a performance is not the technology or its functionality; it is still the sweat, the effort and the intuition of the performer. In the end, it is all about the music.

Be ready to be surprised, provoked, and inspired at the Patterns + Pleasure Festival.

Patterns and pleasure (3)