In collaboration with Rewire Festival, Het Nieuwe Instituut presents For the Record: In Another Setting. This event explores design tactics for collective music experiences during the pandemic and beyond. With Alpha Rats (Japan), Archivo Auxiliar (Mexico), GLOR1A (UK), Volumetric Performance Toolkit (USA) and Jason King (USA).
Live music performances and nightlife offer spaces for personal expression and collective experiences. During lockdown,video platforms ensured the continuation of gathering and communication outside our domestic environments, while live-streamed events and music performances enabled forms of solidarity and collectivity across platforms and time zones. From home-recorded concerts and gatherings on YouTube, Twitch or Instagram, to high-end productions and VR events in Minecraft or Fortnite, to Zoom parties such as Club Quarantine and raves in Second Life: how do these events and platforms make us rethink our relationship to music and space, and ultimately to each other?
For the Record: In Another Setting will explore design tactics for collective music experiences during the pandemic and beyond, and the changing roles and conditions for artists, music communities, designers, platforms, festivals and venues in creating proximity and community through distributed listening environments. Recent examples of web-based music performances and alternative tools and platforms for online expression will form the basis for a discussion on the audiovisual, spatial, social and political dimensions of online music practice.
For the Record
For the Record is a long-term research project by Het Nieuwe Instituut. It investigates how, by exposing realities and imagining alternatives, contemporary music video culture operates as a public space for consumerism, activism and emancipation. Using public programmes, video production and tools for publication and annotation, the project documents and reflects on the technologies, spatial design and forms of representation deployed in music video and live events. It engages with both local and global issues and dimensions in music video culture, involving a broad network of set and stage designers, architects, artists, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers, media producers, cultural critics, festivals and institutions.
Rewire - (Re)setting
Rewire is an annual international festival for adventurous music. The central thread running through the programme of Rewire 2021 is the notion of (Re)setting, exploring processes of constant change and adaptation as they relate to sound, acoustics and the environment. In an increasingly fraught global context, (Re)setting seeks a moment to pause and reorientate ourselves. How can a festival still be meaningful in times of large-scale isolation, in an industry that once fed off of liveness and proximity? The theme addresses our current context of the pandemic and how this has affected all aspects of our lives, from our health to our ability to create and connect to one another. With (Re)setting, Rewire offers a platform for composers, artists and thinkers who are engaged in world-building. They reflect on this new era of physical distance, insecurity and loneliness, and at the same time show us the possibilities that arise from it.
Archivo Auxiliar is a Mexico City-based collective devoted to developing a digital archive documenting the history of electronic music and its social production within a regional context. The team of five includes Frankie, a translator and DJ; Ramon, who works in marketing and is a producer; and Gabo, a musician and DJ. Together, this trio produces an influential roving rave in Mexico City, called EXT. They are joined by Alicja, who has a master's in architecture and is an amateur expert on electronic music, and Ayesha, who studied anthropology, has a master's in architecture and works in applied architectural research. The collective's diversity contributes to varied perspectives and skill-sets. The members believe that elevating regional history is empowering and also critical in understanding the changes and opportunities of the Covid-19 context.
In 2021, AAUX began a new project called Cyberstreams with the support of the For the Record research residency from Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Cyberstreams is studying spatial, social, and sound production in streaming events in the Covid-19-restricted world. Live events have been translated into cyberstreams, bounding what were once collective events by the frame of screens and cameras. From video live streams to VR events - cyberstreams have created new arenas for design, identity presentation, and consumption. Using case studies and interviews, the collective hopes to understand some of these new typologies and experimental performativities.
Jason King is the Chair of New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Jason is a musician, DJ, performer, producer, songwriter, scholar, curator, journalist and a widely published scholar, writing on the cultural politics of artists like Beyoncé, Drake, Roberta Flack and Luther Vandross. He is a regular contributor to publications like Pitchfork, Slate, Los Angeles Times, and NPR Music; and he is the author of The Michael Jackson Treasures. Jason has hosted and produced television, video and radio series, as well as podcasts, for media platforms like NPR Music and CNN: those series have featured artists like Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys, Moses Sumney, and Miguel. Jason has been an expert witness in high-profile legal cases for Drake, Katy Perry, Jay Z, Timbaland, Lady Gaga, and Madonna.
GLOR1A and Alpha Rats
UK-based multidisciplinary artist GLOR1A crafts sizzling experimental R&B music rooted in concepts of Afrofuturism and the transformative power of technology. For Rewire 2021, she is working alongside Japanese VR developer and visual artist Alpha Rats on SWARM, an interactive prototype game that fuses digital art and live performance. Based on mythology, ancestral art and the female utopia, SWARM is set deep in the underworld and encourages the audience to explore the game's environment together, unlocking unique live performances in a fascinating sound-reactive journey.
Volumetric Performance Toolbox
Volumetric Performance Toolbox (VPT) is a collaboration between performing artist Valencia James, digital experience creator Sorob Louie and spatial interaction lab Glowbox. VPT envisions live online 3D dance performance as a new way for artists to create and perform from their own living spaces during the pandemic, and for audiences to communally experience art using minimal equipment. Led by the shared values of liberation for all who have been harmed and/or excluded by the media and various systems of oppression, VPT makes emerging technology accessible for artists to both strengthen and sustain their craft. This project is made possible through the generous support of Eyebeam’s Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future Fellowship programme.