Sten Sandell & Alex Nowitz: SAM
DESIGNING VOICES stellt zwei Künstler vor, die in Kombination mit ihren Stimmen die Tradition des Pfeifenorgelspiels mit der innovativen Performancepraxis der Verwendung von gestengesteuerter Live-Elektronik, das am STEIM in Amsterdam entwickelte Strophonion, verbinden.
DESIGNING VOICES features sound and music performances with a focus on extended vocal performance art. The theme in 2023 is “Vokalaktionen” [vocal actions].
The second edition of the three-day festival showcases individual and internationally renowned vocal performance artists who consider the voice as a multivocal instrument applying gesture-controlled live electronics. Highlighting the artistic practice of composer-performers DESIGNING VOICES also presents musicians who use their voice as integral part of their performance practice. Some of the invited artists in 2023 are inventors or specialists in the field of performing with unconventional instruments, such as the talk box or analogue synthesizers, either aiming for the extension of the voice or for its simulation. They all deal with the phenomenon ‘voice’ by beautiful, artistic means resulting in surprising sounds and refreshing music.
In 2023 the invited artists derive from Brazil, England, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
DESIGNING VOICES präsentiert vokale Performancekünstler*innen und Musiker*innen, die Solo-Kompositionen und/oder Improvisationen vorstellen. Darüber hinaus treten sie in einen aufregenden musikalischen Dialog mit Sten Sandell und Alex Nowitz und verwandeln das Projekt SAM auf diese Weise in eine ständig wechselnde Trio- oder Quartettformation.
DESIGNING VOICES presents concert performances introducing the different practices and illuminating the characteristics and fascinating peculiarities of contemporary vocal performance art in interaction with instruments, media, and new technology. An introduction in the form of demonstrations of unusual instruments, one lecture-performance and audiovisual works precedes each concert performance.
The motto Vokalaktionen [vocal actions] points at what goes beyond the conventional use of the voice, applying so-called extended vocal techniques. At the same time, the range of vocal expressions can also be expanded by the use of computer and sensor-based technologies that require distinctive actions through gestures and motion patterns. This is the case if vocal performance artists apply gesture-controlled live electronics, such as the “sensorglove” by FRANZISKA BAUMANN, the “genki wave rings” by TONE ÅSE or the “strophonion” by ALEX NOWITZ. Each of these unique live electronic instruments requires a well-practiced action and motion vocabulary from the vocal performer. Differing from instrument to instrument, very idiosyncratic movements as well as vocal actions emerge.
During the course of the festival the clarinet, basset horn, tuba, piano and pipe organ can be experienced as well as the rarely used effects unit of a talk box combining basset horn and soprano by CHRISTOPH REISERER or RICHARD SCOTT’s unique combinations of rare analogue synthesizers.
Die lange Nacht der kuriosen Stimmen [The long night of curious voices] is the highlight of the festival taking place on the 27th of October 2023 at the fabrik POTSDAM. The concert performance showcases compelling vocalists, such as ISABELLE DUTHOIT (FR, voice & clarinet) and KATIA GUEDES (BR/DE, soprano & electronics) as well as musicians who unveil unique approaches to the creation of sound and music, such as CARL LUDWIG HÜBSCH (DE, tuba & voice), CHRISTOPH REISERER (DE, basset horn, talk box & live electronics) and RICHARD SCOTT (UK/DE, analogue syntheziser). Introducing the evening, ALEX NOWITZ will present “WHAVES—Wer hat Angst vorm erweiterten Stimmenklang?” [WHAVES–Who’s afraid of the extended sound of the voice?]
In collaboration with internationally established artists DESIGNING VOICES also provides a platform to enable and generate unparalleled concert experiences. The featured artists in 2023 are TONE ÅSE (NO, voice & live electronics), FRANZISKA BAUMANN (CH, voice & live electronics), ALEX NOWITZ (DE, voice & live electronics) and STEN SANDELL (SE, voice & piano or pipe organ). Ever since it was founded during the DESIGNING VOICES festival in 2021 in Berlin the quartet is called operadicals. Presenting works for solo, duet, trio and quartet formations as well as for a small choir, the quartet appears in two concert performances called Vokalaktionen 1 at PARETZ Academy on the 26th of Oct. and Vokalaktionen 2 at the French Church POTSDAM on the 28th of Oct. Fascinating vocal landscapes will emerge through the use of state-of-the-art technology, but also in the form of choral miniatures in collaboration with singers of two choirs from Brandenburg, the KETZINER HAVELKLÄNGE [sounds from the Havel in Ketzin] and SALTO TONALE (usually led by conductor, singer and visual artist Tobias Kielinger).
The music educational work along the way of the preparation is supported by SABINE VOGEL (DE) who introduces the singers to contemporary vocal expression by applying soundpainting—a universal multidisciplinary live composing sign language. Instead of using music sheets, it is the gestural vocabulary that generates and controls sound and music. Her gestures are immediately translated by the singers into vocal sounds. It’s a constant interplay between both parties celebrating the theme of the festival Vokalaktionen.