Nothing aiming is a splinter
taikos: Stephanie Pan
live electronics, programming: Stelios Manousakis
Center no Distractor is an explosion of movement, physicality and gritty, thumping beats, for taiko and live electronics. Performances are simultaneously a concert, an exploration of sound and body, a visual spectacle; it is dance for the ears, the body, the eyes and the mind.
A truly contemporary collaboration, Center no Distractor re-contextualizes the taiko in a digital environment while retaining the essence of its aesthetic, athletic and musical qualities. This meld creates a visceral, industrial, post-primal/post-digital experience – an immersive and intense performance full of evolving soundscapes and fine detail, throbbing percussion, gut-moving bass, and turbulent oceans of sound.
The Reciprocal /
Center no Distractor’s physicality, for both the performers and viewers alike, reflects a need to feel our bodies in a concrete and visceral way, in a world where physical labor, physical pain, is sublimated and outsourced. The performers and public share together a completely non-verbal, primal experience, through the physicality of thumping, heavy soundwaves, witnessing intense physical effort, and the resulting exchange of energy and feedback.
Stephanie Pan and Stelios Manousakis have been collaborating together since 2005. Projects include: a duo for voice and live electronics; Computer Aided Breathing, a live improv trio for voice, organ and live electronics with organist Kirstin Gramlich; co-composers for film, including experimental documentary film Reformation by Jeanette Groenendaal; Center no Distractor, a new duo for taiko and live electronics; and their newest project, as founders and curators of the Modern Body Festival.
Stephanie Pan (US/NL) is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist and maker based in The Hague. A mutating combination of theater / performance art / experimental/pop/classical music / improvisation / controlled chaos, her work is visceral, passionate and intense, often exploring the limits of body and voice. She performs throughout the US and Europe, presenting work in theatres, musea, venues and festivals. Ms. Pan received her Masters in Theatre from DasArts: Advanced Studies in the Performing Arts (AHK), and holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Music and Applied Mathematics, and a First Phase Diploma, with distinction, in Classical Singing from The Royal Conservatory, The Hague.
Stelios Manousakis (GR/NL) is a composer, performer, researcher and sound artist. Stelios operates in the convergence zones between art and science, composition, performance and installation, Western art music and ‘digital folk’ idioms. He applies complexity science, cybernetic and biology-inspired models to generate novel musical systems and sound synthesis methods, often merging algorithmic finesse with the expressivity of improvisation or the immediacy of audience participation. His work has been shown in various venues & festivals in Europe and the Americas. He received his Masters from the Institute of Sonology in The Hague and is currently finishing a PhD at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) in Seattle, USA.
Fragmentation: A brain-controlled performance
The piece is an emotional magnifying glass that materializes for the audience the invisible internal mind state of the performer in a gamification environment. In its metaphor, it represents the fragmentation of personality of the “post-modern man”: exposed to aggressive stimulation and overwhelming data streams, he must make important choices to follow a rational “mind path” while his time is always running out. The performer as post-modern man, wears an electro-encephalographic headset which detects his mind activity. The audience predicts and observes the performer’s choices and struggle. His level of concentration, stress, and relief of the performer is thus transformed into something palpable for the audience.
The Split Body
A butoh-dancer wears an encephalographic headset detecting electrical activity in his brain; with it, he attempts to move an avatar through a maze projected in a darkened room, while performing alongside a glitchy digital soundtrack. The flickering lights and sound – generated as a response to the performer’s inner mental state – serve to distract and disrupt his concentration, thereby inhibiting the success of the brain-control; with butoh he tries to empty his mind and guide the avatar to freedom. This splitting of the self into mind and body and the struggle of one against the other is deeply rooted in western philosophical thought, and an important concept in our research of ‘body’.
Alberto Novello, PhD (IT) is a nuclear physicist and experimenter of electroacoustic music. He has worked at the Philips Research Labs / TU Eindhoven in Music Psychology and studied electroacoustic composition with J.C.Risset, P. Berg and J. Ryan. The focus of his practice is on how humans perceive sound: what unconscious mechanisms we use to make sense of reality, and how can one alter the audience’s perception through sound. His works have been presented in international festivals (Rewire, Network Festival, Spectrum), institutes for experimental music (CCMAS – Mexico, Logos – Belgium, STEIM – Amsterdam) and conferences (NIME, ICMC, ICMPC).
With/In: Immersive sound and movement experience
WITH IN is a collaboration between Francisco López and Valentina Lacmanović; both artists have worked extensively, in their respective fields of experimental music and dance, with notions of immersion, trance and transgression of physical limits and limits of perception. The repetitive whirling as archetype of the movement itself and the textural/spatial complexity of the enveloping sonic environments are the essential tools for taking the audience into a voyage through different levels of perception. The trance-like substance of both elements brings observation and listening into a radically different level, away from contemplation and deep into a cathartic, physical and emotional experience. The non-narrative/non-descriptive character of both sound and movement in this piece/experience creates a blank emotional and imaginative territory for the spectator to project, traverse, imagine and, ultimately, create.
The Receiving Body /
The Immersive Body
One of the world’s leading figures of sound art and soundscape composition, and famed for his blindfolded sonic journeys, Francisco Lopez teams up with dancer Valentina Lacmanovic to present a new project, With/In. Expanding on the notions of immersive sound, trance and transgression of physical and perceptual limits, the pair presents a total immersion in sight and sound, with all aspects of the performance originating from the dancer as the single, spinning source for a hypnotic bath, enveloping the viewers’ bodies in total experience.
Francisco López (ES) is internationally recognized as one of the major figures of the sound art and experimental music scene. For more than thirty years he has developed an astonishing sonic universe, absolutely personal and iconoclastic, based on a profound listening of the world. He has realized hundreds of concerts, projects with field recordings, workshops and sound installations in over seventy countries of the six continents. His extensive catalog of sound pieces (with live and studio collaborations with over 150 international artists) has been released by more than 300 record labels / publishers worldwide. He has been awarded four times with honorary mentions at the competition of Ars Electronica Festival and is the recipient of the Qwartz Award 2010 for best sound anthology.
Valentina Lacmanović (HR/FR/NL) is a performance artist with background in acting, dance and choreography, studied Dramatic Art at CNSAD (National Academy of Dramatic Art) in Paris and graduated in Philosophy (Aesthetics) at Université Paris VIII. After years of performing experience in France, following her interest in both philosophy and dance of Eastern cultures, she trained in dance techniques coming from India, Japan and North Africa. Discovery of dances of trance and the role of dance in shamanic practices changed her creative direction. Since 2001, her work has been focused on transposing the techniques of trance and rituals within contemporary performance. Her investigations led to insights that supply an inexhaustible source of artistic inspiration and creativity.