LAURA NETZ is an artist-curator who runs the regular monthly night SONIC ELECTRONICS at The Others venue in Stoke Newington. She spoke to artist-musician Jude Cowan Montague about her process.
TST: Tell me about your own audio work. Where are you at now with your process? What tools are you using to what intent?
LN: I am an active participant in the hacker community. Taking part in the MPhil studies on Art, Science and Technology at UAL London, I study how counter-laboratory practices and the need to establish radical critical thinking towards the science-in-the-making. Although I create my own DIY oscillators’ prototypes based on Hardware Hacking by Nick Collins, and also develop workshops on DIY circuitry for beginners, during Medial Dark Ages performance I am using prototypes from:
– Mutan Monkey Analog Instruments, DIY opto-oscillators.
– Martin Howse, Detektors.
– Cyrille Henry, Noizoid, MMO-3.
Medial Dark Ages is my live audiovisual performance which intends to fit music technology in the context of radical critical thinking and media archaeology theory
TST: What ambitions do you have for your work in the near future? Where do you see it going and where would you like it to go? Do you have any unrealised projects that you’d like to share?
Now, I am looking forward to finishing my MPhil, which perhaps give some chances to teach at the uni where I am studying. Also, I am working with my partner in a new live audiovisual project called ommatidia. Ommatidia is a live audiovisual project by mathr & netz. Ommatidia uses the fly vision algorithm. So, the visualization code takes an image from a single lens webcam and processes it to emulate the ommatidia. Arranged in a hexagonal grid, which is an optimal packing reached by evolution, each cell has a wide-angle, with overlapping edges repeating parts of the image and enhancing the drama of moving objects. The colour of the cells is modified according to the volume levels of three frequency bands of audio (bass, mids, treble). Over time the size of the cells is modulated, zooming disconcertingly.
TST: Who has influenced you in your personal work and why?
lN: Mainly the artists who are in the DIY scene, Nicolas Collins, Martin Howse, etc…..
TST: As an artist-curator please tell me about your regular night SONIC ELECTRONICS. What have been some highlights and lowlights? What have your achieved together with the artists and what would you like to happen that hasn’t come together (yet)?
LN: Well, Sonic Electronics is an experimental event which happens 1st Wednesday monthly The Others – Stoke Newington. We propose an anti-techno-capitalist approach to music genres like ambient, drone, techno, experimental, electronics, acousmatic, live coding, noise, vaporwave, glitch, dark, new wave, postpunk,….. We proposed to be an inclusive event to the LGBT community, female artists, no discrimination on gender, races, MH, disability. But we failed on that aim. As the scene continues to be full of male playing noise. I am tired to express this concern and misrepresentation of females. From my experience less than 30% in the monthly event I run since February where female artists or trans. Very disappointing. From the other hand, we managed to organise a four days festival, with an exhibition, workshops, talks, and live av performances. Great! We got funding, but the audiences were still low.
TST: Who do you admire on the current experimental music scene and why? Obviously there will be many but select a few stand out performers/composers and tell me about their work.
LN: Well, I am interested in current Festival artists, such as Sonar, where Nicola Collins participated, he is still one of the greatest gurus in DIY. I am interested in Ars Electronica, where artists and musicians exhibit and play their own developed tools and instruments, such as Stefan Tiefengraber. In London, I am a fan of MusicHackspace, Hackoustic, and Ikletik Art Lab.
TST: What is your philosophy of curation and performance/creation and are they different?
LN: I am influenced by different philosophies, posthumanism; media archaeology, Anthropocene; Actor-Network Theory, etc. I try to apply this to curation, this is a challenge, and a shift from theory to practice, which according to Lacan, in the consecution of the object there is always a void, a lack, a hole. But I try my best and try to mix technology with performance, be inclusive, as well as tolerant with non-humans such as nature and other agents.
TST: Finally a question about technology. Do you have any thoughts on the role of digital and analogue as it is working today.
LN: As part of my field of studies I am researching on how Technoscience is deployed as an impressive undeniable and uncontrovertible reality. However, is just an imposition from western occidental society to the rest of the world, resulting from the colonisation and other humanistic practices in the era of reason. Personally speaking, digital and technological tools can help to grow our communication and understanding of humankind, but far from this, obsolesce and overproduction are causing a great catastrophe such as global warming.
Laura Netz, thanks for talking and making such a difference to our lives as experimental musicians in London and beyond, to our opportunities as practitioners, helping us have the space and chance to express, develop and perform: JCM