Monica Vlad

Lost, but not lost forever

Performed at Ars Electronica Festival twice on:

  • 8 September 2017 AEN // Nightline – NOISE OPENING on Mainstage, Linz / Austria
  • 11 September 2017 AEF // Music Monday – Bruckneruniversität, Linz / Austria

Other past dates:

  • 20 May 2017 Body.Sound.Space Festival, Linz / Austria
  • 6 October – Pikkuääniaalto // Espoo, Finland
  • 7 October – Third Space // Helsinki, Finland

“Lost, but not lost forever” is a sound performance that uses old media devices to create new soundscapes. The set-up is made from 2 cassette players that are continuously playing 3 changeable cassette tape loops; 2 radios are also added to play random AM frequencies and create a depth to the sound. A sewing machine is the central piece; 2 piezo microphones are positioned on its surface to detect the vibrations and transform them in audible waves, also an adjacent rhythm is created using the metal needle perforating the surface. A light sensor from a Signum device is used to create the principal beat and the bass. A small PCB (printed circuit board) is the last one to be added and used to close the performance.

Interviewer:

I don’t know if you want the audience to know but one of the first things I asked myself when reading the description of you performance was if there was any reason why you chose this machines.

Is their a concept behind it, is it because of their specific noises or because of their stories and what is being associated with them?

Also the title made me wonder. 

Answer:

The performance was first created as a project for the Media Archeology class with Gebhard Sengmüller; all the students supposed to create a new art project based on old media or old media devices. By coincidence, Christa [Sommerer] was passing by in the day of the final presentation and invited me to AEF (actually she invited quite all because she liked what she saw).

Anyway, when I was first thinking about the sound performance, I immediately thought to grab some walkmans and play with cassette tape loops somehow like making a live analog sound composition. I wanted to recreate the act of playing in Ableton with loops using a computer, but without a computer; so the only solution was to recreate the physical / analog loops as cassette loops that are the base of this performance. I then added the 2 radios because they offer amazing frequencies and I wanted to add an old (not electric) sewing machine because I am very familiar with it from my childhood and I just love it. It wasn’t very easy to get a not electrical sewing machine, so I had to make a compromise and stick to the electrical pedal sewing machine (the one we had in the work room). After that I added few more components that helped me to achieve the soundscape I had in my mind.

The title “Lost, but not lost forever” is a tribute to old media that doesn’t exist anymore (or dead media) but we still remember their existence. Also puts the question “What’s the life expectancy of a media?”. Of course depends from type to type, but at the end, somehow they all die. Or “Is there a media that never died?”. “What’s the new media that is going to conquer the world?”.

 

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© 2017 Monica Vlad