Alva Noto & Anne-James Chatton

Unitxt, at Espace Multimédia Gantner, France, 13 November 2011
all images © WFW

more pictures here

Although ALVA NOTO aka CARSTEN NICOLAI needs no introduction, his performance featuring ANNE-JAMES CHATTON yesterday at Espace Multimédia Gantner, was an enthusiastic and mind-blowing delight.

At the intersection of art and science and infamous for his minimalist approach, Unitxt, which could be read as – unit extended referring to a unit of a rhythmic grid – or universal text referring to a universal language, e.g. mathematics: units, constants, measurements, prefix-, SI system of units and is represented in spoken word and by codes in sound itself – is a psychedelic chain of events flashing before our eyes — all to the erratic beat, blips, and prolonged static sounds from faxes, modems and telephones.

Listening to the radio is something that had a lasting influence on me. We didn’t have very good reception and so we had to listen on short wave, and that was exciting. All that coded information that comes over on short wave. Russian radio messages coded into combinations of numbers, numbers often came through in Russian for hours, and that really caught my imagination.(…) I was never actually interested in modification, and I’m still not. I just liked the idea of making loops. There’s still one important influence from fine art and that’s CARLFRIEDRICH CLAUS. He did a lot with language, but he did acoustic experiments as well, and what I saw him doing was breaking through categories, and that was always important to me as well. I didn’t realize till later that everything I’ve done is looked at in categories. – interview by MARTIN PESCH Pesch

By applying his own aesthetic vision to scientific and sonic experiments, ALVA NOTO unlocks the separation of the sensual perceptions of man by making scientific phenomenons like sound and light frequenzies perceivable for both eyes and ears.

Here are two more links: a Gestalten interview with NICOLAI in which he talks about his work and, in particular, the creative power of grids and a video of ALVA NOTO performing Unitxt at Ars Electronica in 2010.

And make sure to check out the programme of the Espace Multimédia Gantner (France) for upcoming electronic delights!

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