Shake your booty (on the workfloor)
and then i joined the avantgarde {ii}

au!guts 10, 2010.

Part of the Workfloor at this year's Avantgarde Festival in Schiphorst was occupied by a series of instruments / sound sculptures, imagined and built by Ferdinand Försch, like the one in the picture just below.

ferdinand froesch

Introducing his performance on Saturday, Ferdinand told us how the attendance of a John Cage seminar in England, in 1982, had put him on the path that he has been following ever since, and how each of his many different, finely crafted instruments/sculptures corresponds to just one composition, a couple of which he then performed.

Some more of Ferdinand's work can be seen in the following picture of that same Workfloor, behind Richard Lainhart (l) and Thomas Zunk (r) who were performing there on Sunday, July 4th.


The colorful box that Richard is playing is a Buchla 200e analog modular synthesizer controlled by a Haken Continuum three-dimensional keyboard controller. (Now that is quite a mouthful, but those viewers interested in the details can follow the links to learn more.) Thomas is standing behind a Moog Etherwave Theremin, which is an instrument that I suppose most viewers pe theremin will be familiar with. And if you were at Schiphorst this year you had a chance to learn a lot of what there is to know about it, as Thomas showed great didactic skill in introducing and explaining the instrument to the Schiphorst audience at several occasions during the 3 day festival.
(I took the vintage illustration to the left from Thomas' Myspace page. It's the cover of the April 1955 issue of Popular Electronics, which ran an article by Louis E. Garner, Jr. entitled Electronics Music with the THEREMIN, with the plans and instructions needed to build a tube model Theremin. Not a very easy task, it seems, as one has to wind one's 'own coils and build a fairly complex power transformer'.)

Were I to assign medals and prizes, the SoundBlog's Avantgarde medal for the Festival's most daring and courageous performance would go to, indeed, Lainhart and Zunk, for world premiering live in the lingering heat of a very hot summer Sunday afternoon their transcription for Buchla and Theremin of Olivier Messiaen's Oraison. Messiaen originally wrote the piece in 1937 for six Ondes Martenot. It made a re-appearance four years later, adapted for cello and piano, as the fifth section of the late French master's exceptional and profound Quator pour la fin du temps. Lainhart and Zunk played their version of Oraison, not without flaws, but concentratedly still, vibrating and intense, before a Workfloor packed with an attentive Schiphorst audience, that for the duration of the duo's performance sat and stood quiet as as many mice.

On Richard Lainhart's vimeo channel you can watch the duo in action in Schiphorst, in one of the improvised pieces for Buchla and Theremin that they also performed that afternoon. (The picture above is a still that I took from that clip.) Last but not least, on uTube there's a fine clip of Richard performing his transcription of Oraison for the Buchla solo. (Have a look at the comments posted on the clip's page. You will see that it actually documents the contact between Thomas and Richards that subsequently led to their Schiphorst performance.)

patricia molins

For large parts of the time the Workfloor was precisely that: a workfloor. Early in the morning there was Ferdinand Försch working with his instruments on the far side, while in a corner on the other side French sculptress Patricia Molins could be seen welding and cutting away, working on her phantasmagoric sculptures ferrugineuses, which were like the rusty remnants (in reversed time death precedes life(#);) of a future line of gentle 'n' freebooting, highly intelligent, humanoid robots. Soft-hearted hard machines ((#)therefore time reversal is not much of an option).

patricia molins

There was painting, there was talking, there was cutting, there was hammering, there were pictures being taken on the Workfloor. And just opposite of Patricia's welding corner there was Jean-Marie Benoist, a French sculptor and stoneworker, drilling and cutting into a large and massive piece of very hard stone.

Both Jean-Marie and Patricia and their heavy tools were part of the Faust line up that performed at the Festival on saturday afternoon. It were their tools that, along with the roar of Jean-Hervé's ferocious chainsaw, accounted for that concert's particularly jubilant roughness and 'industrial' feel.

jm benoist faust


It was also on the Workfloor that early saturday morning I set up our Carcassonne table, next to a larger table on which I displayed some of our fine merchandise (vintage vinyl, recent CD's, the Re:Table Spoerri booklet), quite a bit of which over the weekend found its way to fans and collectors.

Spoerri @ Schiphorst

Situated right at the top of the staircase where all day long people were going up and down to have a peep at the workfloor activities or to attend the concerts on the upstairs stage, our Re:Table in its - be it somewhat curious - everydayness became part of the Festival's ongoing flow, without anything much setting it apart from other tables on the premises crammed with random stuff.

At the Avantgarde Festival this was both its force and its fate.

In the early evening of Saturday July 3th, at a time when the coming and going was particularly dense (in between Ferdinand Försch's performance on the Workfloor and Philippe Petit's concert on the upstairs stage) our Spoerri's table succumbed to the strain of the Avantgarde, and crashed...

Spoerri @ Schiphorst

next: Bonjour Schiphorst! Farewell Blue Vase!

SoundBlog entries related to our 2010 reconstruction of Daniel Spoerri's Carcassone table:

(june 06, 2013) - A Carcassonne Yodel in Blue [Kunsttour 2013]
(december 24, 2011) - Touching Base
(april 19, 2011) - (Topographic [Table) Topographique]
(september 26, 2010) - Bonjour Schiphorst! Farewell Blue Vase! [and then i joined the avantgarde {iii}]
(august 10, 2010) - Shake your booty (on the workfloor) [and then i joined the avantgarde {ii}]
(july 18, 2010) - From (h)ear to avantgarde
(june 10, 2010) - A kitchen table and a game of cards [KT2010, ii]
(june 04, 2010) - Table archaeology: unearthing the picture trap
(may 18, 2010) - Instant coffee and (b)[re](a)d wine (the Spoerri re:Table in Extrapool, Nijmegen)
(may 13, 2010) - attention! oeuvre d atable
(july 08, 2009) - Cover thyself ( * ) Petit tour de table, grande bouffe [iii]

tags: Avantgarde Festival, A Table!

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