The Berliner Künstlerprogramm (DAAD) sponsors a yearly "Neue Musik" and experimental music festival in Berlin, called Mikromusik. It's usually spread over several locations in Berlin.
The Electronic Studio at TU Berlin, where I'm currently working/ tutoring is the partner for all things technical for these venues during this event and puts my collegue and I in the position of helping to realize different artistic setups.
While some of the installations and concerts are based on multi-channel/ spatialized audio (and thus sometimes have a complex speaker setup), others require many more tweaks and additional work, before they are ready to go.
One of those was "Dreaming Smetak" by Gustavo Alfaix.
His installation was supposed to use 36 acoustic guitars in a aeolian setup, meaning they are to be played by the wind!
This is the kind of thing your momma warns you about!
No seriously, if you ever find yourself working on a large-scale technical setup, involving many acoustic guitars, that have to be amplified, plan ahead accordingly.
Gustavo's installation space was the attic and spire of Sophienkirche, which further complicated the whole story due to long cable lines (we ended up making a couple of hundred meters of custom cables).
We got ready just in time for the opening.
The resulting audio however was very mystic and dreamy sound wise (just as the name suggests).
You can find a series of pictures (some by me) and a video documentation, that further explain the whole thing.
File under: Worth it!
This was not my only involvement with the festival, though.
During setting up "Dreaming Smetak", Gustavo and I could listen already to the rehearsals of the in-house choir (not too bad actually!) and of Quatuor Diotima (an excellent string quartett) below us in the nave, which I would record later on.
The Electronic Studio also dealt with the setup of Karen Powers' installation/ performance piece "Once Below" at Kapelle der Versöhnung, which proved to be demanding from a gear point of view.
The chapel is semi-open to the outside, consisting of wooden bars, marking an oval space (much like a wooden prison... weird concept for a chapel, right?), enclosing a concrete building (also ovally shaped).
This plus rain is pretty much speaker apocalypse and makes you get all paranoid about those Meyer UPL-1.
Although I didn't hear much of Karen's piece, I dealt with the technical setup of another installation/ performance of hers earlier this year.
She is a nice person to work with, collecting sound scapes from all over the world, that she turns into pieces.
Another interesting place of involvement for us was the St. Elisabeth Kirche, a bombed out church in Berlin-Mitte, that has seen only mild renovations to now house concerts, perfomances and installations.
There, we dealt with the gentlemen John Tilbury and Eddie Prévost of AMM and Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui and Raed Yassin of A-Trio (both alone and in combination: "AMM, A-Trio, AAMM"), alongside Boris Filanovsky and Arno Fabre showcasing "Componiums. La Machine Fleuve".
The first two needed a classical concert setup, in which we took care of the sometimes very dynamic output and a recording for Deutschlandradio Kultur, the latter, as a performance piece, based upon a cyclist-driven multitude of music boxes, needed some fine tuning for the piezos in use.
Closing, there was the pretty exhaustive tear-down and another concert (we nearly could ''just be part of''): "Audiovisual concert" by Kerbaj and others, showing steep similarities to seeing some first generation Postrock, like GY!BE live.
In respective, I'm still astounded by how much has been accomplished by so few people.
Although obviously planning of such events can always be better, much can still be pushed towards a good direction by applying some hard work!