2017 Recap time! 2017 gave me a lot of good shows, two new installations, the continuation of my album-recording with Andi and the start of my teaching at the NYU Berlin. Without the constant help of my friends and partners, the urge and push to constantly explore new territories, it would be hard to keep up the self-motivation to do all this. Especially as the world seemed to fall apart a little more in this year, working as an artist sometimes seemed so unimportant. My half-true response to that is, that art should always be there to question the old, explore the new and give spectators the possibility to forget, at least for a moment.
These were my 2017 moments: In February I played two shows and had one exhibition in Tokyo and was overwhelmed by Japan on my two-week trip with my brother-from-another-mother Karsten.
In June I was at the Amsterdam Festival for a show with Jan and Andi Mouse On Mars and Musikfabrik Köln for some Neue Musik – Robot Madness. At the end of June, we won the Visual Music Award, thanks for Jakob and Sönke for receiving it and got funded by the INITIATIVE MUSIK for our new Album.
In July I played for my friends from Tech Open Air a met the awesome Travis “Machinedrum” for the first time. Award for the warmest welcome goes to Romania and the crew of the Clujotronic festival.
Somewhen mid-2018 I got to know Magnus Hecht and Anika Jankowski with their publishing hous and we decided to work together in terms of publising and releasing new and hot robotic shit!
In the beginning of November I published a new installation called “Soft Manipulator“. I had this Installation in my mind for a long time, but it was not until Gwendolin Kremer from the Altana Gallery asked me to contribute some work that I started building it. I thought, it would be very cool to have a robotic installation, where people without musical knowledge can make music with objects and test out the sound side of items with their own hands, not obstructed by interfaces. It worked, also thanks to my near-genius level programmer Lennart.
End of November I totally got lost in the speculative design sphere but fortunatly got out of this world just in time to held my talk “The Speculative Future of Art, Music and Technologie” at the Most Wanted: Music Conference Berlin. The biggest influence here was “mad professor” Knut from The Constitute, with his constant stream of over-the-top ideas. Also in November I was spontaneously invited to play at Mutek Barcelona Digilab and got to know the Spanish part of the Mutek family.
So, what will 2018 be like? It’s just a number. But I hope it’s a good one.
Two weeks ago we traveled to Barcelona for MUTEK Barcelona ‘s Digilab. Featuring: Smoke, Shaving Cream and Robots!
Crew: Jakob A. Geist , Karsten, Moritz Simon Geist
In 2012 we published the installation MR-808. Over the years we used it mostly as an interactive installation where people can experiment with rhythms, robots, and sound. The audience is mostly very diverse. On music-focused events, people know how to program a groovy beat. Kids, on the other hand, tend to press “all the buttons at once” which often results in a gabber-esk cacophony. Fair enough.
Over the time I felt, it would be very cool to have an installation, where people without musical knowledge can make music with objects and test out the sound side of items with their own hands, not obstructed by interfaces. Thus we created the installation “Soft Manipulator”!
It’s a playful interactive installation where the audience experiments with rhythms, mechanics, and objects. Everyday items like glasses, pots, as well as small musical instruments are placed on a light platform. Seven robotic mechanic devices can be manipulated interactively by the audience, manipulating the sound of the objects. The six robotic mechanics beat the objects, creating a constantly changing polyrhythmic web of sound and rhythm.
“Simon Moritz Geist’s new work ‘Soft Manipulator’, continues to explore the black box of electronic sound production by laying out an array of everyday objects and mini-robots, which acoustically interact with these objects, on the flat surface of a table. As in his previous well-known robot installation “MR 808 Interactive Drum Machine”, the audience can control this interaction, this time by means of easily manipulating objects and knobs which require no particular expertise to operate. Thus the installation supports an inherent desire for experimentation and sound – in a playful way with everyday objects and mechanical robots.” (Jessica Buskirk, ALTANA Gallery)
Date of release: 2017
To be seen till February 2018 at Altana Gallery Dresden
Kustodie der TU Dresden
Helmholtzstraße 9, 01069 Dresden
Open: Mo – Fr 10Am – 6Pm Uhr
Funded with support of the “Amt für Kultur und Denkmalschutz”
Since Fall 2017 I’m holding a lecture for the NYU Berlin, Tisch School of the Arts. Since 2016 students are coming to Berlin to deepen their knowledge of “Future Pop Music Studies“: electronic music, production techniques and creative experiments as in my course. I try to encourage the students to experiement with non-product sound machines, look at how sound is created at a basic level and generally focus of unboxing and non-intended use of technology.
The Course “Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies” introduces students to innovative and cutting-edge technologies of sound, video, and interface design. The course consists of both a theoretical and a hands-on part.
Music and creative technologies have shifted in the past years from preset-focused black-box devices to open and hackable hard- and software. Examples are MaxMSP (Ableton), the Kinect Motion sensor, VR-Plattforms or open source music instruments like Korgs Mono series, Littlebits or Bastl Kits. This shift enables artists today to better understand the inner workings of instruments and engage a very different working process: Devices can be created and manipulated more easily, forming future tools and creating a rich variety of different media.
As a lot have requested, here’s an update to what’s up with Sonic Robots in summer 2017.
Some might have heard, I am currently recording the first SR album. From what I know it will be the first album ever dedicated to robots playing techno. And I really wonder why no human has gone there before! The album will consist of several tracks of robotic techno and electronica (well, without electronics). It explores the inner sound of robotic mechanics made with futuristic robot instrument! Release date is beginning of next year. Sounds good? Keep posted at this channel!
For the production I am working together with Jan and Andi from Mouse on Mars who constantly spread their never ending wisdom of sound knowledge and artistic wizardry. Furthermore we could convince the Initiative Musik (german governmental arts funding) to support the album.
The third party is the publishing house Oh My Music! which help getting the paperwork together. Invaluable!
Lecture at NYU Berlin
Another big news is my lecture “Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies“ which I will hold for the first time at the NYU Berlin , starting this semester. I am very much looking forward to spread more knowledge and work with young promising artists.
A new Interactive Installation
Starting mid-September I am finally working on a new interactive installation. The installation “Soft Manipulator” will be displayed for several weeks at the Kustodie Gallery Dresden. This interactive Installation features several robots which can be used to manipulate the sound of everyday items and small instruments – by the audience.
Thats it for now!
Good news! We are now part of the “38. Förderrunde” of the Initiative Musik funding. The Initiative Musik is a german governmental arts fund which supports artists and musicians. They support us with our debut record which will be the first full-blown robotic techno record. We are so excited! Champagne time!
You can read their press statement here
Musician and Media-Artists Robert Lippok build his new Installation “What is dance?” using some of our robots. Check it out Friday, 12.05.2017 in Berlin.
13.05. — 28.05.2017
Eröffnung: Freitag, 12.05.2017 um 19 Uhr
Live-Peformance und Künstlergespräch: Freitag, 19.05.2017 um 20 Uhr
Robert Lippok ist vor allem als Protagonist neuer elektronischer Musik bekannt geworden, u.a. mit den beiden Formationen »Ornament und Verbrechen« und »to rococo rot«. Zu seinen Werken gehören jedoch auch soundbasierte Installationen, in denen er Elemente aus dem Kunst-, Musik-, Theater-, Radio- und Filmbereich zusammenführt, sowie Bühnenbilder und Objekte. Bereits 1989 arrangierte er für die Galerie Wohnmaschine Berlin selbstgefertigte mechanische Spielwerke, Tonbandschleifen, Elektromotoren und eine Klaviertastatur zu einer spielbaren Rauminstallation. Vor einigen Jahren lernte Lippok das Werk des amerikanischen Klangkünstlers Joe Jones kennen, dessen »Music Machines« seither einen nachhaltigen Einfluss bilden, auch für die Entwicklung des Instrumentariums für seine neue Klanginstallation »What is Dance?«. Die Installation, die aus einem Arrangement mechanisch bespielter Klangobjekte und einem Lautsprechersystem im Raum besteht, interpretiert drei Tänze des englischen Komponisten Henry Purcell aus dessen Oper „The Fairy Queen“.