PIERRE BASTIEN | France
French composer and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Bastien built his first musical machinery in 1977, constantly developing his mechanical orchestra ever since. Through solo performances, sound installations, recordings and collaborations with such artists as Pierrick Sorin, Karel Doing, Jean Weinfeld, Robert Wyatt or Issey Miyake, Bastien explores “a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music.” - Michel F. Côté
He created - and literally built - his own orchestra called Mecanium: an ensemble of musical automatons constructed from meccano parts and activated by electro-motors, that are playing on acoustic instruments from all over the world.
"Pierre Bastien uses several tiny cameras to project his Meccano-driven contraptions onto a large screen. Although we can see little wheels depressing organ keys, on the screen it seems we are in some giant factory, where machines of unguessable size perform cumbersome operations to pluck at hawsers or vibrate great flapping sheets - in reality rubber bands and strips of paper. Bastien's non-synched looping machines naturally have non-human quality, like an off-kilter African drum ensemble, and this strangeness is further magnified by his carefully layered visual projections. Over the top he plays pocket trumpet phrases drawn from the earliest days of jazz, as if King Oliver is muttering in his ear. But the trumpet is often masked: somehow it plays a baseline like a tuba, or else the mute is jammed into a beaker of bubbling water. On the screen the monochrome Fritz Lang world of relentless Meccano is invaded by a beautiful fountain of blue bubbles. Like a blend of Philip Jeck's heartbreaking turntables and Max Eastley's lost-in-space musical sculptures, Bastien has created an elegant display of genuine musical surrealism. He has been refining his approach for over two decades - ten years ago Aphex Twin released Mecanoid on his Rephlex label, and this show made it clear why Richard D James was so mesmerized. Bastien wound down his mechanical mysteries after 45 minutes, but I could have happily watched for hours." - Clive Bell, The Wire
KAREL DOING | Netherlands
Karel Doing built a number of optical toys, in order to create a hypnotic environment in which the viewer is immersed. His installation uses visual feedback that make seemingly insignificant objects expand into a dynamic, pulsating architecture.
The films, performances and installations of Karel Doing deal with elusive subjects such as music, rhythm, poetry, death, history and memory. He works together with composers, musicians, performers, and dancers. His films relate to the experimental film tradition and beyond. He combines documentary techniques, found footage and visual storytelling resulting in a style of his own.
LOUISE CURHAM | Australia
Louise Curham is a filmmaker and visual artist working predominantly with found and obsolete moving image materials. Curham’s work addresses the givens of cinema – specifically its stoically fixed relationships between projection / audience / image - tearing these ‘morals’ away strip by frame.
Louise is most well known for her hand-processed films that are characteristically bold, interrogative and poetic spanning film performance, installation and experimental film. Curham is well recognized within the Australian improvised music community for her contribution of performances at the key events such as the NowNow Festival of Spontaneous Music and OtherFilm, and her work in creating contemporary dance film. Curham has performed and exhibited for SoundOut Festival, Canberra, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Jazz Visions Festival, Sound Lounge, Sydney, Smack Bang Festival, Sydney, NZ International Film Festival & NZ Film Archive, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Victorian Arts Centre, OtherFilm, Brisbane, and the NowNow, Sydney. With Lucas Ihlein, Curham runs Teaching and Learning Cinema, a participatory monstrous film bee with the capacity to cover whole congregations in film developer and coloured ink, pinned on an interested in pedagogical learning models and expanded cinema reenactments.
Alison Blunt is a leading figure within the London improvised music community performing solo and contributing to countless groups including Barrel, Lode, Hanam, Burning Wood and the London Improvisers Orchestra. Blunt’s fascination with sound, motion and space has lead her to international solo and collaborative projects exploring the boundaries between art forms and genres and creating, continuously performing and recording new music.
Blunt’s activities range from commissions for film, theatre and contemporary dance productions, to arranging and recording children’s albums, from performances with interdisciplinary ensembles to touring Early Childhood musical storytelling performances, from gigging with rock bands to gigging with world folk music artists.
“Blunt’s playing is unique. Eery gut-ripping rattles and chokes form hell are interrupted by ringing notes of heavenly hope. I have never heard anything like it..” - Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express
Unconscious Archives is co-curated by James Holcombe and Sally Golding.
Tickets now available for
UNCONSCIOUS ARCHIVES #8 - PIERRE BASTIEN (FR) / KAREL DOING (NL) / LOUISE CURHAM (AU)