The opening gala featured two special performances, the UK premiere of John Cage’s Variations VII and Yokomono by Staalplaat Soundsystem.
American composer John Cage was a celebrated pioneer of electronic and 'chance’ music. For the opening gala, one of his most famous performances was recreated for the first time in the UK. The original Variations VII took place at 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering in the 69th Regiment Armory in New York, in October 1966. Cage intended the work to transform the building into a broadcast space. AV Festival 08 staged an entirely new version of the work, performed by Atau Tanaka, Matt Wand and :zoviet*france:
Alongside radios and televisions collecting sounds, there were 10 phone lines connected to city locations including a dog pound and the New York Times press room. Other microphones were attached to household appliances such as a juicer and a blender. There were also Geiger counters and short wave radios. Photoelectric cells triggered different sound sources off and on as the performers moved around. The aim, said Cage, was to “go fishing” for sounds.
Staalplaat Soundsystem presented a live performance version of their Yokomono installation at the AV Festival 08 opening gala. Yokomono consists of four toy car record players and a corresponding set of FM radios. The cars, known as vinyl killers, have been customized with wireless FM transmitters. As they spin around the vinyl, they transmit their signal to the radios, which are tuned to a special Yokomono frequency.
Produced by AV Festival 08 in collaboration with BALTIC, in association with the John Cage Trust, Julie Martin/Experiments in Art and Technology and the Daniel Langlois Foundation.