@ Todays Art Festival 2018
I have been in contact with Olof van Winden and Remco Schuurbiers for a while trying to get cellF to perform in Todays Art festival. I was very happy to hear that they managed to get an Australia Council for the Art grant in 2018 that helped stage cellF in the 2018 festival.
The process wasn’t easy because of the strict GMO rules in the Netherlands. After months of negotiations and applications we were told that the Gene Technology office rejected our applications and that we cant take my ‘external brain’ (cellF’s neural network that is made of genetic modified cells) out of the lab for the performance.
So the solution was to use non GMO cells, primary tissue, Neural stem cells I purchased from Thermo Fisher and use them for cellF. It was the first time I used cells other then my own… strange feeling. It was as if a cover band was playing or perhaps a cellF impersonator
I can confidently say that it was the first time in history that a musician was refused entry to a country on grounds of GMO.
However, the cells performed and we had 2 great performances:
cellF played with Jaap Blonk and Han Bennink. 2 legendary musicians. It was quite incredible !
Images from Todays Art Festival
Jaap Blonk (born 1953, Woerden) is a Dutch avant-garde composer and performance artist. Blonk is primarily self-taught both as a sound artist and as a visual/stage performer. He studied physics, mathematics, and musicology for a time, but did not complete his studies. One of his early influences was Kurt Schwitters, whose Ursonate he first heard in 1979; he memorized the entire work, and it became one of the cornerstones of his repertory; he has recited portions of the piece hundreds of times in various public places. His compositions and performances are examples of sound poetry, making use of words and phonetic snippets as well as clicks, hisses, and other vocal manipulations. He works as a solo performer, in collaboration with avant-garde musicians such as John Tchicai, Tristan Honsiger, and Mats Gustafsson, and with his own ensembles Splinks and BRAAXTAAL. His live performances involve humor and improvisation, and are occasionally received poorly by audiences, as when he was booked as an opener for punk rock band The Stranglers early in the 1980s.
Han Bennink (born 17 April 1942) is a Dutch jazz drummer and percussionist. On occasion his recordings have featured him playing clarinet, violin, banjo and piano. Though perhaps best known as one of the pivotal figures in early European free jazz and free improvisation, Bennink has worked in essentially every school of jazz, and is described by critic Chris Kelsey as “one of the unfortunately rare musicians whose abilities and interests span jazz’s entire spectrum.” Known for often injecting slapstick and absurdist humor into his performances, Bennink has had especially fruitful long-term partnerships with pianist Misha Mengelberg and saxophonist Peter Brötzmann.