Archive

ECAS Open Call 2014–2015

ecas
I’m happy to report that Theo Cook and I have been awarded the ECAS documentary commission open call for 2014–2015. We’ll be travelling to each of the nine festivals in the ECAS network, filming and recording at each to produce a documentary about the music and sound art festival project as it ends its five year cycle. ECAS (European Cities Of Advanced Sound) is a network of the most forward thinking, independent, non-profit music and sound art festivals in Europe – they are also linked into the ICAS network (International Cities Of Advanced Sound). The work will premiere in Berlin in May 2015.

Part of our proposal said:

Sounds Fragmenting Our Present Tense (working title) is an audiovisual docufiction work looking at and listening to the nine different ECAS festivals. Narrated by a chorus of different voices, female and male, from different nations, ages and historical moments, Present Tense reflects upon the current state of music, national borders and identity – imagining what Europe, and the world, would look and sound like if they were organised using the logic of music…

Full announcement here

Guca Trumpet Festival

Contestants performing as part of the Guca trumpet competition

Contestants performing as part of the Guca trumpet competition

This time last year I was in the mountains of Serbia in the small town of Guca for their annual trumpet festival. Initially Sabor Guca started out as a celebration of folk music and traditions of this part of the Balkans, but has in the last decades turned into a hedonistic carnival, attracting a large amount of Serbians and an international crowd. It still is centered around the competition for top trumpet group in the world, though it’s mainly Serbians who enter the competition – one recent exception was an American group, as documented in the documentary Brasslands.

It is also an interesting meeting place for many of the dynamics that shape current Serbian, and Balkan, society: It is seen as a rare opportunity to let loose in a country that is economically struggling; it is seen as an important, positive part of Serbian national identity, especially after the horrors of the 1990s; there is a large congregation of Roma and Gypsy musicians – widely mariginalised across Europe – many of whom earn a living playing at weddings and other gatherings; it is regularly coopted by politicians seeing popular approval; even the food shows up the rural history of the country: pigs and lambs are roasted at improvised kiosks that pack the streets, plumes of smoke covering the town’s valley, beer as plentiful as the river that runs through the town.

Last year, along with Luka Ivanovic, I interviewed a variety of people involved in the festival – from one of the original founders (it started in the 1950s) through to musicians, people who walked the entirety of the country like pilgrims to the festival or rode there on horseback. Currently the video is in post-production and should be finished by early 2015. Until then, here’s a few select pictures I took there last year.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Crowds make their way through the kiosk lined streets of the small town

Crowds make their way through the kiosk lined streets of the small town


The entire town of Guca is wired up with hundreds of bullhorns that blare out tinny recordings of traditional brass band music, day and night. Mixing with roaming brass bands playing tunes for cash tips, revellers blaring on plastic toy trumpets – the noise is incredible

The entire town of Guca is wired up with hundreds of bullhorns that blare out tinny recordings of traditional brass band music, day and night. Mixing with roaming brass bands playing tunes for cash tips, revellers blaring on plastic toy trumpets – the noise is incredible


Though the main, competition stage gets in a large crowd, one of the greatest attractions here are the roaming musicians who wander about the streets playing for money

Though the main, competition stage gets in a large crowd, one of the greatest attractions here are the roaming musicians who wander about the streets playing for money


To Guca by horse!

To Guca by horse!


A street food seller ready to serve

A street food seller ready to serve


Home made rakija, a plum brandy widely produced at home, for sale on the streets

Home made rakija, a plum brandy widely produced at home, for sale on the streets


Dusk by the river

Dusk by the river


Guca town limits, a reveller arriving for the night

Guca town limits, a reveller arriving for the night


The small streets of Guca are crowded for the entire week, the smoke of the hundreds of grills clouding everything up in a fog

The small streets of Guca are crowded for the entire week, the smoke of the hundreds of grills clouding everything up in a fog


Clay pots of cabbage and pork stew cooks on coal  slowly through the nights

Clay pots of cabbage and pork stew cooks on coal slowly through the nights

The only respite if you don't want meat or the chopped salad covered in goat's cheese, found ubiquitously through the Balkans

The only respite if you don’t want meat or the chopped salad covered in goat’s cheese, found ubiquitously through the Balkans


Crowds at the main, competition stage of the festival

Crowds at the main, competition stage of the festival


Rain!

Rain!


A policeman watches traffic as fireworks signal the end of the main stage competition evening

A policeman watches traffic as fireworks signal the end of the main stage competition evening


Remains of celebrations

Remains of celebrations

Golden Age Problems: Wellbeing in the Entertainment Complex

presscrop2-e1402332813214

This is a show opening that I’ve helped to organise with Auto Italia, please come and visit for the preview on 21 June!

Golden Age Problems is a project by Auto Italia and Nathaniel Budzinski featuring Oreet Ashery, Marleen Boschen, Olivier Castel, Leni Cedric, Benedict Drew, Marianne Forrest, Mette Hammer Juhl + Lorenzo Tebano, Pablo Navarro MacLochlainn, Terence McCormack, Plastique Fantastique, Richard Thomas.

Art institutions sit comfy in the pockets of big corporations, broadcasters continue to sow the image-seeds of a tedious spectacular capitalism and publishers proliferate middlebrow infotainment and zombie-commenters. Compounding the problem, many artists remain enthralled by the mainstream, commercial art world.

As the worlds of art and mass media collide, converge and change, there’s a need to rethink our relationship with the narratives broadcast by these institutions of cultural emission – if they can’t serve us now and for the future, but retrench their ambitions into yesterday’s hallucinations, we must create new options rather than have them created for us. We must create a new world within this world.

Golden Age Problems is an exhibition of images, objects and stages, activated and explored through narrative presentations and a series of performance events. Energy is only ever amassed collectively and so for any real transformation to take place we must not work alone. Soon the Auto Italia space will become a nexus of celebration dispensing with notions of success and failure, providing collaborators with space and time to imagine alternative, independent entertainment formats: anti-genius narratives, anti-talent show, proactive and present.

………………………..

Sunday 22nd June – Sunday 13th July

Opening hours: Wed – Sun: 12-6

Preview: Saturday 21st June, 7-9pm

Admission free.

Events as part of Golden Age Problems: Very Special Episode Saturday, 28th June

Art Monthly June 2014: Letter from Malmö

bridge-1

Letter from Malmö: Nordicness: Nathaniel Budzinski visits the Swedish city that looks southwards

‘Malmö Konstmuseum director Cecilia Widenheim is in charge of keeping an archive of over 40,000 artworks, with a remit to collect Nordic art – an increasingly vague notion in a city like Malmö that has had large waves of immigration from the 1970s onwards, plus, Widenheim says, “maybe to grab the real ‘Nordicness’ you need to go to Berlin”.’

May 2014: Puncturing phantasies: Benedict Drew

2014_02_21-17-CMYK

 “Puncturing fantasies: exhausted images and the ‘me’ generation” is a Focus Interview that I did with artist, musician and video-maker Benedict Drew  in the June 2014 issue of Frieze (link here but it’ll be behind a paywall for a bit)

NB Like the wobbly knees in that introductory video at Matt’s? I thought those were very funny, but also touching.

BD They weren’t necessarily meant to be funny. I mean, they can also be disturbing, or a sign of weakness or sexualized, too. I wanted to show how video can take different body parts and almost tear them from their own bodies. In pornography, it’s not about the body, it’s about parts, and images have been infected by this way of looking. These ideas come from conversations I had with the late artist and writer Ian White; they really stayed with me. I watch a lot of TV, and even cookery programmes use this type of pornographic technique. I’ve spent the last year watching footage demonstrating high quality digital cameras. It’s like these images want you to do something, but at the same time want to act upon you. They want you to get aroused or buy a camera; there’s so many images out there trying to act upon you.

 

Now: March/April 2014

Still from Party For Freedom

Still from Party For Freedom

I’ve got an article based around an interview that I did with the film maker and performance artist Oreet Ashery, available online at The Wire website.

Also, in the new April issue of The Wire, I have an article about the Turkish artist and musician Cevdet Erek, who has a show at Bristol’s Spike Island art centre – and I’ve reviewed the David Risley Gallery show This Is Our Art This Is Our Music in Copenhagen, and its adjoining record shop and label.

Interview with Antony Gormley

Gormley10.1

“Any notion of me or mine is simply an inaccurate reflection of the truth of the fact that we are all part of bigger systems, the truth of which we will never know. The more we know, the more we realise that we don’t know. Which I think reinforces the imperative to experience rather than simply think in language.”

Watch an interview and studio tour I did with the sculptor Antony Gormley, recorded recently at his expansive studio/factory space just north of Kings Cross in London. Made for Louisiana Channel.

Now: December 2013/January 2014

Mayhem
I’ve got a couple articles in the new January 2014 issue of The Wire. First, a short piece centered around the great Mayhem underground music venue in Copenhagen, which includes interviews with Tobias Kirstein and Johs Lund (two of the founders of the space), and Bjarke Svendsen, booker at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse.

Another piece, a review in the same issue, looks at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, known as CPH:DOX. It also has a music strand,  this year included films like Death Metal Angola, Brasslands (a film about the Guca trumpet festival in Serbia), Unplugged (about a village of grass players – yes – once again in Serbia) and many others, alongside live performances by the likes of James Ferraro, Holly Herndon, Dalglish and more. A comprehensive and exciting festival.

Though my favourite film out of the entire festival (mind that I was there for one of its two weeks!) was Hongqui Li’s unsettling and sharp Hooly Bible [correct spelling], a documentary looking at debt collectors and a brothel in China. It makes me want to use descriptives like “unflinching” and “uncompromising” but I won’t. I’ll just quote mark them. Still, it gave me the feeling that I was watching something that I might never forget, a unique feeling. Li calls himself a depressive and some critics have called his work misanthropic, but it really gave me the opposite reaction; that it was direct and accurate, something that is excited and draws strength from what it sees.

Leisure, Discipline & Punishment: Contour Biennial of Moving Image 2013

Josef Dabernig, Excursus on Fitness, 2010, installation view at Contour: 6th Biennial of Moving Image, 2013

Josef Dabernig, Excursus on Fitness, 2010, installation view at Contour: 6th Biennial of Moving Image, 2013

“At the entrance to Contour’s main exhibition space in Mechelen’s Court Of Busleyden sits a monitor looping Harun Farocki’s How To Live In The German Federal Republic (1990). Featuring a series of instructional films dispensing advice on everything from CPR to striptease dancing and crossing the street, it’s an appropriately absurdo-bureaucratic start to Contour: 6th Biennial of Moving Image. Themed ‘Leisure, Discipline and Punishment’, the biennial includes over 20 original commissions and works by 26 artists, asking them to respond to some of Mechelen’s civic institutions (its football stadium, one of the city’s many churches, and its prison) and their symbolic functions.”

I wrote a review of Mechelen, Belgium’s Contour biennial in the new, December issue of Frieze.

The British Library Sound Archive

I just finished editing a video visit to the British Library Sound Archives. I talked to several of the curators and conservators there, recording the digitisation process, and having a tour of the collection that’s held in the extensive underground spaces of the BL. Hopefully it’s an interesting peek into the incredibly diverse collection of sound recordings held by the BL. It’s an amazing resource to have if you live in or near London, especially as access is free (apart from the sometimes daunting task of getting a BL reader card). Here’s the blurb as it is on The Wire site:

The Wire takes a tour of the British Library’s Sound Archive, deep below its London residences on the Euston Road, to talk about sound conservation and take a tour of its collections with some of its key sound curators.

“The 20th century was about audiovisual material, our memory of the 20th century is heavily audiovisual, but our sense of the 21st century is going to be a different kind of audiovisual… archiving is not going to be so much about what we can bring in, but about what to exclude,” says Will Prentice, British Library Audio Engineer and Conservation Specialist.

Nathan Budzinski interviews Popular Music Curator Andy Linehan, Audio Engineer, Conservation specialist Will Prentice, and Wildlife Sounds Curator Cheryl Tipp.