by Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut, and Forma
In 1562, Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder completed a painting called "The Triumph Of Death". In this panoramic landscape the sky is blotted out by black smoke; ships and dead fish litter the ocean shore; and an army of skeletons experiment with myriad death techniques. The living are badly outnumbered and the variety of fated tortures seems endless. There is little room for whimsy in this tableaux.
Over 200 years earlier, a nasty plague, commonly known as "The Black Death", left a cruel and massive mark on European civilization, wiping out half of Europe’s total population. This was a quiet pervasion of death - an invisible pathogen carried by herds of tired rats. This plague triggered a series of social and economic upheavals with profound effects on the history of medieval Europe, guiding its survivors into the sort of self-inflicted darkness pictured by the Elder Bruegel.
Looking back at this historical trajectory, Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut, and Forma have created a spiraling interdimensional narrative aptly titled DESCENT - a meditation on one of humanity’s blackest hours. Taking the form of a desktop application, descent.exe gives the user a brief glimpse of a world descending into darkness - an unrelenting plague indifferent to the struggles of the user. There is a silver lining, however, tucked into the software’s final sweep. An equanimous watcher, reduced to a single eye, looks on as the plague of rats that has infested your desktop destroys itself.
This video is a recording of descent.exe running alongside Fingerhut's deepdesktop.exe.
I contributed a collaboration with Christina Vantzou to this benefit compilation put together by Keith Kenneth (Helios) and his wife Hollie. Other contributors include Ryuchi Sakamoto, Loscil, Windy and Carl, Jefre-Cantu Ledesma, Liz Harris, Deru and so many more. 100% of proceeds go to non-profits that support the environment, investigative journalism, women and minorities. Digital available for preorder now, vinyl and CD coming soon via Western Vinyl.
Pattern Language, for which I composed two movements of music for synthesizers as well as leading sound design, premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam this year.
'Pattern language' is a term coined by architect Christopher Alexander to describe the existence of certain human ambitions through an index of structural patterns. In this film, highly organised and richly layered patterns move in accordance with audio frequencies and rhythms, towards the construction of an endlessly mutating labyrinth.
Spent a few hours playing records on the Lot Radio the other day with Nina and Christina, starting about hour into this fine mix.
This November, Forma does a run of North American tour dates with our fellow Kranky artist Steve Hauschildt.
Two nights of Kranky artists, including Forma, this November at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan.
PATTERN LANGUAGE | by Peter Burr | September 2016
3-Legged Dog Production / Creative Capital Award Sundance Story Lab
With Mark Fingerhut, Brenna Murphy, and Porpentine
Music and Sound Design by John Also Bennett
“Pattern Language” is a term coined by architect Christopher Alexander describing the aliveness of certain human ambitions through an index of structural patterns. Some advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems. In this installation, Peter Burr employs the vocabulary of Alexander’s system towards the construction of an endlessly mutating death labyrinth, projecting this world inside an immersive multi-channel video environment.
forma - physicalist from ‘physicalist’, out september 23rd 2016 on kranky ltd
forma - improvisation for flute and piano
from ‘physicalist’, out september 23rd 2016 on kranky ltd
video: john also bennett
for looping installation along side two to three pulse laser holograms
filmed in brussels, belgium with a phantom high-speed camera
Some very nice gifs from Cave Exits, which features original John Also Bennett music and sound design.
Video installation by Peter Burr explores high definition low pallette pixel visual distortions in a work inspired by video games (best to watch in highest resolution as possible):
In video games, there is the concept of a dungeon that generates itself: an endlessly mutating death labyrinth. Cave Exits sets this living structure inside a 4-channel video cube. Recalling the way we interact with online media – clicking, zooming, scrolling – it turns the visual archetype of the labyrinth into a circuit board for lost, anxious feelings. From a simple shift in perspective (moving from within the constricted maze-paths to a vantage high above the spatial coil) the claustrophobic corridors become a dazzling pattern of complex artistry. Viewers are unable to process all incoming information in a single sitting, having to choose between screens if they want to sate their curiosity and learn more about the shifting structure. Unlike choosing between branches in an interactive narrative where the peripheral is an explicit set of controls, here the peripheral will be the human neck and eyes, allowing for expression beyond mere hardware.