Marije Baalman curates The Evening Of The Hands
Shaping sound with your hands is the main concept that led pioneering artist Michel Waisvisz to create The Hands in 1984 at STEIM. With these two hand-held objects full of sensors designed exactly for his hands, he was able to control synthesizers and live sampling software in an expressive way. Through his year-long practice in performing with these, he became an exemplary virtuosic performer with a digital musical instrument. Today, his practice still inspires many artists and musicians that similarly have made it their practice to perform by capturing their gestures with sensors and manipulating the sound of their voice.
What was complex and unexplored territory back in 1984 and mostly inaccessible to artists due to lack of technical expertise and financial means, is now – almost 40 years later – accessible in terms of available and affordable technology. The art of using these technologies in a meaningful way however, is still something that requires creativity, dedication and practice – this is where the pioneering work of Waisvisz is still a source of inspiration.
On September 14, we will look at artistic work of Michel Waisvisz that he composed and performed for The Hands and take you on a tour inside The Hands to understand the intricacies of their working.
Vocal performers Franziska Baumann and Alex Nowitz have both created instruments at STEIM that were inspired by The Hands, and they will perform with their idiosyncratic instruments that give them gestural control over their voice. In between the performances, we will jointly discuss how their approach is inspired by, yet also different from Michel Waisvisz’ approach.
Sanneke Huisman, curator of the Digital Care project and the exhibition REBOOT: Pioneering Digital Art will introduce the evening. The historical introduction on Waisvisz’ work will be presented by Andi Otto, who worked through the STEIM archives and the Waisvisz’ archives between 2007 and 2013, resulting in his thesis “Dutch Touch”, and Marije Baalman will present a look inside the Hands and how the Hands influenced other artists and instruments.
The event is commissioned by LI-MA and V2, and presented by V2_ in collaboration with LI-MA. The evening is curated by Marije Baalman.