Lexachast, a collaboration between PAN label founder Bill Kouligas, futuristic sound design duo Amnesia Scanner and Dutch designer Harm van den Dorpel, will appear two evenings in a row for the CTM/transmediale collaborative performances at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
The project, which started as a website and was subsequently expanded into a live audiovisual performance, combines van den Dorpel’s generative, live-streaming visuals with mangled, dystopian music by Bill Kouligas and Amnesia Scanner. The visuals use algorithms to filter NSFW content from across the widest reaches of the internet: "wading birds, lads in Less Than Jake t-shirts"...and "become terrifying in the dislocated meaninglessness" (The Guardian). The images are selected randomly and appear as surprises to even the performers, thus referencing our culpability and vulnerability at the feet of the internet’s all-encompassing, hyper-real overkill of material and instilling a sense of the paranoia and fear that come as repercussions of agency and exposure.
The music further accentuates the anxiety that is the very breath of the internet’s post-truthisms, doing its part to sonically evoke ‘fictional’ alternatives to an already slippery reality. The 15-minute track opens with contorted vocal rubble from Amnesia Scanner’s savvy, symbol-laden spoken word collage, When Angels Rig Hook, and continues with dramatic sound design wrath in hi-def that re-exposes Kouligas’s taste for sculptural, malleable and immersive aural experiences. Tiny Mixtapes writes, "repetitive and meditative yet fueled by our times’ cybernetic zeitgeist and desire for severity,"…"the apparatus devastates enough to teleologically pull the piece toward negative implosion or illumination, a momentum nipped off suddenly during its final, 'Ligeti-trance' climax...to use DeForrest Brown Jr.’s algorithm: 'chatter as shroud + anxiety amid receding horizon = negative potential.'"
Harm Van den Dorpel’s body of work at large, which encompasses "algorithmic studios" or websites and multimedia pieces, is concerned with investigating the power of pre-programmed processes to sort through and analyze digital archives and take initiative in decision making. The creations that result are fused with equal parts human and machine influence.