Pecha Kucha 20 mei 2008, at Imal Brussels.

Logos Foundation

A twenty slide presentation in the 20x20 format with twenty-second comments by Godfried-Willem Raes

The slides can be enlarged by clicking on them (they open in a new window).

1. Logos took off in 1968 in Ghent... A quite unique center for new music and experiment runned by artists. In 2008 Logos will feast its 40th anniversary. This will at the same time be the occasion for the inauguration of its newly renovated stainless steel building, located at Bomastraat 26-28 in Ghent.
2. Inside the building we find the famous Logos Tetrahedron: a space with ideal acoustics specialy build for new music performances. On the picture we see the rooftop as seen from the inside. The space seats maximum 150 people. Weekly concerts devoted to new musics take place inside.
3. This performance space with its characteristic 60 degrees angles, was used extensively to develop my full-evening music theatre compositions 'A Book of Moves' and 'Songbook' , both completely performed on my sonar based invisible instrument. This pioneering work in fully wireless gesture control placed Logos on the map of the most advanced centers for music technology in the world.
4. One of the early versions of this instrument -using analog computing electronics- was used for my 'Holosound' production -here seen in a performance in the townhall of Arnhem- wherewith the Logos Duo (myself and Moniek Darge) have toured all over the world. The explosives required in the performace were always carried on board of airplanes...
5. In the last fifteen years, at the Logos Foundation, we have constructed and developed mostly what became the world's largest robot orchestra. The laptop server is setup in the very corner of the tetrahedron hall. Many composers come to Logos to develop new pieces for this orchestra.
6. The orchestra nowadays in composed of 40 robots and has grown so large that it is impossible to fit it onto a single picture. Here we see part of the left side of the stage, with a first group of some 10 robots: organs, bell-machines, a double string hurdy-gurdy, the player piano, a vibraphone, an accordeon and a sousaphone.
7. The right side is also fully populated with these sofisticated automates that have a complete set of expressive possibilities surpassing human possibilities. Here we see an anklung, a reed organ, stainless steel bells, percussion and a few more organ modules...
8. The player piano, a Vorsetzer, is one of the key robots in the orchestra. It has full 88 note polyphony, 16 bit velocity control and a very sensitive pedalling mechanism. It can play all music composed by Conlon Nancarrow..., but of course, much more than that. Its possibilities surpass easily those of any existing commercial design (Yamaha, Ampico, Boesendorf, Marantz...)
9. Percussion robots also have a prominent place in the M&M orchestra. Each drum has a set of different beaters, such that both fast repetition and timbral changes and nuance become possible. All robots are exhaustively documented on an individual web page. All design elements are placed in the public domain. This way machines can always get better, humans never improve.
10.

The snare drum, one of my smallest robots, has no less than 16 beaters, as well as rimshots and precize controll over the resonator strings attached to the lower skin.

Even the lights -a visual feature added to most of the robots- can be computer controlled.

11.

All robots are designed as naked as possible, such that not a single element of their operating principles is obscured nor hidden in boxes and/or behind decorative elements. <Springers> is one of the largest robots: it is 6 meter high and consists of five separate modules.

<Springers> can also be set up as an interactive audio art installation piece.

12. The <Puff> robot is tuned in quartertones and all pipes have an individual bellow made of pyrex glass and driven by a heavy duty push type solenoid. It looks somewhat like an organ, but it is incapable of producing sustained notes. It's like a percussive wind instrument.
13. <Qt> is a large scale quartertone organ produced in part as a research project for the University College in Ghent where I teach composition and where I am employed as a full time researcher.
14.

The latest robot is <Korn>: an automated cornet that can physically move both horizontally and vertically. It is the first robot with gestural output of my design. For the first time gestural input can generate gestural output...

As is the case for all robots, all sound production is pure acoustic and no electronic amplification is used.

15. All robots together make up the M&M orchestra. This orchestra can play in full interaction with human musicians equiped with either traditional instruments or a very wide variety of sensing devices developed in the Logos Labs.
16. We already mentioned that our sonar based invisible instrument, first invented and developed some 30 years ago, is used to capture body movement and gesture. But, also pyrodetection based sensors are researched. This sensor is only sensitive to movement of human bodies, cancelling out moving objects and visual context. It works on heat radiation with 10 micrometer wavelength.
17. This sensor device uses both microwave based radar devices (2.8 GHz) as pulsed sonar ranging technology (on 200kHz). It has a resolution of better than 10mm over a range of 10 meters. It can easily detect position, size of moving body surface, movement speed and angle.
18. All gesture and body sensing devices are used together in my -in the works- opera production 'TechnoFaustus', wherefore the entire cast has to be naked, since all robots are controlled by human expressive movement and since the devices work on the principle of Doppler shift caused by reflection from the body. Performers need both professional dance as well as musical skills. One a my favorite dancers, Emilie De Vlam, is seen here performing 'Wandern'.
19.

'Tekne' is one of the acts in Technofaustus, where Mefisto -the utmost rational character in the drama- performs a triumphing dance, here performed by myself using 4 radar sensing devices and the entire robot orchestra.

The robot orchestra presents every month a new concert production in the Logos tetrahedron. Many young composers and performers are each time involved. Details can be found on our extensive website.

20.

The robots can also be taken out for a walk into public spaces... This is my <Vacca> robot playing in a public park during the Ghent Feasts.

In fact, we try to get the entire orchestra on the move more often, but performing chances in Europe seem to be pretty scarce. Logos does not have a lobbying force nor even a minimal PR department...