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23 September

Interview of Joris Strijbos & Daan Johan for Parsec


In a dark space, sixteen sound and luminous robotic arms turn around themselves, by turns in slow motion and then at full speed, composing an hypnotic choreography at the mercy of a strident whirring.

Hello Joris Strijbos & Daan Johan and thank you for your time, 

– You’ve worked together on numerous occasions, how did you two meet? What motivations led you to create installations collaboratively?

We’ve met at the ArtScience Interfaculty, a program between the Arts Academy of The Hague and the Royal Conservatory. From there on we have been working together within the Macular collective. Within the collective we share our interests and research, which form the basis for collaborative projects. 


– The Macular collective’s website states that it functions as a “nomadic lab”. How does the collaboration between members work?

They mostly come natural with the shared interest in certain topics. On other occasions the collaboration is more based on technical skills or specific knowledge which is shared. 


– In your respective artistic approaches, what are the materials and medium you are most interested in?

A lot of the works deal with the idea of an abstract sensorial experience. In most of the projects different senses are stimulated at the same time. The inspiration for this comes from the idea of musical thinking. In most of the works the media is the core of the work, it can be a machinic process or some kind of phenomena. These installations have many variables which we use as tools for composition. 


– Your previous collaborative work, Revolve, is an invitation to play with human perception. How did you create the algorithms used for this purpose? (Revolve)

The algorithms are based on a programmed synthesizer inside the computer. There are multiple algorithms, all of which are based on different starting points. These starting points vary from beating sine waves to simple artificial intelligence. The output from the program is then scaled to the sets of lights. In this way we aim for a visual music performed by the light machine. The system becomes quite unpredictable, which we like since it will surprise us in all sorts of ways. 


– Would you consider Parsec as a development of Revolve? Why did you integrate a “sonic” component, and how exactly does the sound works here?

Parsec is definitely an evolvement of Revolve, but functions in a different way. The heart of the work consists of something we call a swarm synthesizer. 16 hardware modular synthesizers are controlled by a computer program that functions as some sort of genetic pool. Each of the units have a set of code which is then slowly morphing using methods like feedback and imitations. 


– How would you describe the Parsec installation, and why this name? What elements of your works would you like the audience to remember?

I think the work can be seen as an abstract light and sound machine which aim is to give the audience some sort of sensorial experience. In this sense for us it is not a pre-determined idea about how the audience should interpret the work.


– Would you consider Parsec as a technically complex work? How long did it take to “complete” the installation? 

We have been working on the technical installation for about a year. It is a fairly technically complex work if you consider the hundreds of analog outputs the computer is sending out to the swarm synth, motors and lights. Everything is designed and build by us for the purpose of the work. In that sense we see the installation as an instrument which is played by the algorithms we’ve programmed inside it. We like to keep on working on these algorithms to improve the work further and further.  



01:00PM TO 07:00PM

Théâtre du Vieux Saint-Étienne

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