Delighted to learn that the film version of Bloodlines will be featured in the Fabrica Vitae touring exhibition.
Fabrica Vitae is inspired by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) and explores art and anatomy through the work of contemporary artists, scientists and thinkers. It will feature work from artists and scientists who are working together to re-imagine and extend the understanding of the human body.
More details will be available after Feb. 27th on www.fabrica-vitae.com.
The first Fabrica Vitae exhibition will take place in Zakynthos, Greece in May 2014.
Announcing a 2-day symposium (November 15-16 2013 at University of Notre Dame in Central London) examining the process, philosophy and products of collaborations between scientists, musicians and performing artists. It’s hosted and organised by me and my sister Dr. Alex Mermikides, and is an output of the Chimera Network – and AHRC-supported project promoting Art/Sci research.
Bloodlines is a performance that traces the microscopic drama that plays out between a serious disease and medical treatment in the human body. It draws on its makers’ personal experience of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (which I developed in 2004) and its treatment through intensive chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant (donated by his sister Alex Mermikides, who is directing the performance). Also collaborating in the performance is Ann Van de Velde, a clinical haematologist involved in the care and treatment of blood disorders such as Leukaemia, and Anna Tanczos, a digital artist specialising in science communication.
‘…is the human body a soul-less, self-less object at the mercy of automatic internal processes…or is it a precious vessel containing a unique individual…?’
Sian Ede Art & Science. London and New York: Taurus Books, 2010. p.145
Bloodlines premiered at the Dana Centre on 18 July 2013. Future performances will be announced on the Events page.
On the 14th October 2013, I’ll be joining the eminent musician and fellow Wodehouse character Peter Gregson at the Luton Music Club to max out on Minimalism. Details to follow, but on the programme is Terry Riley’s seminal work In C in all its heterophonic and generative gorgeousness.
Rather than play it (on my guitar) traditionally with the ensemble, I thought it fun (and more interesting) to use Ableton Live (and Push) to rebuild it so it ran generatively. I’ve done a very simple version which adopt most of the instructions, any errors kindly forgive me and my future generations.
Here’s a screenshot of the resultant tapestry:
And here’s the WIP for your to download in the spirit of musical democracy.
Hit scene 1 and they’ll tumble through, I’ve weighted the follow actions to have on average more repeats on shorter phrases which makes sense musically. You can intervene, urging on any stragglers and holding back any clips forging too far ahead. Actually I may need to consult a statistician as the deviation in fall rates seems (in my fallible intuition) to suggest something’s a bit skewy with the randomising process. But oh well, the variation in performances is intriguing (I’m on listen number 6 and still very happy). You can of course ride volumes, edit instruments and send out effects to your ears’ content. You can always set clip 53 to – rather than stop – return to clip 1 so the piece lasts forever, with clips lapping each other – adding another dimension to the work. If Follow Actions in Live were more sophisticated or I had time to render in Max the clips could behave more intelligently by grouping together, dropping out and changing velocity more responsively as per score instructions, but it actually works quite beautifully as is, which is a testament to the power of Riley’s concept.
Incidentally if you’d like to tweak the ‘fall rate’ – and hence the resulting approximate duration – change this number on the clips (you can select multiple), but remember that you may want longer clips with lower numbers. Again I wish there was more sophistication with follow actions, which would also allow the pulse to stop after all other clips are finished, but I await Ableton Live 1011 17
Thanks to user Jeepee on the Ableton forum, whose patch I discovered when googling this idea, I’ve kept many of Jeepee’s clips as I like how he/she played them, but am also thinking of doing it PROPERLY in Max and crowdsourcing midi and audio clips from the interwebs when the Earth slows and there’s enough hours in the day for such mischief.
For those sensible people not in to Ableton or this sort of thing, you can hear a rendered version from this patch here:
(If that doesn’t buffer or you are a suffering iPad browser) -> In C Live
The Dana Centre and d.café are licensed premises open only to those aged 18 or over. Most events are free. Arrive early to enjoy a wide variety of delicious food and drink in our air-conditioned d.café.
Thursday 18 July 2013
19:00 – 21:00
Diagnosed with Leukaemia, John was given hours to live – but survived thanks to a bone marrow donation. How can ethically sourced stem cells save lives? Experience an immersive and exploratory performance created by a survivor and his donor.
John’s disease, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, is ‘a deadly disease for which the best available therapy is only applicable to a fraction of patients and is itself potentially lethal’ (Dr Adele K. Fielding, Haematologist UCL). That therapy – a transplant of blood stem cells – is both potentially lethal and life saving. It is also miraculous, mysterious and slightly macabre.
Bloodlines conveys the science and the experience of this last chance treatment in a performance featuring a haematologist, a musical score created from blood cell counts, kaleidoscopic visual effects and dance. Join us in the Dana Cafe after the performance for a discussion with the makers: learn more about stem cells and becoming a donor and about this collaboration between artists and medical scientists.
Alex Mermikides: stem cell donor and direction
Milton Mermikides: leukaemia survivor and music
Ann Van de Velde: haematologist and performer
Anna Tanczos: videoscape
Adam Kirkham: dance
Bex Law: dramaturgy
More details about Bloodlines can be found here. This event is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Out of nowhere (well somewhere obviously) I’ve been asked to step in the guitar shoes with The Spike Orchestra. I’ve not heard of these people before, but I’m glad I have a quick listen reveals a sophisticated, witty, complex and satisfying original blend of Naked City, cartoon composer Carl Stalling, Kenny Wheelery contemporary jazz, rock and something unnameable. My first concert with them will be Sept 13th 2013 at the Forge, Kingston and I can’t wait to get stuck into/get roasted by the spaghetti charts.
It’s a real pleasure to be Alexia Coley‘s guitarist. She has the most wonderful and authentic blues soul voice. After her fresh signing, there’s a slew of gigs coming up including a monthly residency at the luxurious Paradise Club Next Gig: 3rd May.
“If Otis Redding had a child with Sade, Amy Winehouse and Etta James, She might sound something like this.”says Mike Benhaim of Metro Canada with no respect for current fertility technologies.
I’ll be performing live electronics with the 18-piece ensemble, for Brett Dean’s fabulous Carlo. Which interweaves multiple fragments of renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo’s vocal works (of which I am great admirer) among the live orchestral passages. Originally written for sampler and CD, I’m reworking the electronics for Ableton Live to be triggered via Launchpad (assuming my Push won’t reach me by then). It’s quite a tricky score and electronic fiddle but potentially very powerful.
We’ll be performing in the incredible Exhibition Hall of London’s Australia House (which you may recognise as Gringott’s Wizarding Bank).Ticketing info here. Magic.
Presenting at the Neuroscience of Imagination event at the British Library alongside Blind Summit Theatre, Pulitzer-nominated author Arthur I. Miller, Professor of neuroscience Vincent Walsh and Chiara Ambrosio was a real joy. You can hear my talk on the Myth of the Muse (essentially how composers and improvisers come up with stuff) in the video below.
Here’s a video of the presentation at the British Library on March 12th 2012. In preparation for the lecture I was put in an MRI machine with a plastic fretboard (aka ruler) and improvised while UCL neuroscientist Dr. Joern Diedrichsen examined my brain’s working. For the event I performed to a video of my brain activity showing what bits lit up (technical) during improvisation.
…I mean Happy New Year. Hope you all had good ones. I indeed had a good one despite some health hiccups (Infection then a weird allergic reaction that made my top lip swell up so that I looked like Mick Jagger from the mouth up) Spent Christmas in the Lake District with the inlaws. Twas fun. Pics to follow.
I have been silly busy and it’s getting worse. Preparing for concerts Click for a new EGO concert and my trio Rat Park’s first BIG gig, as well as some other things I’m up to. Collaborating with Brian Eno to create music for Koshino’s Tokyo Fashion show, some classical recording, sessions, concerts yadayada. All good stuff. Bridget is in this month’s Guitar Techniques Magazine performing ‘Recuerdos de la Alhambra’ on the included DVD- it’s amazing, check it out if you like (you can find it in WHSmiths)
Bridge and I have some good stuff planned for 2007, I will keep you all in the proverbial loop. I have a new promo site for my music if you want to read my happenings in more detail
Anyway I have to sleep, but I wish you all the best 2007 you could ever have.
Spent a glorious Sunday, photographing Bridget’s awesome new (all-girl) Blues band, Rogue Dolls. They are all really talented and I look forward to when they are out gigging. Ruth is an awesome keyboardist, saxophonist and singer. Daisy may we be one of the best drummers I have ever met. Katya is the songwriter, singer and performer. You all know the guitarist Bridget. Belle, the bass player also happens to be a world-class beat-box artist. You must check out the impromptu performance she did for me here – It is unbelievable.
How good was it? If you had the misfortune of not being there, I’m sorry to say you really missed out – come to the next one! All the players had a marvellous time, If the audience enjoyed it half as much as we did, then it was a truly great show.
Everything that could have gone wrong before the concert, did: I had to reprint 145 programmes because of a serious error, despite specific instructions the hall was literally FREEZING on the day- MASSIVELY compromising the rehearsals and physical preparation for the show (the classical guitarists suffered terribly from frozen fingers and performed formidably in the face of adversity)- noisy industrial heaters were brought in hours later-but the damage was done. Thanks Venezuela! May I remind you that this country is bloody freezing in January!
Oh yes and the car got towed while we were unloading gear. BAR STAR DOZE. But despite everything the gig was really great, I will be updating the pictures very soon.
While the show was just storming on, my great friend Steve Goss said to me “You realize that this is tomorrow’s nostalgia?” Nicely put.
My profoundest thanks to all the wonderful guitarists: Bridget, Steve Goss, Gary Ryan, Graham Roberts, Tristan Seume, Pete Callard, Chris Montague and… John Williams
Huge gratitude to all the audience and everyone else who supported the event.
If I had to choose between never having leukaemia or having battled leukaemia and getting the opportunity to have life experiences like this one – it would be a no-brainer 🙂
Were you at the concert? Did you take any pics or movies? If so please contact me. I’d love to see them.
If you are interested in attending future events, stay tuned…