29 September | 10:00 - 30 September | 14:00

Good Vibrations by Andrey Smirnov

Please note: Participants should bring their own materials and antennas to experiment with

musical applications of eavesdropping techniques or back to Sound/Light Alchemy

This intensive workshop offers hands-on introduction to the favorite Leon Theremin's idea of monitoring of very small variations of the specific parameters of the physical objects. In the lectures, which accompany a workshop, Andrei Smirnov introduce different researches into small scale vibrations of objects using laser monitoring systems, thermo-delays, interferometers, and other sensors for measuring and monitoring variations of sound waves, light beams, temperature, air flows, mechanical vibrations. 

this workshop is part of Sonic Vibration series curated by Alfredo Ciannameo with the kind support of Musikfonds & Re-Imagine Europe project (funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union).

Those techniques can be used to create sound from wind and air flow, flame, water, body movement and gesture, light, paper, wax, clay, graphics and painting, electromagnetic fields, space radiation etc., to produce unusual feedbacks, cross-media interferences and interactions, which can be used in musical composition, performance and installations.

In the practical part of the workshop Andrei Smirnov will introduce his laser monitoring system, based on the same principle as the famous "Buran" eavesdropping system, developed by Leon Theremin in 1945 for KGB. He has used a radio-location system based on directed microwave radiation for monitoring the hidden acoustical vibrations of windows. The same principle is realized by means of the recent laser technology.

As a result, we can monitor and listen to inaudible vibrations in all kinds of reflecting media: membranes, liquids, solid objects, the water surface, bubbles, plastic bags, piano decks, wine glasses etc. to produce unusual feedbacks, cross-media interferences and interactions. It's a kind of sound/light alchemy, a play with materials and chemical processes.

The workshop is oriented on sound artists and media artists as well as composers and musicians, involved in contemporary music, having particular interest in sound art, musical technology and history.

The lectures, which accompany a workshop, have a very condensed historical content, mostly related to almost forgotten historical facts. During the workshop participants will develop and realize their ideas regarding all sorts of membrains and reflecting medias which could be useful.

Participants will learn:

  • the concept of Hidden Sound
  • phisical nature of processes which could carry useful vibrations
  • how to detect and mesure them
  • what information could we get and how to deal with it
  • historical overview of different aproaches and applications
  • phisical and technical details regarding the monitoring of the small vibrations
  • basic principles of operation and construction of the laser monitoring systems
  • art and music applications of laser monitoring systems
  • possibilities to produce unusual feedbacks and interferences
  • ways to integrate them in musical performance, dance, video, sound and art installations
  • how to perform on it? practical result oriented training.

Schedule Day#1 Kick off. Participants will learn and try some basic features of the system, based on reflecting objects, already prepaired by instructor.

  • 10:00 - 11:00 - Kick off: theoretical introduction: history, aesthetics, technology
  • 11:00 - 12:00 - questions/coffee break
  • 12:00 - 14:00 - workshop

Schedule Day#2 Participants bring their own objects to experiment with.

  • 10:00 - 11:00 - Theoretical Introduction: history, aesthetics, technology
  • 11:00 - 12:00 - questions/coffee break
  • 12:00 - 14:00 - workshop (Participants should bring their own materials and antennas to experiment with)

about the workshop holder

Andrey Smirnov is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, collector, writer, composer. He is a researcher and senior lecturer at the Centre for Electroacoustic Music at Moscow State Conservatory, and a lecturer at the Rodchenko School for Modern Photography and Multimedia where he teaches courses on history and aesthetics of electroacoustic music, sound design and composition, new musical interfaces and physical computing. In 1992-2012 he was the founding director of the Theremin Center in Moscow. He has conducted numerous workshops and master classes in the U.S., Europe and Russia, and participated in various festivals and conferences. Since 1976 he conducts research on the development of electronic music techniques and gestural interfaces. His collection of the historical documents and original electronic musical instruments has been combined with extensive research into the history of music technology with broad experience in composition, interactive performance and curatorial activities. He is the author of the book Sound In Z: Experiments In Sound and Electronic Music in Early 20th Century Russia (2013).