Before CeC 2009
Day 1 ~
Day 2 ~
Day 3 ~
Alright, this one was hell for me, almost all the way through to the actual incident
itself,.. which in turn turned out to be most peculiarly fantastic~:o)!
To begin with, the whole thing took an inordinately long time just getting off the
ground this time.
Whereas our wonderful old host and partner, India International Centre in Delhi (IIC),
had always been marvellous about letting us have the okay for each earlier iteration
promptly after the annual closing and opening of their various books at the end of
each March, this time, they’d asked us to wait all the way through to the end of July for a decision!
And, when that decision did finally come through, it was to the effect that, since
they had entered into a lengthy program of demolition and reconstruction on-campus,
they had decided to opt out of doing any large programs, other than a couple of their
very own of course, for two years.
Fortunately enough though, we’d been focusing upon alternatives to IIC even before IIC
itself came into the picture. In fact, the first CeC & CaC (2006) was originally to be
played out in a place called Sattal Estate, up in the lower Himalaya of Kumaon, before
the IIC option popped up and lured us away, for what were then a lot of very good
And so, it was really just a lazy longing for the easy road of continuum that had us
awaiting the IIC decision in any case.
But, since no laziness can be safely essayed with no bird in hand, we’d sort of potted
a few others as back-up by the time that old end of July eventually rolled into town.
An invitation to migrate the incident into a large educational institution in Delhi was
already onboard. An option to migrate it into an institution in Bengalouroo was looking
good. At least two earlier open invitations from institutions in other cities of India
were still standing. A pretty firm invitation had come in to migrate it to Japan!
An NRI group was pushing for a shift to North East India….
And, we’d of course also roused up that old Sattal Estate idea once again too, and put
everything in place to be able to opt for it almost anytime; not least because it had
once been, and was once again, the ideal first choice before us ~ and that too buttered
up with the handy little convenience that I personally live in my own little homemade
home in the same neighbourhood through a good part of every year.
Which all meant that we were able to flash out an exuberant thumbs-up on the shift up
to Sattal within days of IIC’s decision coming in.
And, meanwhile, research into and outreach to potential participants had been ongoing
on a side-burner in any case, as always.
But, there was to be no running away from the fact that some potential participants
would obviously balk at the idea of doing what we do in the boonies, as opposed to doing
it in the heart of a throbbing metropolitan capital city of a nation made up of some
one-sixth of all humankind.
And yes, just the extra bit of travel time would alone be telling too.
Not surprisingly then, those were pretty tense times for me.
And, not many readers of this report will ever be able to imagine the rise in uncertainty
and tension as ye olde wheel of time then trundled on into the beginnings of a sort of
collapse of the global economy, of all things, within weeks of our announcement.
In fact, as bad biz news began to balloon globally by the day, we came very-very close
to actually calling off the whole thing entirely!
However, with three super annual iterations of the incident already behind us, and pretty
good faith in the madness that we do burgeoning across a disparate global community of
incredible e-Creative people, we eventually decided to take whatever whacks might be
coming our way, on the chin, and just go for it.
And, a damned good thing that we did so too, even if I do say so myself~;o).
Some precious potential participation did of course fall away; some of it on account of
the new location; some on account of just the extra travel time, and; some on account of
innumerable funding-streams drying up all over little Terra as a result of that nasty
old global recession.
But, fabulous new participation and content also came onboard too.
And so, a wee bit of housekeeping was then the first public order of the day.
The old faithful “CaC’ half of the name of the entire incident (The Carnival of
e-Creativity & ‘Change-agents Conclave’) was retired, partly so as to henceforth remain
an exclusive property of those wonderful folks who had seen us through the crucial first
3 annual iterations, and also partly so as to have a simpler name to carry into a new
environment amongst fewer English-speaking people.
But, the basic framework of the incident itself was nonetheless to remain just about the
same, including that intimate insiders meeting that now ‘traditionally’ marked the
beginning of every annual iteration, the morning of every first day, which was precisely
what earlier went by the name of The Change-agents Conclave!
And yes, the whole slog behind it all was about the same as with the earlier iterations
too, almost all the way through to just about a month before the actual incident itself,
when I personally moved up from Delhi to Sattal, so as to begin groundwork, which turned
out to be a lot tougher than it had ever been before.
For starters, whilst we could not have asked for a better partner and host than Vijay
Patni and his crew at the Sattal Estate, as had earlier always been the case with IIC
too, the estate was really a very far cry from the latter in very many ways more than
just the little matter of location.
There was no auditorium or other suitable structure on the estate for the performances
and presentations, other than two chapels and a dining-hall that we could not use for
this, which meant that we had to negotiate to have a large rain-proofed party-tent put
up,…. at about the cost of a full year’s earnings of any strong-arm-lad of the
neighbourhood who just happened to be lucky enough to find paid employment almost
There was disrepair and also various general upgrades to be attended to in several
of the cottages meant for participant accommodation, as well as in Flowermead Cottage
itself, which is where we were to have our screenings and exhibits. There was
landscaping and stonework to be done to set the lay of the land in the space for
presentations and performances, so as to formalize and finish a super earthen stage
out of the given topography of the situation. And, even my own telephone line had to
be diverted a half kilometre up to the cottage too, so as to provide broadband.
But, Vijay and his crew went to work on all of that, with all of proverbial vengeance,
which meant that that was largely off my shoulders. Um, somewhat.
And yes, there was obviously no PA system to be had on the estate either, which means
that we were well on line to hire a local system that may very well have proved to be
disastrous to the whole circus,… before Ashim Ghosh caught on to the risk that we
were running, and very generously offered to bring in his own personal PA system,
mixers, microphones and monitors, all the way up from Delhi for us all. And, he very
kindly offered to also bring in his LCD-beamer too, which was great.
On location too, goodwill and support was flowing in: A second video-beamer came in
from Lillian Wallace, who’d had a long association with Sattal Estate and the Methodist
Church of North India; Shiva Rana inimitably had a power-generator driven over all the
way up from his river-camp near Corbett, for back-up; his young cousin Sameer Rana
teamed up with Sanjay Chatterji to take charge of the screenings segment; my son
Bacchus arranged for almost all of his audio kit to be sent up; Hemu Kanwal brought
in an additional DVD-player; Vijay Patni lent us a monitor and mouse for the Videopatia
exhibit; my man Subhash went through the rigours of binding up the prints from the
retrospective of DSI off ‘The IDEA’; Ashim’s assistant Mangesh Dhaudiyal came up from
Delhi to handle the live-audio; school-kids and others passed out fliers; and,...
Zillions of little things came together in zillions of different ways, with the help of
all sorts of wonderful people, to all of whom we are profoundly grateful.
And so, by the time the first of our participants arrived on the estate, a couple of
days before the actual opening of the incident itself, everything was sort of in place,
even though I was obviously running and flapping about all over the place like a
headless chicken, and the party-tent arrangements were obviously to come up only just
And then, just a day before the incident, when an unrelated issue had me divert myself
for awhile from stapling up posters all over the place, to walk up and visit the main
space that was being prepared for presentations and performances, well, wouldn’t you
know it: the tent-wallah was close to completion of a separate stage-tent and
audience-tent, with a yawning gap of more than 15 feet in between,... instead of the
single articulated structure that he’d actually been provided a floor-plan for!!
Wow! As you can imagine, this was precisely the sort of stuff that has me harbour an
increasingly balding patch up atop me poor ole head!!
Leaving aside the smaller stage-tent, which was ‘just’ 2-3 feet off its mark, what was
more than 15 feet out of place was a precarious amalgam of 16 steel uprights (each
about 10 feet tall) temporarily attached at the top of each, by simple and
untidily-welded steel loops and drop-in sockets, to a grid of some 24 heavy steel
cross-members (each about 15 feet long), with the centre-line hoisted a further
5 feet up via a supplementary set of steel uprights, to support a steel ridge-pole.
And all of that, in turn, was supporting a cast of more than a hundred long bamboo
poles, each easily weighing more than 20 kilograms, and each individually tied to
place atop the steel-superstructure with lengths of coir-rope,… so as to provide
spread and support for, first, a cotton-sheet roof, and then, a massively heavy
And so, to say the very least, there was no question of being able to disassemble
and then re-assemble this giant monkey-puzzle into the right place in time, if
Boy! You had to be there to even begin to believe what we somehow achieved that day,
but suffice to say that we actually moved the entire mad mountain of the
audience-tent a full 15 feet or more,… against which, shifting the 30 feet by 15 feet
stage-tent just 2 feet forward was obviously a ‘relative’ breeze. But yes, lives were
probably put to risk that day, on the back of just desperate prayers that every
single shoddily welded socket and loop in the whole crazy mess would hold up, as we
shifted the entire mass almost the entire distance necessary, bit by excruciating bit.
And yet, nonetheless, having been set up as separate structures, a cussed gap remained
in between the two tents, most precisely positioned so as to stream direct sunlight
onto the stage and the screens, almost all through the day,.. unless it
could somehow be attended to!
But, there was really nothing that we could do about that, other than to demand that the
tent-wallah fix it. And, there was also a long list of other things that he had to fix,
or complete by the next day too, not least amongst which was the dangerously messy
rats-nest that his electricians had been putting together for power.
And yes, with everything set to fly from the next morning, this is when I first really
began to digest whispers that I’d been hearing for some days before then, that new
dates for the local end-year school examinations now straddled our own dates, on
account of a teachers strike a week earlier. And, an astrologically remarkable
propitious period for weddings was also directly clashing with our precious little
As you can imagine ~ Aaargh!
But, almost all of the primary participants were in by now, and there was nothing to
stop us from rolling, as promised, from the very next day, any which way.
Day - 1, CeC 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Day 1 ~
Day 2 ~
Day 3 ~
Friday, February 27, dawned sweet and sunny with clear promise for the good weather
to easily hold through all three days of the incident.
And yet, whereas the rainproof canopies were up, and sort of in place, the tent-walls
were still not as yet up, as were not the screens, the electricity, lighting and so on!
Fortunately though, nothing was to open up to the public before mid-afternoon, and so,
it was on with all of the participants and special invitees gathering at Flowermead,
just 50 yards up the slope from the ‘tents’, for a robust breakfast of poorie-chholey
and steaming chai, and also a most peculiar decoction of ‘Chinese green tea’ proffered
to just a chosen few amongst us by young Dhanya Pilo (aka VJ Decoy), who’d landed in
from Mumbai just the night before for the madness, just as she had done the year
before, without firmly confirming that she would be doing so up until perhaps just a
day or two earlier.
Which of course meant that I was luckily once again in position to arm-twist her into
presenting something or another of her creative work, at her usual whim and fancy,
somewhere along the way, ad hoc and unscheduled,.. even though it was clear from almost
the moment she first arrived that she was just too tough for anyone to be able to
additionally coerce her into cooking up a batch of her sinful brownies, on this trip
Ah! Good beginnings nonetheless, in spite of the very obviously ongoing fiasco of the
tents just down the slope, which were of course now being swarmed over by the
tent-wallah’s crew, as well as some of the estate crew, and also Ashim’s assistant
Mangesh, and my man Deepak Thapa, and young Punkoo Kanwal,… and the lord
alone knows who else.
But, for the rest of us, it was on with the business of the morning after breakfast,
which was the peer-group meeting between just primary participants and a few local
special invitees, that earlier used to be known as ‘The Change-agents Conclave’.
Though traditionally held behind notionally ‘closed doors’, the meeting was located
out in the open air this time, with all of us scattered on chairs and the low
surrounding wall of the generous sit-out of the little upper-Flowermead cottage, which
in turn had been kitted out for meals, snacks, and also as a general hang-out space
and greenroom for participants.
And of course, a rickety old antique table was placed front and centre at the meeting,
with some print-materials and an ambient-audio recorder upon it, to lend an adequately
appropriate rural formalism to the whole thing.
And with that, we were off!
To begin with was of course my own turn to speak, but, other than laying down a bit of
the history of the incident, along with a bit of structure and precedent to proceed
upon, there was little for me to say for a change, since the whole circus of the tent(s)
was right there for everyone to see with just a turn of the head, nakedly revealing a
lot about the sorts of little bits of string with which we pull together and then tie
up the whole roller-coaster for everyone every year.
And, as always before, the incredible quality and class of the participants that we
so rigorously suss out from all over the world, and then so relentlessly pursue so as
to draw them into the madness that we do, shone through now in insurmountably positive,
enthusiastic and robust introductions and discussion and bonhomie that, again as usual,
freely blossomed evermore with every passing moment, right up until foci shifted,
perforce and again once again as with every year before, to the call to a hearty lunch.
After all, as I always say, nothing is ever just what it seems to be. Everything is
what you make it. In fact, we’d even collectively scheduled all of our presentations to
come in the incident, over the course of that lovely meeting before lunch that first
With a handsome kitty full of cutting-edge creative professionals, all gathered together
from all over the world, there was obviously almost nothing that we could not do together.
Which was just as well, because we all had to get down to it right after that lunch!
It was now the turn of the participants too to swarm all over the chaos of the tents,
and that was probably the telling input that finally got everything sort of operational
not more than a couple of hours later than we had been scheduled to start all of the
public programming, even though we did forget about putting up the large decorative
stage-flags all the way through to several days after the whole thing was over.
And, luckily enough for some of the visitors who’d already arrived, and also—in
retrospect—amazingly enough, some part of the programming did indeed start up on time,
for Vijay and his estate crew had done a bang-up job of sprucing up the larger
Flowermead Cottage, where Sanjay and Sameer got the screenings of
short-creative-videoworks (SCVs) and unaccompanied presentations going right on
schedule after lunch, running off brand-new electrical wiring, inside a freshly-painted
room, projecting against a wall that had been re-plastered just three days earlier,
alongside pretty substantial restoration of the roof.
To which I must of course very gratefully add here that what we were screening was
again perhaps one of the most incredible collections of short-creative-videoworks to
be screened anywhere in the world at the same time and place every year, but this
time on the back of fabulous collected inputs from our co-curators Ima Pico, in
Spain, and Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, in Germany.
However, what it all added up to right then for most of us was just something happening
in a large darkened room somewhere, sort of in the ‘background’.
Up front, the struggle was now down to tying up or getting around a zillion different
little mind-bending knots, such as the fact that the tent-wallah had nothing more to
show than a single half-burnt 3-socket power-board, in lieu of the two 10-socket
boards that he had been given specific written instructions to provide onstage.
And yes, that is what we somehow did eventually run everything off, along with a bunch
of extension-boards, CVT, and UPS, right through all of the presentations and
performances of CeC 2009!
Which of course sadly did also eventually cost Ashim a blown power-amplifier within
the last few hours of the last day, though that stopped nothing in the incident
itself, since the trusty ole trouper that he is had amazingly brought in not one
power-amp, but two!
But, more on all of that later.
We were up and running!
And no one, including myself here, will ever be able to tell of anything more than just
a tiny little iota of all that happened within the framework of CeC 2009 through to
close, Sunday evening, not least because what was up front was often quite heavy,
while in back there was all of the buzz, as usual, of participants and others
connecting, networking, and in some cases even already collaborating, on the sidelines.
Formally though, to begin with was of course something of my usual babble, of
introductions, and welcomes, and thanks,.. and also apologies for any minor heart
attacks or suchlike that might have struck some of the participants upon living
through the chaotic start-up so far.
Next came the infectiously good-humoured Ingeborg & Jopo Poffet, to share something
of their peripatetic shared history of travel and performances, and collaborations
and explorations, all over the world over the past so many years, that had led up to
their playing a form of music entirely their own, using extraordinary electronics on
top of voice, clarinet, and keyboards of all sorts.
But, time was rushing by, since we’d started late, with only just enough left for one
more presentation that wonderful afternoon.
And so, Marc Lee then took his turn, and in his inimitably gentle and happy way
carried us all through just those bits and parts that he could fit into the time
that he had, from the marvellously variegated catalogue of e-Creative mischief that
he has perpetrated over the years, all the way through to experiences and aims of the
arts-residency that he was currently serving in Bengalouroo, which in turn was giving
rise to, amongst other things, a most peculiar pyramid in that city.
With that, it was time for a tea break for most of the gathering, whilst activity
onstage flipped smoothly into overdrive meanwhile, to set up for the first evening
We were ticking over nicely by now, even though there was plenty of running about for
cables, extension-boards, adaptors, lighting, and what not.
By the time everyone gathered back from tea, everything was in place for Aparna
Panshikar to launch the formal opening-performance of CeC 2009, with classical
Hindustani vocals, as she had so graciously and so beautifully done for 2007 and 2008
too,.. but this time with the rare additional treat that her mum (and guru) Meera
Panshikar accompanied her through a revelatory jugalbandhi of alaap and
taans upon the framework of a raaga that I can’t for the life of me remember
the name of now.
That's perhaps partly on account of the fact that I was due up to perform next,
filling in our ‘traditional’ amateur slot for the second time, after 2007, but with
Aparna and Ashim very supportively accompanying me on an experimental collaboration
this time, to provide vocals and percussion respectively.
But, amateur is as amateur does, and so, whereas the performance went off pretty
well from most reports, and also from our own assessment later on, with brilliantly
professional work from Aparna and Ashim holding it all together, I personally did go
through all of the rigours of a software-freeze, cable-glitch, basic oversights,
nervousness, tension, frozen-fingers, memory blanks, sweating, and so on, through
the course of it all. But I had a blast nonetheless, and I certainly like to think
that we all did.
It was also a very special pleasure and privilege for me to essay one of the first
public performances featuring Marco Donnarumma’s fantastic new ‘C::NTR::L’ patch for
live-video-control via guitar, in Pure Data + Gem,.. even though that cable-glitch
I’d mentioned meant that I actually had no direct audio-out from the guitar right
the way through that last piece that we performed that magic first night.
There was just no time for us to get around glitches like that.
Roger Sinha’s performance was due up after us, and his technical director Caroline
Nadeau had to leave for home right after that, that very evening, which meant they
could brook absolutely no delay at all.
And, just as we had eagerly anticipated, it proved to be amply worthwhile for everyone
to have us yield to that.
Caroline, playing the perfect professional that she is, laid out her elaborate
audio-video rig and had it up and proven and running within what seemed like just
minutes, with oodles of cables and antennae bristling all about it like some
Meanwhile, Roger was already warming up in costume, bristling in turn with
headset-microphone and racks of shiny steel balls fitted to each arm and leg, all
beaming wireless controller signals out to a special Max/Msp/Jitter patch at Caroline’s
And then, Roger danced, like most of us had never ever seen dance performed before;
sometimes rapping out bits and parts of the marvellously mispronounced Mahabharata
narrative that he was essaying; sometimes variously dancing out different parts of
the story; sometimes triggering sampled narrative-segments that had been pre-recorded
into his software patch; and, sometimes also triggering video-footage of other dancers
to bridge movements, interact with, and perform around.
And so, there we had it ~ we’d made it through Day 1, and we couldn’t have asked for
a better ending to the public part of it. Several of the local people who’d been
lucky enough to attend spoke of it with wonder for days after it was done.
But, for all of us on the inside, it was not of course done till we’d all sat down
to, and ploughed our way through, a super shared dinner, down at the ashram end of
the estate, after which is was off to bed for all,………… with almost every single one
of us absolutely exhausted.
DAY - 2, CeC 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Day 1 ~
Day 2 ~
Day 3 ~
Day 2 opened comfortably late, by consensus amongst the participants, partly on the
back of several of the performers having very kindly decided to incorporate their
presentations into their performances, as Roger had very adroitly done the first
But of course, screenings and the little exhibition were running smoothly to
schedule, which meant that early visitors had plenty to occupy themselves with.
Eventually, Ratna Raman opened the presentations-segment for the day, with a
marvellously authoritative and pedagogical take on how she and Susan Vishwanathan
had been applying basic technologies of the day to research, collect resources for,
and flesh out a fascinating investigation into medieval English music and poetry.
And it worked surprisingly well along the way to have her couple an on-screen text
scrolled manually in synch with playback of a recorded reading.
Which was obviously followed by Susan herself, who handsomely carried forward the
presentation to lay out her own motives, methodologies and findings within the
framework of the joint endeavour, including investigations into whether some of
Shakespeare had been originally sung to music,... to further investigate which,
she had painstakingly scoured the internet to source and share with us a
fascinating possible example, in regard to melody.
Anirudh Goutham then came in on that, with a variegated presentation on animation
in general across the world; the current status, issues and opportunities of the
industry within India; and, selected works from the independent animation-studio
that he’d launched with his wife Preeti just over a year earlier,… after respectively
throwing up mainstream corporate-management and advertising-client-services careers.
Anders Bojen and Kristoffer Orum could probably have hung onto those jobs though, if
they’d had the choice and wanted to, for the very first thing that came through from
their presentation, after Anirudh, was that they’re into doing all sorts of things,
all of the time. That includes sculpture, video, tech-stuff, print-publishing,
drawing, editing, operating an art-space, and what have you. And, they’re often into
doing many of those things just to produce a single new artwork, or even perhaps a
fantastic new history. No shock to anyone therefore, that core characteristics
running through a lot of their work are a telling sort of mash-up of factual and
fictional, as well as all sorts of interpretations and manifestations of peculiar
A tough act to follow, yes. And so, who better for us all to check out next than that
deep-deep fellow hidden somewhere inside lazy-eyed and chilled-out Michael Aschauer,…
just like all of the slick and intuitive programming hidden deep inside of his
sometimes seemingly so guileless works? There was obviously a lot to take away from
all of that for many of us, and one engineer in the gathering was even inspired to
announce shortly afterwards that he’d soon attempt a variation on the unique logic
of one of Michael’s codes, so as to apply it to a somewhat tangential application.
Now, that’s the sort of stuff that CeC is and has always been about, as almost any
participant from any of the 4 annual iterations played out so far will attest to.
And of course, there was much to be taken back for many of us from each and every
presentation other than just Michael’s too, as had always also been the case through
earlier iterations of the whole madness too.
And so, it was great to have Gonzalo Ortiz follow upon Michael, to deliver a thorough
official exposition on Spanish-Indian cultural ties, past, potential, and also firmly
planned for the future. There was insider word on how things had gone with India as
the featured country in Arco-Madrid, just a few weeks earlier. There was the cat let
out of the bag that a spacious and stylish new Cervantes Institute was right on the
verge of opening up to the general public in Delhi. And, there was hope that we’d be
seeing a lot more Spanish support for, and exchanges with, all sorts of e-Creative
mischief in India, including lil ole CeC itself too of course.
And with that, we were on to the last presentation of the day, which just happened to
be from Moritz Neumuller, who coincidentally very well represented the Spanish-Indian
cultural thingamabob that Gonzalo had been speaking of, from having jumped feet-first
into being a co-curator on CeC 2009 itself, several months earlier. And, it was super
to have his studied prescience demonstrated in an overview of some of the new
interstices and directions that were beginning to be seen at the cutting-edge of ‘art’
practices all around the world, even though I personally took it upon myself to put
some awkward questions to him at the interactive end of his presentation, sort of on
behalf of some of my mountain-village neighbours sitting amongst us. Not that I
shouldn’t have found some other bone to pick from everything he’d presented, than
some Japanese something that then turned up at MOMA in New York shortly after!
But we were through with the presentations for the day, and on with the performances.
‘Twas to be Jopo and Ingeborg Poffet up first, performing harmonium, clarinet, voice,
and live signal-processing, with video. And, ‘twas in the finest spirit of what CeC
is all about for many of its participants that they’d drawn both Aparna Panshikar and
also Dhanya Pilo aboard too, so as to essay an experimentally collaborative performance
But, in the event, whereas Aparna was of course kitted out with just her tuneful larynx
and her faithful little pitcher paytee as always, needing nothing more than a
microphone on top of that to let fly, and whereas Dhanya borrowed Maria Fava’s laptop,
along with a mirror and a digi-cam from someone, and just plugged into power and
projector to get her act together, Ingeborg and Jopo themselves got started by setting
up a veritable monkey-puzzle of cabling running between all sorts of doo-dahs, and also
Which of course meant that dear Ingeborg’s paradoxically happy moaning just the day before,
that she historically seemed to weild a terrible jinx upon any technology that she got close
to, seemed to be most handsomely borne out, as the performance got delayed further and
further into the evening, even as turns were eventually taken by several electroacousticians
in the gathering to put on a pair of headphones and twiddle knobs and jacks in the rig,
over and over again.
But, as so often happens with such things, everything suddenly fell into place, and
they were finally off and jiving; Jopo piping away on his clarinet, between twiddling
tech-stuff; Aparna popping in a note or a phrase here and there, to be carried off
variously into cybersound by either Jopo or Ingeborg; Dhanya coolly manifesting how so
much could be improvised from so little in the hands of a professional; and, Ingeborg
hopping between harmonium, vocals and signal-processing.
All was looking good, and sounding pretty good too,… all the way up until the
speaker-system quite suddenly and unexpectedly fell silent!
Jopo and Ingeborg, true troupers that they be, smoothly segued into acoustic mode around
Aparna, with harmonium, voice and clarinet, while Ashim and Dhanya and Mangesh rushed
about to figure out and fix what had happened.
But, that was it ~ the final glitch that most of the gathering could handle that evening.
Although the problem itself was of course located and ironed out soon enough, it was
just too late to get the whole momentum going again that day. Even the second
performance scheduled for the evening had had to be pushed over to the next day,...
on account of the first glitch.
Dinner was overdue; everyone was cold; most of us were exhausted; and, there was a good
way to go for each one of us to get to bed.
But of course, several participants nonetheless made the diversion for a lovely late-night
groove all together, after dinner, at my own little homemade home nearby, where I most
fortunately had a small but serviceable quantity of an invigorating elixir handy
in one of my cabinets, for us to clink glasses over.
And so, ‘twas finally to bed at the absolute end of Day-2 for the lot of us, or,
actually the morning of Day-3 for many.
Day - 3 CeC 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Day 1 ~
Day 2 ~
Day 3 ~
That last day of CeC 2009 dawned to the inimitably precious characteristic of the
same day of every manifestation of the incident so far that by now almost every
single participant seemed to feel as though the whole circus actually belonged to
him or her.
Wonderful! I might still get the bloody monkey off my own back after all someday,
at this rate~;o).
For the moment though, what it meant was that everyone was completely chilled-out,
and everything was somehow running smooth as silk
Which in turn meant that we very calmly and comfortably got off to a really easy
start this time, partly because most of the presentations had been run though already,
over the earlier two days, and of course, early visitors could again occupy themselves
with the screenings and exhibition that were again ongoing, right on schedule once
again, in Flowermead Cottage.
But, when we did get going, it was straightaway into heavyweight stuff.
Manuel Schmalstieg, Chloe Cramer and Boris Kish opened the presentations-segment for
the day, as the only listed performers who’d opted to stick to the original format of
delivering a presentation quite separate from their performance, which in turn had
been postponed from the day before to the last evening, on account of the visitation
of Ingeborg’s pet jinx.
And it was soon easy enough to understand why, as they swiftly carried the
gathering through an overview of just a few of the various very different sorts of
e-Creative work that they had been doing over the years ~ together, independent of
each other, and also as part of the Aether9 global artists collective, on distributed
video-collaboration in live performance. But, the bottom-line was of course that they
were about a lot more than just live performance in itself, even though they ultimately
had everyone very eagerly anticipating what they said they had very specially prepared
to perform that very evening.
Dhananjay Gadre and his student Nehul Malhotra came in on that, and very adroitly
deployed a little digi-cam to share big-screen overviews of the various marvellous
little tech-toys and gadgets that they’d invented and brought in for the exhibition-segment
of CeC 2009. Most were of course semi-academic exercises in implementing simple everyday
concepts and ideas in new ways, but this here was an authority on the AVR chip. And so,
it was entirely unsurprising to also see the fantastic LED-based controller that Dhananjay
had devised to follow-up on an email conversation that he and I had had some months
earlier, along with Tom Scarff of the University of Edinburg, in regard to possible new
interfaces for midi-control.
And then, David Jimenez took the spotlight, to share with the gathering some of the
fascinating creative-experimentation that he had lately begun to do with the beautiful
black and white photographs that he takes/makes all over the world. This was about
stunningly and yet often almost innocently beautiful images, simple and straightforward
in a manner of speaking, but thereby also a lot about that rare creative genius that so
very few amongst are so lucky to have. In fact, the only question that I could think to
come up with after viewing the simple sequence of some of his images that he concluded
with, set to beautiful music, was, why on earth did he feel any need to do anything more
with any one of them, other than to just print and frame each one up as an independent
finished artwork? Which is probably what makes him the artist, not me.
With that resolved, we were then finally onto the last presentation of CeC 2009, before
the final performances of the incident, due up later on in the evening.
Ashim Ghosh it was. Indian ‘Audiovisionary’ of yore. Variously a valued participant of
every CeC so far. This time, also the very backbone upon which all of the audio of CeC
2009 was riding upon, having so very kindly brought in his own personal PA system,
monitors, microphones, cables, mixers, and so on, all the way up from Delhi, just for
And, great further good luck it was to have him be with us this time too, for what he
essayed was a studied and specially-prepared overview of several of the many creative
works that he’d done, and/or been creatively associated with, over the past 25 years,
including a lovely new little videowork that he’d made for the incident at hand, just
a few days earlier, featuring our marvellous host Vijay Patni, Manager of Sattal
Estate, in his closet-avatar of ‘Fakeer Kumaoni’, Urdu poet extraordinaire.
And there was obviously more from Ashim too. Lots and lots more. And, all compressed
into an unbelievably short while. But, you just had to be there personally to get it.
Which left all that remained to be seen through being 'just' the final evening of
performances, scheduled tight as a drumhead now, what with one act having even been
transposed over from its scheduled slot of the evening before.
Krisgatha Achmad unhesitatingly went first, very coolly setting up perhaps the sparsest
and smartest kit that I’d ever seen deployed in performance by almost any electroacoustician
till then, to produce some of the slickest and most stylish live audio-synthesis and
video-manipulation imaginable. And, his confidence was so calm and so quiet and yet so
authoritative that his performance unexpectedly essayed ad hoc experimental collaboration
too, with Jopo and Ingeborg stepping in for live vocals and clarinet, and Tommas Dolcetta
executing a perfectly unprecedented yoga-performance that went all the way from static
classical asana through to flying a flimsy bit of paper almost all over the stage like
some sort of hotdoggin’ chopper pilot, silhouetted sharply against the projection of spacey
videowork that Krigatha somehow kept tuned to his every movement the while.
Phew! Talk about tough acts to follow!!
But, Hey! As with almost every little bit of the whole circus every time, CeC was largely
about tough acts to follow being followed by just other tough acts to follow anyway.
That’s why I personally tend to go up first,.. when I do work up the courage to enter
the fray in the first place~;o)
Manuel and Chloe and Boris were up next, and promisingly enough, after witnessing Krisgatha’s
virtuosity with such stuff, they too rode sensibly sparse kit. Plug’n’play almost. No
glitches largely from almost no room for glitches in the first place. But, there was to be
no experimental collaboration or ad hocism or any other such thing with this lot. They were
like engineers at their consoles for a space-launch at Sriharikota ~ all smoothly doing
separate things in perfect sync with each other, to pre-visualized collective purpose, by
plan, preparation, perhaps even rehearsal.
And it all obviously worked brilliantly too.
This was almost classic opera of a sort. There were scripted spoken parts for Boris and
Chloe, and also a brief couple of choreographed enactments; there were clear movements,
sequences, transitions and interludes to the electroacoustics, and; there was subtle
related purpose and intent to every visual in the melange of manipulated, synthesized,
and archival video flashing by.
And, for just one fleeting moment along the way, some of us in the audience were even lucky
enough to recognize an (accidental?) onscreen glimpse of some live-programming being done
in realtime with Max/Msp/Jitter during the performance itself, which was the most
authoritatively intuitive and fluent stuff that I’d ever seen done along such lines, after
the joy of watching Hardoff work with Pure Data in CeC & CaC 2008.
But, there was no running away from the fact that the time inevitably did come in time for
us all to move on, to the final performance of the final evening of CeC 2009.
Vinny Bhagat had brought together Maria Fava and Ashhar Farooqui to perform with him, in
what was perhaps not really an experimental collaboration, but also what was certainly not
something that all three had ever done together before. And, nor was it anything that they
had scripted and choreographed in any great detail
In short, we were back to unpresented live improvisation to close the whole show.
Vinny laid down the central core of the performance, with an eloquent compendium of pure
audio-synthesis, made and played in SuperCollider. Ashhar sat at his desk in the shadows
of the stage-corner, in his usual inimitable way, every now and again stylishly injecting
lovely little snippets of improvised lyric that he then looped and tweaked and twiddled
perfectly into the sound-cloud. And, Maria handled the live video-manipulation, demonstrating
a remarkably prescient ability to almost perfectly reflect every movement of the music that
came through from Vinny and Ashhar (in fact, I even asked her later on whether she’d had a
direct signal-feed from either of them, which she did not).
Things got almost hypnotic, and, in very many ways, it was altogether an amazingly
appropriate act to end with.
For, end it had to, even though some part of the audience looked like they wouldn’t
mind seeing it go on and on and on.
Which of course meant that we had to get rid of those of them who weren’t ‘insiders’,
so as to move on~;o).
After CeC 2009
Day 1 ~
Day 2 ~
Day 3 ~
There was one last supper to be had by us all together. There were individual goodbyes
to be said amongst so many of us who had grown so warmly close to each other, over such
a short while. There was contact information to be exchanged; promises and appointments
to be made for the future; and a last night-walk to be had for some,… of which several
of course descended once again upon my little homemade home, just the other side of the
ridge, where invigorating elixir had been replenished after the gathering of the night
before, and where others brought along excellent other such elixirs too this time. And,
Michael was finally provided the missing bonfire that he’d been teasing me about earlier,
which everyone then enjoyed just as much as he did, and stuffed to overflowing off my
woodpile. Then, my meagre larder was raided well past midnight, to produce a bracing broth
for all, after all of the titbits that we could find to eat were all gone, while Vinny
lovingly stroked a dholak-drum, Ashhar strummed dreamy stuff off a re-tuned guitar, and
someone twanged a jews-harp somewhere. But of course, let it be recorded here too that
not one amongst them could even blow a note out of that massive old bamboo flute of mine
that I keep up there,.. almost just like me!
Finally, when morning came close, Dhanya (who’d been sleeping nights in my dungeon through
the incident) and I decided to drive home the last man left standing, so as to take a
chance on perhaps spotting some wildlife along the way.
And of course, we spotted precisely nothing at all.
............ but when we got back, and Dhanya went down to bed, while I went up, and all of the
night’s natter was finally at an end; that’s when we heard it. The dogs in the nearest
house down the slope from us were barking unusually, and when I listened carefully to
figure out what it might be about, there was also that peculiarly unmistakable grinding
sound of a leopard’s breath in between.
It was right next to the house!
Sadly though, we never actually saw that big cat that night, as we were by then just too
pooped to get out of bed to check it out, and it's very obvious nearness to the house was
quite contrarily no encouragement at all to venture out into the dark.
But there was irrefutable proof of that visitation the very next day, when young Punkoo
Kanwal brought in a bunch of soft quills, to excitedly inform me that a leopard had killed
and eaten a young porcupine near the house that night.
And, with the last leopard that I personally know to have visited my house before that
having done so just soooo very long ago, that, by a million miles, is just about the
absolute best end that I could ever have even imagined or wished for, for the unparalleled
magic in the mountains that was CeC 2009!
Some Responses, CeC 2009
Day 1 ~
Day 2 ~
Day 3 ~
Whoa.. what a trip... I am still
there I think haha..
It has been wonderful meeting you
and everybody, and a very interesting interchange of experience, information and friendship.
I am deeply grateful for everything
you have done for us, and hope that my contributions have fulfilled your expectations.
..bless his soul, for getting us
I had a wonderful time at the
CeC in Sat Tal
that was just to tell you the cycle
of work will continue with you as catalyst
the performance video I showed in
my lecture will be on view at moma!!
for good vibes, thanks!!
I really hope there will be a
concrete future - I will do all in my power for it.
It was a great pleasure for me
to participate and stir up some new questions...
when ever you call, we will hope
to line up!
Lovely. Thank you for such a
Thanks for such a marvellous
time, and helping a lot of quiet people to get together...
Thanks to you Shankar!
It was a really good experience!
I could meet many interesting
people there including same local people which joined the event.
Thanks man!.. chill well... cheers
Thank you for bringing us together
and giving us such a wonderful experience
Thank you so much for all your
energy and dedication, so we could have such a great experience.
In Sattal it was a very much out
of time for me, loved it.
... and thank you very much again
Finally I get the time to write
you and share my feelings concerning this fantastic experience: it has been
simply great! Thank you.
i'd love to come there again
thank you for inviting
xyz to you're event
I had a wonderful time at
Sattal and thank you for letting me be a part of it all...
...please take some rest.