08.03.2017: Make Yourself a Podcast!
A beginner's guide to making a podcast, in Berlin. Learn how to prepare a show, present music and stories, edit, mix and make it all sound nice. No fancy equipment required: just a laptop, a good idea, and an open ear. Enquire within.
I consider myself very lucky that I still get to spend my time making sonic approximations of the things that happen in Sam's brain, and I'm even more chuffed that BBC Radio 4 saw fit to turn us loose on their night-time programme, along with a super-talented cast including Henry Paker, Freya Parker, Mike Wilmot and Sarah Kendall, to create more confusion on the airwaves. Produced by Alex Smith and Joe Nunnery, sound design by me, music by Ducks! Hear it here.
04.01.2017: Sam Simmons is Not a People Person
03.12.2016: How to Predict the Future
How do you know if the song you're listening to is an important song? Because you won't like it... yet. A little talk on the idea of the future in art and music, from Gertrude Stein to Jaden Smith, presented by The School of Life Sydney.
A monthly live event in Berlin, where we learned about the people and ideas that shaped our world while watching the kind of music and movie clips people play in the later stages of a 4am youtube party.
24.03.2016 - 24.08.2016: Culture Club Kino: The Secret History of Music, Movies, Art and Ideas.
10.09.2015: The J-Files - Love in the 90s
Double J Radio presents highlights from the documentary series, along with more music and stories from the 90s. Presented by Caz Tran. Listen to the program here.
21.09.2015: Art Criticism in the Digital Age
Blogs, vlogs, podcasts and more have created new platforms for those with something to say about contemporary art, offering ew spaces and places for criticism, while at the same time transforming it.
Twenty years ago, critics had to hope for a position as a reviewer for a magazine if they wanted to reach the public. Now, anyone with a smartphone and an opinion has access to a potential audience of millions. And as the new technology democratises criticism, larger media companies also embrace and adopt the new mode.
So how do we make good use of these new opportunities as art writers? And how can we use new technology to say what we want to say about art today?
12.07.2015: Jarvis Cocker (DJ set) + Ducks! at Neue Heimat Berlin
Live performance by Ducks! following the first official screening of 'Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets'. Lani Bagley: singing, dancing, tropical side-eye, shiny surfaces. Craig Schuftan: Synths, backing vocals, make-up.
2.7.2015 Entertain Us! The Rise and Fall of Alternative Rock in the Nineties: UK and Europe Release.
A journey through the decade and its music, from Sonic Youth’s Kool Thing to Radiohead’s Kid A; Lollapalooza ’91 to Woodstock ’99. Three years after its first publication, Entertain Us! is now finally available in the UK and Europe through Harper Collins publishers. Pre-order your copy here!
5.6.2015: Black Mountain College: Alternative Nation
Official opening of the exhibition 'Black Mountain College: An Interdisciplinary Experiment, 1933-1957', at Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art, and accompanying catalogue, edited by Dr Catherine Nichols, and featuring the essay 'Alternative Nation' by Craig Schuftan.
30.5.2015: Gertrude Stein's 'The World is Round'
Short talk on Stein's 1939 children's book, followed by performance of a short excerpt with music by Ducks!
Hosted by Entretempo Kitchen Berlin as part of the 'Literary Dining' series, curated by An Paenhuysen. Photo by Akane Kimbara.
Watch the performance and listen to an interview here, on An's blog.
29.5.2015: Ducks! Present: 'Into the Trees'
Original soundtrack music by Ducks!, to be played at the opening of Agnes KR Patience's exhibition, Schwarz-Weiss-Zwischenwelten, n_how Berlin.
14.5.2015: European Lab: 'The Next Cultural Decade'
Round table debate on the idea of culture defined by decades, and what might be in store during the next one. Hosted by Wyndham Wallace, also featuring Agata Pyzik, Relja Bobic and Jean-Francois Sanz
http://www.europeanlab.com/en/debat-la-prochaine-decennie-culturelle/ Photo by Marion Bornaz
9.5.2015: The School of Life Presents: Why Romanticism Matters
On why rock music loves misery, and the truth about Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Hosted by The School of Life, Melbourne. http://www.theschooloflife.com/melbourne/blog/2015/03/why-romanticism-matters/
8.5.2015: The School of Life Presents: The Philosophy of Disco
Art or Entertainment? Songs to make you think, or songs to help you forget your troubles? The history and practice of disco offers insights into a long-running intellectual debate in Western Culture. Presented by the School of Life, Melbourne. http://www.theaureview.com/interviews/craig-schuftan-berlin-sydney-talks-the-philosophy-of-disco
(Photo: Ray Mann)
5.4.2015: Hokey Religions and Ancient Weapons: Nostalgia for the Future in Star Wars IV-VI
Lecture and slide show on cultural nostalgia and retro-futurism, hosted by Somos Berlin at the opening of the exhibition, Future: Now, curated by Elisa Rusca. https://askhelmut.com/events/2015-03-05-19-00-opening-future-now
6.12.2014: Eine Kleine Nacht-Fieber; the Philosophy of Disco
Disco lecture and party, hosted by de Gym, Groningen. http://heyevent.de/event/1521098058176514/eine-kleine-nacht-fieber-lecture-party-on-the-philosophy-of-disco
29.11.2014: The Low End Theory: Hip Hop Lecture and Party
A History of loops and samples, a night of beats and rhymes at T Berlin, featuring music by Ray Mann and DJ Zimt
16.10.2014: Lady Dada: Collage and Photomontage from Weimar to Mileygate.
Lecture and slide show on the history of Photomontage. Followed by cut-up sounds from Moonsign and Ducks! Performed at the opening of the exhibition 'Mountains Beyon Mountains', Leuchtstoffe, Berlin.
"What the audience demands of the artist - really demands, in its unconscious desire - and what the artist thinks it ought to be given... [is] the same thing: the sentiment of being. The sentiment of being is the sentiment of being strong... such energy as contrives that the centre shall hold, that the circumference of the self keep unbroken, that the person be an integer, impenetrable, perdurable, and autonomous in being if inot in action."
marina and the diamonds | the family jewels | identity | personality | realism | authenticity | lionel trilling
"Music was now an object that could be owned by the individual and used at his own convenience... Now the Symphony of a Thousand could play to an audience of one. Now a man could hear nocturnes at breakfast, vespers at noon, and the Easter Oratorio on Channukah. He could do his morning crossword to 'One O'Clock Jump', and make love right through the St Matthew Passion. Anything was possible; nothing was sacred; freedom was absolute. It was the freedom, once the cathedral of culture had been wrecked, to take home the bits you liked and arrange them as you please. Once again, a mechanical invention had met capitalism's need to recreate all of life in its image. The cathedral of culture was now a supermarket."
Evan Eisenberg, 1987
wu-tang clan | shaolin | age of mechanical reproduction | aura | ritual | art | artists
"What if I tell you now that I have often longed even for plays I have seen performed - frequently the very ones which bored me most - or for books I have read in the past and did not like at all? If that is not madness, there's no such thing."
"And you must not let yourself be misled, in your solitude, by the fact that there is something in you that wants to escape from it. This very wish will, if you use it quietly and pre-eminently and like a tool, help to spread your solitude over wide country. People have (with the help of convention) found the solution of everything in ease, and the easiest side of ease; but it is clear that we must hold to the difficult; everything living holds to it, everything in nature grows and defends itself according to its own character and is an individual in its own right, strives to be so at any cost and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must hold to the difficult is a certainty that will not leave us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; the fact that a thing is difficult must be one more reason for our doing it."
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904
rainer maria rilke | kate bush
'Acousmatic, the Larousse dictionary tells us, is the 'name given to the disciples of Pythagoras who for five years, listened to his teachings while he was hidden behind a curtain, without seeing him, while observing a strict silence.' Hidden from their eyes, only the voice of their master reached the disciples.... In ancient times, the apparatus was a curtain; today, it is the radio and methods of reproduction, along with the entire set of electro-acoustic transformations, that place us, modern listeners to an invisible voice, under similar conditions.'
Pierre Schaeffer, 'Acousmatics', 1966
pierre schaeffer | musique concrete | sonorous objects | acousmatics | pythagoras | phenomenology | twin peaks | red room
'Imagine a traveller from a hundred years ago arrives at our doorstep and asks us why the music of the 20th century operates so frequently on the basis of cyclic repetition. Not just the rap and dance genres of popular culture, but also minimalism - perhaps the single most viable strand of the Western art music tradition... why does so much of our music work this way? What kind of needs do these patterns satisfy?'
Susan McClary, 1999
stardust | daft punk | susan mcclary | minimalism | loop | chaka kahn | repetition