Top 5 Music Lectures at the AA
Bobby Jewell, July 2015
Over the course of the last year the AA has been uploading onto Youtube hundreds of videos from the AA Photo Library collection of recorded lectures by architects, designers, urbanists, academics and talented individuals who have spoken at the school. Along with recent Public Programme lectures that are uploaded onto the AA’s website, they create a brilliant, varied and free resource. I’ve chosen here my Top 5 music related lectures from world famous composers to forward thinking contemporary artists, and invite you to find your own hidden gems on the AA’s Youtube channel or on our website.
Brian Eno, February 2012
Legendary producer and musician Brian Eno has carved an impressive and varied career for himself whilst managing to stay true to his ethos of rethinking standard practises and norms within the creative process (see his Oblique Stratagies card set). He has often spoken in the past on his views on art and music (for example this 1993 interview with AA alumnus Ron Arad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkHAH10xdrE) and the AA was lucky enough to have him appear in this lunchtime lecture from 2012. Delivered with Eno’s unfalteringly calm erudition, it’s a must watch for anyone who creates or likes art.
Iannis Xennakis – Order and Chaos, April 1998
Greek composer Iannis Xennakis was a leading figure of avant garde orchestral music in the post war era. Taking a thoroughly academic approach to composition, he implemented his knowledge of complex mathematics into his music, creating pieces using set theory, stochastic processes and game theory. A celebrated architect in his own right he had worked with Le Corbusier in Paris, project managing the monastery at La Tourette and designed the Phillips Pavilion for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. This lecture features Xennakis talking about mathematics, his architecture and playing recordings of his works.
Carsten Nicolai & Ryoji Ikeda – Cyclo Sonotecture, April 2002
A real treat this; collaborative performance by two seminal like minded electronic musicians & visual artists Carsten Nicolai, better known as Alva Noto & as the co-founder of the record label Raster-Noton and Ryoji Ikeda, who recently exhibited at Brewer Street Car Park Gallery and famously with his 2014 ‘spectre’ installation in London marking the centenary of the anniversary of WW1. If you’re familiar with either Ikeda or Nicolai’s work you’ll recognise their heavy use of algorithms and cymatics to create a data visualization display that works in partnership with their rapid, cold music that’s both mesmerizing and alienating. Thes are two artists whose work even today stands out as some of the most forward thinking and technologically futuristic out there, I can only imagine how impressive it must have felt in 2002.
Mark Fisher – There is no Theory only Practice: A Slide Show about Rock and Roll, February 1996
Mark Fisher was an architect and set designer who worked with the biggest rock acts in the world. In this lecture, Mark looks back on his career creating elaborate archigram-inspired stages for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and U2 to name but a few. This lecture traces the evolution of the stadium rock gig from one of necessity to a spectacle of excess. An Alumnus and former Unit Tutor of the AA, The Mark Fisher Scholarship was set up in his honour, following his death in 2013. http://markfisher.aaschool.ac.uk/
In 2011 the AA’s live magazine Format, which just finished its 2015 run last Friday, invited prolific musician and author Nick Currie, known by his stage name MOMUS to the AA. A distinctly individual artist and as prolific as he is controversial, MOMUS performed several works and took questions from Shumon Basar, Victoria Camblin, Zak Kyes & Brian Dillon. This was also inaugural event at the AA’s New Soft Room venue, designed by former exhibitions staff Luke Currall.