MusicMakers Hacklab Conversations

Kunstquartier Projektraum, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin Map
Tickets: Entrance free


12:00 18:00

Talks & presentations with Native Instruments / Florian Grote and Florian Schneidmadel, Robert Henke, Marije Baalman / Thomas Spier, Derek Holzer

Designing Musical Evolution: User-centric process and research

12:00 Florian Grote, Senior Product Designer, Maschine

The relationship between software/hardware vendor and user today mirrors the traditional relationship between instrument builder and musician. But how do you design around that user? How do you balance the complex network of competing variables in sound science, technological implementation, user experience, and product marketing? How do you create new musical instruments?

Senior Product Designer Florian Grote visits the Hacklab to provide a rare look inside the working process at Native Instruments. Busy testing out their own experiments in performance technology throughout the festival week, Hacklab participants talk to Florian Grote about how his team defines a user, and what it means to create a tool around that user. With a background in music and sound research, and a musician himself, Grote explains how he and other NI developers translate the world of sonic experimentation into products that actually ship - and what it means to then see those products in action in musicians' hands.

Florian Grote is Senior Product Designer for Maschine, Native Instruments' groove production studio. Besides his work for NI, he also produces electronic music under the moniker "grassland", and conducts research in the field of cultural sociology. He has collaborated with Mouse On Mars on experimental instrument concepts, and has been a lecturer at Leuphana and Zeppelin Universities, Hochschule der Künste Bern, and STEIM, Amsterdam.

n_Polytope – Synthesis of Light and Sound in Time and Space

13:00 Marije Baalman / Thomas Spier

"n_polytope: Behaviours in Light and Sound After Iannis Xenakis" is a spectacular light, sound, and architectural environment. The installation combines cutting-edge lighting, lasers, sound, and sensory and artificial intelligence software technologies inspired by composer Iannis Xenakis’ radical 1960s-1970s works,  "Polytopes" (from the Greek poly, many and topos, space).

In this conversation, Hacklab participants speak to two of the project’s collaborators, Marije Baalman and Thomas Spier, on how n-polytope was constructed, and on the connection to Xenakis’s pioneering advances in musical mathematics and immersive audiovisual environments and architecture. The session explores both technical details of the challenges of coordinating lasers and 150 LED lights with multi-channel audio, as well as what it took to re-imagine Xenakis’s earlier work in a new, current form.

Probing the Past: A Media Archaeology of Handmade Electronic Sound

15:00 Derek Holzer/

The utopias of electronic sound have hardly changed in its hundred-year history. We still want to imitate existing instruments, create sounds which have never been heard before and realize complex compositions without the need of an orchestra. It is only the tools which have become more complex. But there are dystopias as well, which come especially from using tools designed around other people's way of creating sound, rather than your own. Instrument builder, teacher and performer Derek Holzer of will discuss the inspiration of some of the pioneers of 20th Century electronic sound (including those found in the "Generation Z : ReNoise" exhibition) as springboards to some of his own creations, which the audience will have a chance to explore following the talk.

Robert Henke: RA Exchange

17:00 RA Exchange with Will Lynch, Resident Advisor

Discussion of "Lumière", presented at CTM Festival, moderated by Peter Kirn, MusicMakers Hacklab.

Robert Henke’s career spans the full spectrum of creative music, from producing ambient, experimental soundscapes to original tools and machines, dancefloor sound, and academic research. In his years of artistic output, structures from the worlds of music are placed alongside those from science, photography, and light.

A repeat CTM collaborator, this year Henke returns to celebrate the festival’s 15th anniversary by presenting his new piece, "Lumière", which sees the artist at the helm of three powerful lasers, simultaneously producing new forms in image and sound, each medium playing with the other. The Hacklab’s instrument-building experimentation provides an ideal backdrop for an extended two-part session with Henke, where the artist first discusses his musical background and motivation in conversation with Resident Advisor’s Will Lynch.

Following-up will be Hacklab host Peter Kirn, who talks to Henke about the role tool-making can have in musical creativity, as the artist has gone from co-creating Ableton Live to producing new instruments for transforming his work. Science and engineering become inextricable from compositional intent and imagination - a technical, fanciful fusion, made live. The session offers a look at what this fusion means for the creative world today through the case study of Lumière’s conception and production.

The MusicMakers Hacklab is a weeklong open, collaborative laboratory that allows pre-selected practitioners from a range of disciplines to reconnect with the work of early pioneers in a new context. Open to the public throughout its week of hacking, the Hacklab’s experimentation will culminate in a final performance at HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU2) on Sunday 2.2.


Marije Baalman[NL]

Marije Baalman is an artist and researcher/developer working in the field of interactive sound art. Her work explores the sonic output of realtime interactions among performers and/or audiences.

Thomas Spier[DE]

Thomas Spier is an architect and photo-designer.

Derek Holzer[US/DE]

Derek Holzer is an American instrument builder and sound artist based in Berlin, whose current interests include DIY analogue electronics, field recording, media archaeology and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music.

Will Lynch[US/DE]

Will Lynch is the Editor of Resident Advisor, where he has been a staff writer since 2010. He lives in Berlin.

Florian Grote[DE]

Florian Grote is Senior Product Designer for Maschine, Native Instruments' groove production studio.

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