As Robert Henke sets of on his tour with the new project Lumière, kicking off in NYC on the 10th May, followed by shows in Helsingor, Montreal (MUTEK/Elektra), London, Riga, Nantes and others, we offer a little preview of what is to come. If you don’t know Robert Henke, he is probably best known for his somewhat free floating role within Ableton and doing splits between creating his own art and software – Ableton Live. Robert also writes and lectures about sound and the creative use of computers, and held teaching positions at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, and the Studio National des Arts Contemporains – Le Fresnoy in Lille, France.
Lumière – Based on self written software, this work on the edge of concert and site specific installation finds previously unseen beauty and minimalistic elegance in a commonly underrated medium. High power lasers are used to draw complex morphing shapes and connect points in space. Unleashing the full potential of the underlying advanced vector engine, Lumière combines precise geometric figures with floating organic structures, presenting the archaic sign language of an alien culture communicating via emerging and disappearing traces of extremely bright light.
For his new project Lumière, he is painstakingly “teaching lasers to dance”, a portrait between his past, present and future. As Robert explains in the video at the bottom of the post, the problem with electronic music is that you have too many options. In the latest work, he is trying to be structured in the approach, avoid arbitrary at all costs while at the same time trying to contextualise the work he produces. In Lumière, he controls the interaction of shape, colour and music from his computer, using three laser beams to cut through the room to form intricate geometrical shapes – floating, ephemeral and divided by frequencies. In the video, Robert also talks about ideas driving the project, constraints, programming process, doing everything himself, building tools and making them work the way they are meant to. For more, see links below. If you live in any of the cities, don’t miss it!