Microtonal Music Studios Research and Study Programme Exhibition and Event Week
Vernissage/ Avajaiset 21.11.2022 18:00-20:00
Participating artists: Tugce Albayrak, Anna Hakula, Natalia Hogue, Miikka Lehto, Meriheini Luoto. Mateo Mena, Alex Raitanen, Teemu Ruissalo, Jarkko Räsänen, Zuzu Zaakaria.
Microtonal Music Studios is a project directed by Timo Tuhkanen
Visiting artist for the exhibition is Nicolina Stylianou.
The first Microtonal Music Studios Research and Study program exhibition and event week explores the practices of participating student practices through spatial sound, microtonality, instrument making, and embodied performance. As well as an installation the week contains discussions, concerts, and performances from all participants. More events and programme will be announced so please stay tuned for it!
Programme for the week
Opening from 18:00 to 21:00
Event 17.30 – 19.30 – Talk
Why tuning matters: Introduction to microtonality and how the world we hear is constructed. In this discussion we talk about how mass produced instruments and standardisation of tunings supports colonisation and hegemonic structures in society and how creating new tunings as well as conserving old dying tunings can resist these tendencies.
Event 17:30 – 20:00 – Concert of microtonal improvised music
Timo Pyhälä (bass) and Markku Toikkanen (electric guitar and electronics), duo
Timo Tuhkanen (microtonal electric guitars and pedals) solo
Event 17:30 – 21:00 – Student performances (approximate times)
Anna Hakula Cups and Seeds (17:30)
Meriheihi Luoto Microtonal improvisation on violin (18:00)
Teemu Ruissalo Keratoconus piece (2022) (19:00)
Natalie Hogue Microtonal synth performance documentation (20:00)
25.11.2022 Friday – Workshop
Event 12:00 – 18:00
Building an instrument, building a community:
Workshop and demonstration of how to make a microtonal electric guitar by Timo Tuhkanen
Event 17:30 – 20:00 – Performance
Nicolina Stylianou Dithyramb
Event 17:00 – 19:00 – Concert
Teemu Mastovaara and Anna Sofia Kallio perform New Music for Cello and Flute: Arola, Laaksonen, Mastovaara, Saariaho, Thorvaldsdóttir
About Microtonal Music Studios: Music Outside Keys and Cultures
Microtonal Music Studios is a relational art project with an aim to create a community and place around musical instruments. It takes the form of an educational, non-national, post-genre, and decolonized musical space for experienced musicians as well as beginners to experiment in. It is a physical space in which the whole process of musical production is included: from the conception, design and making of musical instruments, through the practice, playing, composition and interpretation of music, to the recording and the physical as well as digital distribution and promotion of instrument designs, concerts and albums, to the listening, hearing experience, and discourse of music. This all encompassing thinking-through-making is what gives the project a specific aim of directly addressing directly structural issues of diversity and canon within the music establishment. This relational practice investigates what could be achieved if the whole of musical production (from conceiving and building instruments, to choosing tonalities, to playing and listening to music) would be actively included in the future aesthetics of music. What kind of cultural formations happen when musical sounds are not controlled by any dominant idiom? How can the general audience be made more aware that musical tones, intervals, and pitches, are culturally constructed and held up by vested interests and structural norms?
Each year the Research and Study Programme supports ten students and five visiting researchers/artists at the studios.
Microtonal Music Studios 2022-23 Research and Study Programme Student Biographies
Tuce Alba is an architect, musician, composer and artist living in Istanbul who uses a variety of techniques to build and experience spatial and temporal spaces with sound employing synthesizers, instruments, field recordings, and other tools that break quiet and transform it into sound. She focuses on the listener’s position within the triangle generated by movement patterns, sound and space. At the same time, she conducts acoustic research on manipulating the limitations of conventional instruments concurrently.
Anna Hakula (b.1986) is a researcher and a composer with a multisensory approach, based in Tampere. Her background is in architecture, and she is interested in the relationship between space and sound. Hakula is interested in collaboration projects between different arts and different senses. She is currently working on installations and experimental performances, which have been seen for example in Tampere Biennale, Musikfest Wartin (Germany), Time of Music (Viitasaari), and TADweek (Tampere Architecture and Design Week). “I find communication between arts and science fascinating and get inspired by sharing thoughts with people with different approaches. In architecture, I am interested in creating meaningful places. In music, I want to find both new and familiar sounds. Currently, the sounds of simple materials, such as clay, ceramics, paper, and wood, fascinate me. Additionally, different acoustics and environmental sounds are great sources of inspiration.” Hakula holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Tampere University of Technology and she has studied composition, classical singing, and music pedagogy at Tampere Conservatory and at Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
Natalie Hogue (b. 2000) is a composer, technologist, and sound designer, whose work centers around the concepts of public space and infrastructure. Her 2021 work Public Transportation Music explores the concepts of social service, climate change, and isolation in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Presently Natalie is engaged with the study of extended Just-Intonation theory, in exploring the ways in which we construct harmonic intervals.
Miikka Lehto (b. 1995) approaches art through technology. His workflow involves active and thorough planning of technical aspects in combination with free experimentation with the subject matter. He works with audio and visuals utilising various hardware, software and programming solutions. Interactivity plays an important role in many of his works. Being able to involve an audience brings him great joy and inspiration as an artist.
Meriheini Luoto is a Helsinki based composer and multi-instrumentalist focusing mainly on violin, nyckelharpa, electronics and vocals. Her compositions often have their basis in improvisation, timbre qualities, the experiential, and intuition. With an adventurous mind and the knowledge of Scandinavian folk music tradition she creates soundscapes of something truly old and new at the same time. In 2017 Meriheini released her debut album Metsänpeitto (lit. covered by forest) which has been critically acclaimed and nominated for the Teosto Prize, which is one of the most noteworthy art prizes in the Nordic countries. A sequel to the debut album ’Metsänpeitto 2’ was released in September 2019. In recent years she has composed and performed music for contemporary dance and collaborated with Finnish choreographers Valtteri Raekallio & Annamari Keskinen/Thar Be Dragons. She also plays in the band Akkajee along with a viola player Iida Savolainen.
Mateo Mena (b. 1983) is an electronic instruments maker working in the intersection between art, science and crafts. With a background in electronic engineering, musical composition and traditional instrument making, he has designed and developed instruments with the goal to reconcile modern technology with nature, from an artistic perspective. For that, he uses mainly resources, inspiration or organic materials presented in our ecosystem. Some of his instruments and sound sculptures use radio wave emissions from atmospheric/cosmic phenomena, while others explore our interrelation with the biomas surrounding or dig into properties of determined organisms, specially from marine species or the arthropoda phylum. Interested since young age in chemistry and electricity, he is currently researching in the different possibilities of minerals like pyrite or silicon carbide to generate audio oscillations, and working in several projects of sustainable energy sources, as in the project Volta -a small orchestra of self-powered electronic instruments with dynamos- or Prisma, an instrument which uses the piezoelectric properties of homemade Rochelle salt crystals. Also active in the pedagogical field, he has worked with more than a hundred schools and education centers from Spain and Portugal, teaching how to make sound oriented DIY electronic devices. He has performed and exhibited his pieces in the USA, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Sweden, Germany or Italy, among other places.
Mateo’s work at the Microtonal Music Studios is supported by Fundación Segundo Gil Dávila.
Alex Raitanen (b. 1998) is a Helsinki based interdisciplinary artist who works mainly in the fields of sonic and visual arts. Intrigued by the idea of nomadic, non-dogmatic artistical expression, his practice includes improvisation with instruments and non-instruments, use of field recordings, collage and digital processing. Raitanen studies musicology and philosophy at the University of Helsinki. He is currently a member of Sfumato – a free improvisation collective which brings together trained and non-trained musicians alike. He is also a guitarist for the noisy no-wave/alt-rock four piece called Airuet which will release their debut album in the spring of 2023.
Teemu Ruissalo (b. 2000) is a Finnish multidisciplinary artist working mainly with sound, concepts, and performative actions. Ruissalo espouses collective thinking, realizing simplistic ideas, the role of improvisation/accidents, and non-art concepts. One of the main aspirations for Ruissalo is to effectuate a wide-ranging endorsement for ambiguous art and equal possibilities for all sorts of idealizations. In recent years they have worked with a balance between representation, truism, and social accessibility. Audio-wise Ruissalo’s work combines so-called idea-based field recordings, improvised instrumentation, and a work ethic that prioritizes passion over talent. Their live-art nods toward Fluxus-esque actions, public interruptions, and a heavy focus on nonchalant sounds. They study the second year at Art School MAA, a 3-year program preparing for the profession of an artist. Ruissalo is part of Naarmu, a contemporary music group, an improvisation group called Sfumato, and a performance-driven interdisciplinary collective named kernast. Last summer they were part of the Pori Biennale in Helsinki and the second organizer of a performance event for the younger generation, “Informance” with Lo Leskelä.
Jarkko Räsänen is a multimedia artist based in Heinola/Berlin focusing currently in fields of sound and video art. Jarkko has released two ambient EPs on Silverdrop Records this year and made last year a public audio installation “Herd Immunity” in Tampere. Alongside this work he runs a record label Taide (http://taide.bandcamp.com) that is dedicated to music created by visual artists. Photo by Ilkka Saastamoinen.
Zuzu Zakaria aka Ya Tosiba is Azerbaijani electronic producer, singer and rapper. Her music combine field-recordings, historical texts and electronics Her MA discusses the genre Meykhana: winehouse word artists, underground Baku beat poets and their artistic resistance to mainstream.
Visiting Artist in November
Nicolina Stylianou is an artist working in the intersection between performance, sound and sculpture. The spectrum of her interest lies in the absurdity of existence and the in-betweenness of bodies, objects, things, spaces, networks and subjects as states of transition, transformation and noise. Nicolina holds a Masters of Arts (Theatre and Drama) degree from the University of the Arts Helsinki (Finland) and BA (hons) in Art & Design from the Kingston University London (United Kingdom).
Principal Investigator of Microtonal Music Studios: Music Outside Keys and Cultures
Dr Timo S. Tuhkanen (b. 1983) is an artist-composer, curator, and writer, whose work intersects between contemporary art, music, and research into the cultural and historical aspects of touch. Their work is concerned with designing and creating direct actions and socio-political interventions as an artistic practice through collective intelligence, relational aesthetics, and operational realism, and their subject matters often adapt inside an occupied environment of urban landscapes, digital platforms, and hydrosocial-spaces. Tuhkanen likes to describe their work as lived-through narrative fiction and mythopoetics, and they are interested in the psychological conflict between what is imaginable and what is realistically achievable and how this conflict materialises in the resources we construct. Tuhkanen received their BA and MMus from Brunel University of West London where their work focused on algorithmic music and non-narrative stage craft, focusing on opera. They received their PhD from the University of Leeds where their research focused on the aesthetics of touch in the philosophy and practice of musical composition. As well as currently being the director of the artist-run gallery Myymälä2 in Helsinki, they are an Affiliate Researcher of the Department of Musicology at the University of Turku, an artistic-researcher in the Atlas Project at Angewadnt University of Arts, Crafts, and Design Vienna and has been, among others visiting researcher at IRCAM Sound Music Movement Interaction lab and visiting lecturer at University of the Arts Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy.
Microtonal Music Studios Research and Study Programme is supported by Kone Foundation, The University of Turku, the Institut Francais de Finlande, the Embassy of France in Finland, the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research, the Finnish Academy for Science and Letters and the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters