A state of stability

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presentation text

a state of stability

"There can be no silence up in the mountains, since their very contours roar. And for there to be silence, time itself has to attain a sort of horizontality; there has to be no echo of time in the future, but simply a sliding of geological strata one upon the other giving out nothing more than a fossil murmur” [America, Jean Baudrillard]

A STATE OF STABILITY, different images (w-o-l-k-e, june 2013)

In A STATE OF STABILITY David De Buyser and Gert Aertsen present some of their experiments with light, sound and movement in a joint scenography.

Independent of any philosophical definition of time, there is something like an operational definition of it. The way in which the value of a time unit is determined, by observation of an x-amount of repetitions of a cyclic event (as there are for example the days and nights, defined by sunrise and sunset).

We experience time as well by changes in light and sound. When night falls, our image of the city flattens, we see less movement and therefore we experience time differently. The night brings a certain horizontality, a silenced view on the image of the city. A STATE OF STABILITY is an artistic research on the perception of time, by means of sound, light and movement.

“Speed is simply the rite that initiates us into emptiness: a nostalgic desire for forms to revert to immobility, concealed beneath the very intensification of their mobility. Akin to the nostalgia for living forms that haunt geometry.” [America, Jean Baudrillard]

images: ‘exercising slow’, gearbox, track and brick

description of the scenography

In A STATE OF STABILITY a number of elements or objects are arranged in a scenography. Each element is an experiment, an exercise with sound, image or movement. Although the focus of each element is different, they are related to each other and influence each other. The whole forms a system in which sound and image are crafted over a period of time determined by the setting and rising of the sun. Our perception of time is the central focus.

A stone is arranged at one end of a track. At the other end there is a gearbox. The stone is slowly dragged by a rope over a slope by the gearbox. Ostensibly motionless, the gearbox pulls the stone over the course of the night from one end to the other. At the bottom of the stone a contact microphone is attached to record the sound of dragging the rock.

Because of the slow movement, the stone is barely audible. The microphone picks up no continuous signal, but short grain sounds. As in granular synthesis, the abrasive sound of the stone is, by the delay of the movement, split into small elements (grains).

There is an object which serves as a speaker: plated aluminium with a transducer attached to it. The sound of the stone is transferred to the speaker object and reproduced. Initially you can only occasionally hear little short sounds like they are recorded in real time by the microphone on the stone. The sounds, however, are stored and played back in loop while every new recording is added to the loop. As the evening progresses, the sound becomes increasingly complex and richer. This creates a new sound over the course of the evening.

A panoramic image of the city, slowly panning throught a projection screen, records the city skyline as it flattens in the night. The skyline is converted to a line of pixels using image analysis. In this way it forms a contour, on the border between the city and the sky.

images: contour detections on both the Brussels city skyline and the mountains surrounding Isola Comacina

This contour line is a dynamic score for a bio-electronic synthesizer, designed to interact with slowly changing biological processes. The color of its sound changes with the growth of a mold culture, as the changes in amount, color and form are the influencing parameters. Along with the granular sound of the stone as the reproduction of a nearly inaudible movement, we hear the synthesizer as a monotonous, but slowly changing signal produced by the slow growth process of mold. However, the contour line might add more noticeable changes to the musical sequence, depending on the in real time processed coordinates of the contour line.


The above described elements - the results of the artists' experiments with light, sound and movement - are the ingrediënts of A STATE OF STABILITY. Each new expo brings new objects or new forms of existing experiments and as we speak of a 'scenography', Gert Aertsen and David De Buyser take the expo space as the starting point for the construction of each new exhibition. Depending on the context and the environment, objects and performances may alter.

On opening nights the artists are always present, performing their scenography in several ways: from Gerts' triggering events like 'Exercising Slow' and 'Daylighting' to Davids' musical interventions on his bio-electronic synthesizer, often accompanied by fellow musicians like Guy De Bièvre and Younes Zarhoni. The days after the opening A STATE OF STABILITY turns into an exhibition in which the different artefacts are the only actors.


performance at W-O-L-K-E, june 2013

action on f-box at NADINE, december 2012

A STATE OF STABILITY - scenography at NADINE, december 2012

SCREEN at NADINE, december 2012

video capture of a vibrating SCREEN at NADINE, december 2012

EXERCISING SLOW - Gert Aertsen at 2M3, october 2012


David De Buyser


Already as a teenager David De Buyser (b. 1974) plays on stage as a songwriter / guitarist / vocalist. Since the late nineties he composed more and more with electronics, synthesizer and sampler. In 2001 the electronic composition 'Structured Sound for Well-Organized People' was released. The title refers to the desire to shape the world by organizing sound. That motive is still the basis of his work. The work 'Akoestiek / Electronique' (2003) reflects a revaluation of the acoustic sound. Voices and instruments are now again equal counterparts for the electronic. Later collaborations ensure a further broadening of his sound and influences. Increasingly, other art forms get to complement the musical: interconnections of music, visual arts and theater nowadays are fertile grounds for David De Buyser's work.

In early 2008, the audio-visual installation 'Sleeplessness'in the Visual Arts Academy Anderlecht, is a first step towards a more visual track. The composition of an 8-channel piece for piano, electronics and voice forms the source for generating images. In the spring of that same year, David De Buyser participated in a live performance led by Kurt Dutré called "Red Light Project” (Q-O2, Brussels). In 2009, ACOUSTIC MIRROR _ MOSS dominates: an audiovisual installation that establishes interactions between sound and light, technology and nature. As part of this project, in August of that year there is a residency at V2 (Rotterdam, NL) and resulting presentations at Ars Electronica (Linz, AUS) and Dorkbot #4 (Brussels, BE). In 2010 the project is further developed, such as in residencies at Q-O2 (Brussels, BE) and the Verbeke Foundation (Kemzeke, BE).

2011 was a year of mostly exhibitions such as ACOUSTIC MIRROR _ PIEZO in M'Atuvu Creative Shop Window (Brussels) and at the Verbeke Gallery (Antwerp). By presenting ACOUSTIC MIRROR _ FOAM - a graphical equalizer projected on pyramidal studio foam - in the Anderlecht Academy, the artist's seeking other forms of interaction between sound and image. In addition, that same year he composes soundtracks for theater with Hanneke Pauwes 'ARENA' (Het Paleis, Antwerp) and for Sarah Dyckmans' exhibition "Gevaarlijk Jong" (Brussels and Ghent) and for the dance film "Ceci est mon corps" of Solène Coignard.

Since 2006, David De Buyser regularly works for the experimental theater company CREW/Eric Joris. He contributes to the sound- and image mix in performances as U_Raging Standstill (2006), O_Rex (2007-2008), EUX (2009) and W (2010). In 2007 David Buyser composed a soundtrack for the theater piece "From The life of the Marionets” ('t Arsenaal, Mechelen). For NIGHTSHOT, an installation by the Dutch artist Judith Nab (Théâtre Espace, Amsterdam, NL, 2007), he reworked his composition "The Railway Maintenance” to a six-minute soundtrack with extracts from Maeterlinck's Les Aveugles. The result is a black box of music and image. Other assignments include a soundtrack for FALSCH! Hanneke Paauwe (2010, KC Nona, Mechelen), music for '3:6', a dance film by Solène Coignard (2009, Kasbah de Tisselday, Marroko), a live performance with the film "Les Visages” by Valentijn Kint (2009 Off-Off Art Cinema, Ghent) and a soundscape for the performance “De zoektocht naar de verloren paling”, Iris Vancauwenberghe, Gert Portael and Chun-Hee Lommelen (2009, CC Berchem, Antwerp).

The group project "Beursplatform" (with Roel Kerkhofs) is in 2010 the harbinger of a return to more performance-oriented art forms. In this experiment, the scene is an open platform for creative interaction between different actors, sound and image. The work year 2012 confirms the return to the scene. The program includes the creation of a bio-electronic musical instrument whose sound is affected by the growth of mold. 2012 is the year in which a collaboration with Gert Aertsen establishes, resulting in the joint scenography 'A state of stability'. In residencies at Okno (Brussels, BE) and NADINE (Brussels, BE) the artists work together on their individual projects from within a common frame of reference, the perception of time. On Isola Comacina (residency from the Flemish Community) David De Buyser uses the contour lines of the surrounding mountains to serve as a graphical score for his bio-electronic synthesizer. A STATE OF STABILITY continued its tour in june 2013 with an expo/performance at W-O-L-K-E (Brussels, BE).


2012 - now

2009 - 2011

2005 - 2008


1974 °Bruges

Gert Aertsen


Born in Brasil in 1975. Involved in new media since 2001, Gert Aertsen has been working as an artist, organizer, technician and programmer, and has collaborated with different organizations.

He was part of Machine Centred Humanz, a multi-disciplinary collective of artists exploring the different fields of technology, arts, robotics, and experimental music. Mxhz = fighting a slow battle against the ancient 20th century world. They realized a long list of non - conformist projects ranging from networked audiovisual performances , sound installations to artbots . Core members of the collective were Guy Van Belle and Gert Aertsen.

He was one of the core members of Code31, an open studio for research, development and discussion about techniques and methodologies in media art. The initiative encouraged the exchange between artists from different disciplines and offered the necessary space to experiment with new technologies.

And in 2004 he co-founded OKNO, an artist run organization based in Brussels, founded as the umbrella organization for the three initiatives Looking Glass, Mxhz and Code31.

Within these various organizations Gert Aertsen was active as an organizer, curator, producer, engineer, programmer, workshop facilitator but especially as an artist .

Since 2004 he handles the media lab and he guides the students of the HISK , Higher Institute of Fine Arts.

Gert Aertsen lives and works in Brussels.


Selection 2013-2009

Selection 2009-2001

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