Digital Care: Dick Raaijmakers

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Digital Care: Dick Raaijmakers. A collaboration between LI-MA x Royal Conservatory x DCR

Ideophones and Raaijmakers concept of the double-pulse
Thursday, 1 June, 2023
DCR Workshop, Kleine Veenkade 60, 2518PK The Hague
Doors open: 19:30
Programme starts: 20.00
Entrance: Free, RSVP by clicking HERE by 29 May to secure your spot
Lecture Programme: Bram Vreven (Artist) and Johan van Kreij (Sonologist) with a mini concert by Robert Pravda (Sonic Artists/Performer) and Johan van Kreij.

— Programme

On 1 June, the next event in our Digital Care programme is dedicated to Ideophone I by Dick Raaijmakers. Its reconstruction as well as  accompanying artistic approaches will be highlighted at DCR in The Hague. Considered a great innovator, Dick Raaijmakers (Maastricht, 1930-2013) worked across multiple disciplines and created connections between visual arts, film, literature, theatre, and the world of music. He also expressed his ideas in numerous lectures, articles and books. Until he retired in 1995, he was a guest lecturer at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, at its departments of composition, the Institute of Sonology, and the ArtScience Interfaculty.

Dick Raaijmakers, Ideophone I. Photo by Bram Vreven, Ideophone renovation project 2

Ideophone I is part of Raaijmakers’ monumental sound-installation-triptych called Three Ideophones. In anticipation of the upcoming REBOOT exhibition, Ideophone I is currently undergoing conservation research and treatment that focuses mainly on solving unwanted self-destructive properties of the work. During one of the aforementioned technical research processes, one of the hidden clues released by the work surprisingly confirmed a presumed connection with Raaijmakers composition series ‘5 canons’ which is largely based on Raaijmakers concept of ‘the double pulse’. Under certain circumstances, one of the current research-prototypes actually behaves similar to Raaijmakers customised tape recorder that he used in the sixties to experiment with double pulses as a basis for his Canon compositions. The double-pulse will therefore serve as a leitmotif in the lecture & miniconcert … with 8 different double-pulses as prime characters,

I made various structures. You have to hear them!
- Dick Raaijmakers

Dick Raaijmakers, Ideophone I. Photo by Bram Vreven, Ideophone renovation project 2

Bram Vreven will give a talk which guides us through the current reconstruction research on Ideophone I. As an artist Vreven focuses on sound art, kinetic art and photography. His installations contrast acoustic and electronic sounds in a refined way. Silent movement has become one of Vreven's leitmotivs. He also regularly advises artists and institutions on (re-)producing diverse media-artworks. Since 2011 he has gradually been getting involved in the quest of how to preserve Raaijmakers Three Ideophones suitable for long term presentation. 

Still from recording by Davide Ghelli Santuliana

Johan Van Kreij will introduce the principles behind the Canons, a series of five compositions by Dick Raaijmakers that reflect on the use of electronic means in music composition,  and will demonstrate the artistic relevance of these works of almost sixty years ago. The artistic output of van Kreij connects in various ways to specific elements that created the Canons. His research not only retraced the steps that Raaijmakers had taken in his attempt to formalise a method for electronic composition, it also led to the reconstruction of the work that had produced Canon-1. van Krij will perform a piece in the mini-concert on Robert Pravda’s Rotating Audio Device. See below for more information. 

Still from recording by Davide Ghelli Santuliana

Robert Pravda will perform a mini concert on his Performative installation Rotating Audio Device (R.A.D). R.A.D. is an attempt to approach sound spatialisation with one monophonic sound source  where the loudspeaker is treated rather as an instrument than as a static sound projection source. He is a member of the teaching team for the ArtScience department of the Royal Academy for Fine Arts Music and Dance in the Hague. And an active member of Tilt. The purpose of this platform has been to inspire and support artistic practice and thinking that transcends traditional boundaries associated with specific disciplines. 

Stills from recording by Davide Ghelli Santuliana

Ideophone I by Dick Raaijmakers
In the early seventies, Dick Raaijmakers created the iconic sound-installation-triptych called Three Ideophones on which he wrote:

‘The Most obvious and natural method by which to provoke a loudspeaker is a direct confrontation between the loudspeaker and itself. The loudspeaker should not take leave of its senses, it should be surrounded by them. For once the gaping loudspeaker should turn inwards and listen to itself: in short, the loudspeaker should be made to hear the sound of its own, loud voice. The Loud Speaker should be turned into a Soft Hearer, Hearer and Speaker should be joined together and, for the first time in the history of acoustic communication, the loudspeaker has found itself: it is not authoritarian, not illusionistic, not instrumental, not a conveyer, none of these things – the loudspeaker is engrossed in its own being, and hence lost to us in every function (except as a Work of Art).’

In the decades following their construction both Ideophone 1 and 2 partially got lost. In 2011, Ideophone I was reconstructed on the occasion of the Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award that was granted to Dick Raaijmakers that same year. The reconstruction was co-commissioned by the Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk).  In order to guarantee the successful operation of the work (for REBOOT and later presentations), Bram Vreven will sustain the alignment of the working parts and their operation to minimise  damage to the glass tubes and loudspeakers.

Photo by Sonia Milewska

Digital Care

Digital Care presents collaborative care for digital artworks. From March until October 2023, iconic works, including the_living (1997-1998) by Debra Solomon, Ideophone I (1970-2013) by Dick Raaijmakers and Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam (1990-present) by Remko Scha, will be researched and shown in public programmes across the Netherlands. In an open process together with artists, producers, scholars, and the public, we will explore what it means to present these works today - and in the future. Collaboration with cultural institutions is key to this project. The partners will highlight key works that connect with their program or history and reflect on them, increasing visibility and support.

The Digital Care trajectory functions as a strong basis for the run-up of the public exhibition REBOOT, Pioneering digital art, presented by Nieuwe Instituut and LI-MA. REBOOT exhibits key works from the period 1960-2000 and presents new works by contemporary makers. The exhibition presents the impact of digital technology in art and society and builds on the Digital Canon of the Netherlands, compiled by experts in 2017-2019 commissioned by LI-MA. REBOOT runs from 7 October 2023 to 1 April 2024 at Nieuwe Instituut.  

Digital Care and REBOOT are supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, Mondriaan Fund, and Network Archives Design and Digital Culture.