iii Residency // Bosch and Simons Interview
Peter Bosch (1958) studied psychology at the Universities of Leiden and Amsterdam (1976-’83) and after studied sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague (1986-’87).
Simone Simons (1961) studied at the audiovisual department of the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam (1980-’85). Since 1997 they work and live in Valencia, Spain.
From 1985, the beginning of our collaboration in Amsterdam, we have been involved in performances, concerts and theatre productions. Since 1990, however, we have focused in particular on the development of autonomous “music machines”.
Cybil Scott- Normally I am used to interviewing emerging artists, but you have quite a large oeuvre of projects as an artist duo, completed in many countries. What is it that you aim to do differently for your residency at iii?
Peter Bosch- It’s the first time in my life I’m doing a month long residency. We usually work in a relatively remote village in Spain. The main difference with the situation at home is that I will see new people, share spaces and will be living in a different environment.
CS- I see that in some of your works you like to take old industrial or folk objects and make new sounds with them, what is it that excites you about reclaiming these things? Is it like recycling, but with sound?
PB- Our aim is to create music with different tools. Object with a strong character, a history are much more exciting than “artificially” constructed “instruments”. Its not so much recycling but giving them a new goal and a new soul.
CS- Where do you find most of the things you use in your artworks?
PB- Most of the works started with an inspiring experience that left a strong impression, usually a special sound experience. Then there will be a sometimes short but usually long period of ideas, some experiments and decisions about what kind of objects would work for a project.
The work we will build at iii is a continuation of a project that started in our own village in Spain. We needed metal sound chambers. We had already a small collection of found rural objects, but the whole idea suddenly accelerated after a neighbor gave us two old pans and we found our first chemical sprayer backpack. The version we will do here will be twice as big with 14 objects and many of them will be these spray machines. A lot of people in rural areas or villages have a connection with these objects from the past. Its part of the Ultimate Rural Effort series, here it will be #5, but much bigger, so it’s not 100% brand new work.
CS- What’s inside these hollow objects?
PB- Inside there’s a metal housing, with a ball turning in it. By means of compressed air it starts to move very fast and causes vibration. Those vibrators are connected to valves with a computer program that opens and closes the taps.
CS- Do all the works you use in the space reflect it somehow?
PB- We don’t do it always, but many of the works are a re-invention in a new space. A work may change a lot because of its relationship with a certain space, but technically a work is almost the same everywhere; you can work on the sound diffusion or how it looks, but it’s mostly just very site specific and depends on that. The works are modular. Almost always the first version is not the end version, we expand works because of a commission or in this case because of a residency, etc so for me to continue working on a project that’s already started is very natural, but now it’s in a new environment.
Also in different contexts the works change a lot, for example in Japan, we showed Krachtgever and there people really got scared because suddenly the things started to move and they think of an earthquake and it was just after the famous earthquake in Kobe. So it’s really interesting to see how the works change with people’s reactions in different environments.
CS- Do you consider your work to be cutting edge for the sound community? What are you doing differently than others in your field?
PB- Almost all our works work without speakers. It is all “real” sound. We put much energy in the quality of the sound our objects produce and also in the sound dynamics. We try to create a kind of living creatures with complex unpredictable behavior. It is maybe this combination of at first sight rather simple and rough, antiquated objects and a rather high-developed concept around complex behavior, order and chaos that makes our work recognizable and different.
CS- What are some of your favorite or most successful works you have made together? What makes them that way?
PB- Our most successful work is definitely the Krachtgever because it won a Golden Nica at Ars Electronica. Its size, beautiful movements and very dynamic sound make it maybe more impressive than other of our works, but in every project we try to invent something new, sometimes more spectacular and sometimes more subtle. I don’t have a special favorite.
CS- How did you start working with Simone, where did you find each other?
PB- We were living in the same squat in Amsterdam at the beginning of the 80s. Simone was studying at the art school, I was studying psychology but at the same time playing in bands. Our first project was playing together in a band. Our very first art project a slide-show with music. Our first successful art project an LP in 1985.
CS- When you first started out making these kind of artworks, what were you trying to explore? Is it still the same case now?
PB- At the beginning of our collaboration we also worked with dancers, in theatre productions, etc, and our objects were played by ourselves or other performers. What I like very much of “autonomous music machines” is that there is not the distraction of performers and their egos, once the machine is there it has it´s own life. For me this concept is maybe a “purer” form of art or at least more exciting than music composed and then performed by people or computer.
Many of our works are about interference of frequencies, often we are searching for extremely low sounds, or extremely high sounds, or extreme dynamics. We always search until we have the idea that we are bringing something new, often in a kind of unwanted area because normally with music people still want to be pleased.
CS- You’ve been working together for a long time as artists and also as partners.Do you have any separation of fundamental ideas about your works, how does it drive your processes as a duo?
PB- Most of our works start with an experience that we have lived together, or maybe first discovered by one of us and then shared. Thereafter it´s a process with ups and downs until some major steps forward are made to finally reach a state that is presentable as an artwork. I do maybe most of the practical side of the work but in the concepts and ideas behind the works Simone is at least as important. We’ve worked such a long time together, we know more or less what we want. We don’t agree always, Simone is more strict, or maybe demanding, when it comes to the visual part. We discuss, but we generally have the same opinion.
CS- What country do you prefer working in? Why?
PB- Since 1997 we have started the initial process of all works in our village in Spain. Further development of these works might be continued in another environment, but that´s not so relevant. That we have chosen Spain is maybe partly coincidence. I think that what attracts us of the rural Spain is the amount of space and the lack of control and pressure, so typical for a country like Holland.
CS- Did you ever live in the Hague?
PB- Simone lived her first 16 years in The Hague. I have never lived here, but studied sonology in 1986-87.
CS- Do you have any advice for younger artists in your field?
PB- Once you believe in an idea then don’t give up, keep on working until something maybe almost magical happens.
Connect the Dots, no patent pending#29
8 PM, October 5
Korzo theatre, The Hague
Entrance: 5 eur (Free for We Are Public members)
Including performances by Cathy van Eck, Peter Bosch & Simone Simons, BMB con., OKAPI, iii and Ymke Vertelman.
No Patent Pending is a nomadic performance series presenting radical interdisciplinary practices that engage with sound, image, space and the body. Imagining new tools to articulate everyday phenomena, extending the body, remapping sense perceptions, hacking and reinventing existing media and codes, creating time and space for events which find their preferred storage medium in the memory of participants.
Último Esfuerzo Rural V or Ultimate Rural Effort #5
November 5- 12 2017
Opening reception: Sunday November 5th at 13:00
Kruithuis, Citadellaan 7, Den Bosch
Within the program of November Music festival
Works by: Peter Bosch & Simone Simons, Mariska de Groot, Yuri Landman, ::VTOL:: (Dmitry Morozov) and Jeroen Uyttendaele
Electrical sparks, drawing machines, retro-futuristic robots, old pots and pans that sing and rattle: the rooms of the 17th century Kruithuis in Den Bosch come to life with inventions by contemporary artists working with sound, light, movement and space. Visitors will be guided on a tour around the historical building. In each room they will experience a newly commissioned installation taking forms between musical automata, object theatre and miniature total artworks. Curated by: Matteo Marangoni