The Staalplaat label from Amsterdam is one the main sources of the kind of music on which Avanto has traditionally concentrated. Established in 1982, the legendary imprint has released over 300 albums of noise, industrial, experimental techno, sound art, symphonies for office printers… Much like peers Mego and Touch, Staalplaat has excelled in inventive packaging, somethimes using unconventional materials like leather, glass, wood, metal, and sandpaper. One of the founders and the current label boss Geert-Jan Hobijn are graphic artists themselves - and he still designs the cover art for all Staalplaat releases. In the year 2000 he started making his own sound art performances under the moniker Staalplaat Soundsystem. In the Kiasma Theatre he will perform a new commissioned piece called Avantilator for one hundred office fans.
Previous highlights of Staalplaat Soundsystem performances include the very peculiar A Composition for Eight Refrigerators, performed at the German Garage festival, and Sweet Sissy and the Ballroom Hiss, performed at the Belgian Vooruit Geluid festival. The latter starred 12 large floor polishers, making their characteristic noises and dancing like ravers on their own in the middle of a hall usually reserved for raves and rock concerts. On the balcony and the stage Hobijn had placed smaller gadgets such as coffee machines and food mixers, which, directed by Hobijn, commented with their own noises on the goings-on on the dancefloor.
Within the current mood of worshipping the latest technology in media art, Staalplaat Soundsystem provides a breath of fresh air, reminding us of the 100-year tradition of noise-making machines and junk art, in which "mad" inventors and various kinds of artists operating in the margins of the art world meet.
Apart from Hobijn himself, Avantilator also features the English visual artist Carlo Crovato, acting here as Hobijn's technical assistant. The lighting is designed by Mikko Hynninen, who collaborated with Canadians Thomas McIntosh and Emmanuel Madan for the last two Avanto Festivals, in the performances of Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers and Ondulation. Avantilator is a mixture of a sound art installation and a live concert. The audience is free to mingle among the fans or stay anywhere they like in the theatre to take in the performance.