farmersmanual (Austria)


Formed in Vienna and Berlin in the mid-1990's, the farmersmanual collective represents media art at its most anarchistic. While being best-known for their recordings, in recent years the group have shifted their emphasis towards extensive live performances, in which imaginative computer animation, synchronized with 'chaos-particle-accelerating' music, and the overall ambience of uncontrollable technology form a seamless whole.

This globe-trotting group with a fluctuating line-up of four to five members hail from the same Mego label roster as last year's Avanto visitors Fennesz, Pita and Hecker. FM's Hiaz himself performed here as Skot. The "Megoan" mixture of noise, psychedelia and the idiosyncratic use of tools developed within academic electronic music has provided a veritable new lease of life for experimental music world-wide, and apart from inspiring a legion of copycats it has been at the forefront of the new "glitch" scene.

Of all the Mego artists, farmersmanual have been the most purposeful in distancing themselves from the traditional composition-centered approach to electronic music in favour of a more "generative" one. The concept of generative music was first brought to the attention of the mass media in the mid-1990's, when Brian Eno trademarked it and recorded an album using generative music software. In contrast, farmersmanual cross-connect several computers and programs, which process and filter each others' partly random sound- and image-producing data, with the same ultimate objective: minimizing the need for human interference in the process of producing images and sound. Even when using digital machinery of this calibre, it is still the artists' own “preferences”, “options” and “settings” that count, i.e. the choices they make either in advance or as they go. Farmersmanual's modus operandi, though, can also allow for interactivity, and feedback from the audience:

”Our performance at Gloria will not be open to remote interaction. Our presentations at Aula will discuss a lot of these issues and demonstrate some, but the main issue here is a human interface: a more intensive contact with us for a smaller group of people. Our project is a work in progress and at Aula we want to reveal the process behind it that drives us and could possibly also drive other people. Honestly, it's also a process of understanding our own contributions to a project that has no clear definition/target. No decision, no corporation.” (Hiaz via e-mail, 19.9.2001).

Farmersmanual's always surprising 'preferences' are light years ahead of the more generic generative computer music as well as the undeveloped truisms of early interactive media art. This smorgasbord of dadaist humour, explosive noise and poetic chaos is unmissable! AN

November 8-11.11.2001 - Aula
13:00-18:00 - Live at Aula every day.

Friday 9.11.2001 - Gloria
21:00-3:00 - Avanto-Club: farmersmanual Live

farmersmanual and [The User] will participate in the Avanto Academy series of workshops. For more information about the programme of the workshops, see the Olento web page.