Work | roberto iolini media artist

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2017
Ghost of Sister Ping
Music | Video Art. A series of electronic music pieces for a multi channel video installation. Commissioned by Hong Kong artist , Katrien Jacobs. Premiered at Videotage Hong Hong. October 2017.

2015 - Present
Studio Syncandi
Writing | Music | Illustration | Sequential Art | Animation. Iolini establishes Studio Syncandi [sɪn ˈkændi], an independent artist studio based in Kyoto Japan, in order to produce and distribute his graphic novel and music project SYNCANDI. Go to website

2014
Ghosts of the Tsunami
Video Art | Sound Art | Photography. An artistic response to the phenomenon of spirit possession amongst survivors of the 11 March 2011 tsunami which killed nearly 20,000 people in Tohoku Prefecture Japan. Iolini collaborates with Kyoto based photographer White-Rice to seek out seemingly invisible entities inhabiting the Japanese landscape and to present the resulting images as a videoart work with original soundtrack.
watch video

2013
ZINC
Transmedia Work in Progress. Inspired and influenced by Japanese anime and popular culture, ZINC is intended to exist as a Platform, a simultaneously real and imagined place in which its characters, worlds and stories can flourish. Supported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Australia Council for the Arts.

2012
Barcelona Experimental Music Series
Radio Documentary. A rare opportunity to learn about the remarkable emergence and rapid growth of experimental music practice in Barcelona since 1975. The idiosyncratic history and cultural milieu of post Franco Barcelona is expressed in the unique creative approach of deep artistic, philosophical and political consideration that each artist brings to their music. This is an Australian Broadcasting Corporation commission in collaboration with Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA). info + podcasts

ZINC Song Studies
Experimental Music. A series of electronic music studies utilising Japanese synthesised singing program UTAU. Supported by The Australia Council for the Arts.

2011
Post Human TNA version
Sound Art | Experimental Documentary. Cyborgs, Androids and Humans. Late night dreamtime radio, featuring Hiroshi Ishiguro - Geminoid, Donna Haraway - Cyborg Manifesto, William Gibson - Neuromancer. Commissioned by The Night Air for Australian Broadcasting Corporation. info + podcasts

Sonic Kyoto
Soundscape composition. From ancient temple bells to futuristic electronic games, Sonic Kyoto examines how sound can be used as a means of control, protection, pleasure and escape. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. info and listen

2010
Geminoid Tear
Video Art. An android couple question their love. Featuring real androids shot on location at ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories. Kyoto, Japan. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation. watch video

Post Human
Radio Documentary. Scientists at the cutting edge of robotics express their hopes and fears about a future in which the lives of humans and robots are inextricably entwined.
Featuring interviews with Hiroshi Ishiguro of 'Geminoid' fame, roboticists and anthropologists. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation. info + podcast

2009
The Masked Woman of Kyoto
Video Art. Today in Kyoto and elsewhere on planet earth. A woman dons a black mask and gloves and ventures out into to a bright and dangerous world. The mysterious qualities of her dark accessories render her impenetrable to all…Commissioned by Extra/Ordinary Dress Code: Costuming and Second Skin in Asia. Symposium and Exhibition Hong Kong.
visit website

The Veena: Instrument of Devotion
Documentary music feature for radio and online. Focuses on the life and music of renowned 87 year old female veena virtuoso Kalpakam Swaminathan. She is amongst a dwindling group of older generation Carnatic (South Indian) musicians dedicated to maintaining, through teaching and performing, the 500 year lineage of Carnatic music tradition. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. info

Dream City
Mobile Phone Video Art. Kyoto 10 years from now. Created for Kyoto City Hall Imagine you + Kyoto in 10 years project.

2007 - 2008
The Hong Kong Agent
Transmedia Art. A cross-media multi-platform art project about China's special administrative region (SAR) Hong Kong. It can be experienced as a video art series, gallery installation, radio program, online interactive & locative media. At the heart of the project are eighteen audio-visual episodes that follow the adventures of an enigmatic protagonist, simply referred to as the agent. His poetic renderings of what he experiences, and the stories and dialogues of numerous characters he encounters reveal the richly layered complex world of Hong Kong. Supported by Arts & Culture Outreach Hong Kong, Asialink residency through the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australia-China Council through DFAT, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Australia. visit website

Silk on Wood
Music | Video | Documentary. Explores the cultural milieu surrounding the Qin (chin) with silk strings, a 3,000-year-old, seven-stringed, fret-less Chinese zither. Silk on Wood focuses on a small group of musician scholars living in Hong Kong, dedicated to maintaining the Qin tradition passed on to them by their master Madame Tsar Teh-yun. Listeners are afforded the rare privilege of entering the very private world of the only surviving Silk String Qin society, to witness the dedication and resilience of this reclusive community in the face of the behemoth that is New China. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. website you can also listen


2006
The Holographic Ear - Short Film Version
Experimental Film. Mn is sleeping in bed. The sun is rising on another apparently normal day, outside the birds are singing. He begins to stir, there's something odd about the birdsong - sounding more like a complex musical composition it gradually builds in intensity, as it reaches a crescendo Mn wakes up with a start. Thus begins a journey of transformation in which Mn is subjected to a series of extraordinary encounters which force him to confront the nature of reality and perception.

Vaganza Malti (Maltese Holiday)
Video Art. Shot entirely on location in Malta & Gozo in 2004. Vaganza Malti (Maltese Holiday) is a poetic audio visual montage exploring contrasting aspects of Maltese culture. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Wounding Song
Radio Documentary. Includes a music feature for radio and website exploring the vibrant phenomenon of Ghana (pronounced /a:na/), Maltese vernacular singing. Ghana is a living art - simultaneously music, song and performance, deriving its vitality from immediacy and context. Ghana contains a passion, which reflects the heartbeat of the people, and their endurance through the years as a nation. Ghana is music of survival, from quaint rural setting, to gritty dockland bar, to a backyard garage in an Australian suburb. Commissioned and produced for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. info + podcast

Rise above the Living
Music | Sound Art | Drama. The work is a response to Iolini's experiences while working at John Northcott Place, the first high-rise public housing estate in Sydney, Australia. Rise above the Living traces the history of Northcott told from the point of view of the building itself - the Building as a living organism, a witness - keeper of secrets and knowledge. The music is a mixture of melodic electronic chamber music and musique concrete. Iolini was musical director/composer on Big hArt multi-media theatre production, for the 2006 Festival of Sydney. Commissioned and produced for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2005
The Holographic Ear - Radiophonic Version
Music | Sound Art | Drama. Explores the nature of psychic transformation using sound as the catalyst. Radiophonic component commissioned and produced for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Black Sheep
Video Art. Through the extraordinary testimonies of aboriginal teenagers we become witnesses to a world in which the interviewees are continually told that they are surplus to requirements.
Black Sheep uses materials gleaned from an arts project I was involved with involving young people in and around the notorious Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre situated in Darwin, Australia. The project was run by Big hArt Inc a non-profit arts organisation that collaborates with communities, groups and individuals to produce art with people experiencing the effects of marginalisation in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. Photographer Randy Larcombe and I collected image and sound material for the project. This material has also been used to produce a multimedia theatre work, a radiophonic composition and sound/image installation work. watch video


Songs from Hurt
International release of Iolini's second solo album on British avant garde music label ReR Megacorp. Available now online from ReR website. 'Songs from Hurt is a troubling masterpiece'~ François Couture, All Music Guide. Read review

Radio Holiday

Musical Direction | Music | Sound Art. Iolini produces 16 short sound works for BighArt inc. and Tasmanian arts festival 'Ten Days On The Island'. Radio Holiday is a multi-artform project combining sound works, video, photography, painting and theatre around the subject of 'shacks'. Across Australia, shacks in isolated locations have held a unique place in our culture. They are often the keepers of secrets, the location for celebration, symbols of individualism over the state, improvised architecture, hideouts, places for growing up, and sponges for nostalgia. As avarism sweeps the coastal fringe, shacks are falling victim to the national retreat from community to individualism.

A Shack at the Edge of the World
Sound Art | Experimental Radio Documentary. A radio feature based on Iolini's experiences in Tasmania's remote north west shack communities. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Shacks
Sound Art | Experimental Radio Documentary. Radio feature exploring the idea of home. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2004
Zeppelin Sound & Media Art Festival
Iolini is invited to this annual sound art festival in Barcelona to present his latest sound/image/text work in progress ARCHAEOLOGY: The City That Never Was and to conduct a series of workshops.

Forat de La Vergonya
Video Art. Forat de La Vergonya is Catalan for hole of shame. It's a residential area right in the heart of the medieval part of Barcelona called El Born. It's a big tourist area but Forat de la Vergonya is located down some back streets and seemingly invisible. The plaza is actually a huge demolition site, a wasteland surrounded by ruins. Supposedly the area is being redeveloped for the low income communities who live there, but there is cynicism from some quarters about the sincerity of local government's intentions. The residents whose houses were spared the initial re-development live on the edge of this desolate expanse. The community is made up of mainly immigrants from North Africa, Dominican Republic, locals and squatters. The work we made focuses on the fragile gardens that the squatters and locals planted. The gardens are a poignant symbol of both resistance and resilience as they struggle to survive in the hostile environment of Forat de la Vergonya. The work is the result of a 3 day workshop Iolini gave at the Zeppelin 2004 Sound & Media Art Festival in Barcelona. watch video

The Sound of Forgetting - Sonic Artefacts #1
Sound Art | Experimental Drama. The Sound of Forgetting is a non linear narrative work that uses 'lost sounds' from Sydney's past, media archives and scripted dialogues to explore issues of identity - property ownership - denial of history - corporate greed - legal and illegal violence - government cynicism - loss of self, function and place - mass media - the relevance of art - colonialism - surveillance - social engineering - public space. In the work, the character of Sha and her alter ego A'Shamedia function as a vehicle to convey Iolini's concerns about contemporary western urban life. Sydney is the space that the character inhabits and acts as a kind of generic city model. The protagonist's inner dialogues, which consist of rephrased quotes and original text, relate not only to herself, but to Sydney, both metaphorically and literally. Sha in a sense, is a media archaeologist excavating sociopolitical events. During the process she is also on an internal journey, excavating parts of herself. Through her thoughts, discoveries and creative output we are taken on a journey that embraces universal concerns which affect many of us today. Produced while Iolini was New Media Artist in residence at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's acoustic arts program The Listening Room.Read Transcript

2003
Barcelona Artist's Residency
Iolini is artist in residence at Orquestra del Caos an organisation dedicated to artistic research in the field of sound & media art. Based at CCCB (Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona). For three months beginning in October 2003 Iolini researches and develops skills, focusing on the theme of 'narrative in new media'. He investigates what new languages can result from the layering and juxtaposition of sound and image. The project is made possible with the assistance of the The Australia Council for the Arts New Media Fund.

New Media Artists Residency
The Australia Council for the Arts and Australian Broadcasting Corporation appoint Iolini as New Media Artist in residence at The Listening Room. Iolini develops The Sound of Forgetting (sound) and The City That Never Was (video) . These large scale works juxtapose sound image and text to create new meanings. They are in minutely detailed works presented in episodic form. The Sound of Forgetting was the nominated for the 2005 Karl Sczuka Prize.

Beasty Grrl (Beasty Girl)
Iolini composes music and sound design for this multimedia play about the life of Errol Flynn as an allegory for the apparent self destructive tendency of humankind. Iolini's vision for this project is to allow realtime interactive performance between actor, musician and video artist. Beasty Grrl is written and directed by Scott Rankin. The play is toured nationally throughout 2003 and wins the 'Green Room' award for best innovative theatre for 2003.

Goddesses & Rabbits
A music/sound/text composition. Goddesses and Rabbits is Iolini's homage to his mother, to all mothers and to Malta - the island of the Great Goddess. Iolini takes us on a personal and at times surreal voyage of (re)discovery to his mother's homeland, the island of Malta. Along the way we encounter mysterious 7000-year-old megalithic goddess temples, Madonna cults, rabbit restaurants, and an eclectic assortment of characters. This is a work that is simultaneously travelogue, drama, fiction, documentary, biography and contemporary opera! Goddesses and Rabbits extends the boundaries of what traditionally defines a musical composition, using spoken word, songs, field recordings, electro-acoustic textures, improvised and detailed scored performances. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Limbo Dub
Radio Art composition for experimental radio program The Night Air. Exploring the concept of Limbo. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2002
Malta: In-Land
Sound Art | Experimental Documentary. A sound work commissioned by the Dutch broadcaster Netherlands Program Service (NPS) for their new music program Supplement. The work is Iolini's personal response to Ghana (pronounced /a:na/). The living folk music practice of the Maltese. For this project Iolini travelled from Australia to his mother's homeland, the island of Malta, to record ghana practitioners, aficionados, commentators and environments. Go to website

Leaves Falling At Midnight
Iolini is musical director, composer and sound designer for Scott Rankin and Glynn Nicholas' multimedia play.

Museum
Sound Art | Experimental Radio Drama. Created for experimental radio program The Night Air. Explores the concept of the Art Museum. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2001
IOLINI solo album
International release of Iolini's first solo album on British avant garde music label ReR Megacorp. Available now online from ReR website."Iolini represents a new breed of electroacoustic composer who puts his heart as well as his intellect into his work, and composes from a broad cultural perspective." Bill Tilland BBC. Read review

Black Sheep
A music/sound/text composition. Based on Iolini's experiences working in Darwin with young people in and around the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre. The work asks questions about Mandatory sentencing, society's youth persecution complex, lack of adequate communication and interpreting systems for indigenous people, why so many indigenous people in custody? Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Heartwork
Musical Composition. Explores important issues facing marginalised young people in the Australian community. The work centres around eight 'songs' each containing a recording of a young person narrating an experience of family violence or disfunction. The vocal recordings were taken from the film soundtrack of 'Hurt' the award winning feature length docu film directed by Phillip Crawford. For Heartwork the music in each song was derived from the rhythmic and melodic patterns inherent in each speaker's speech patterns. The piece is partly composed of materials gathered during the development and final production of the 'Big hArt Works' project performed at the 2000 Adelaide Festival, Australia. Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2000
Okinawa
Composition for violin, piano, bass clarinet and cello. Commissioned by Danish New Music Ensemble Nordlys. The piece is based on an Okinawan folk song. Premiered in Copenhagen 18 June 2000 with Iolini in attendance.

Big hArt Works
Iolini directs and composes the music and sound design for this large scale multimedia theatre piece for award winning outsider theatre company Big hArt Inc. The work focuses on cruelty, beauty and isolation as seen through young eyes. It premieres at the Adelaide International Arts Festival 2000 and is one of four critically acclaimed shows at the festival.

Wrong way Go back!
Iolini is commissioned by award winning outsider theatre company Big hArt Inc to compose and direct the music and sound for this multimedia theatre piece. The work is based on the experiences of inmates, former inmates and potential inmates of Darwin's notorious Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre. Iolini acts as arts mentor (composition, recording & production) to the core group of young people involved in the project both inside Don Dale and in Palmerston City. The project is funded by the Australian Immigration Department as part of its Living in Harmony initiative. It is premiered at the Darwin Entertainment Centre on August 23.

Fire, Water, Speed
Three short electronic pieces composed in collaboration with writer Scott Rankin through workshops with young people in Palmerston, Darwin as part of the local government's Literacy Week. The pieces were broadcast on ABC's national youth radio 2JJJ.

1999
Marking Time
Music/sound/text composition. In a world constantly on the brink of, and undergoing, minor and major apocalypses, the periods before and after the new millennium act as focal points. These periods allow an intensification of multiple simultaneous apocalyptic activity, both actual and rhetorical. Why do humans, particularly in western culture, feel the need to manifest such apocalyptic activity? Marking Time delves into the human condition with particular focus on the nature of power, change and transformation. Marking Time was nominated for the 2000 Karl Sczuka Prize.

Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Excerpt released on solo album IOLINI electroacoustic, chamber ensemble, soundscapes and works for radio. Available now online from ReR website.

The Cavern of I.
Composition for Violin, piano & electronics. Commissioned by Danish duo Musica Mirabilis. World Premier at The Copenhagen Radio Hall. Denmark. 9th May 1999.

1998
Silent Motion
Experimental Radio Drama. Composition for voice, keyboards and sampler. "Silent Motion is a lyrical, critical, and often amusing guide to society's expectations as to the proper place of music in film. Focusing on the silent film era as an historical juncture which all but sealed the fate of film scoring, Iolini adjusts the lense and turns up the volume to assert music's potential as more than just a supporting player. Iolini creates strange, wonderful and at times touching music from sampled projectors, pianos and a 1927 fotoplayer. Silent Motion lampoons those who would set up hierarchies in art." Limelight Magazine Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Released on Iolini's 2005 solo album 'Songs from Hurt'. Available now online from ReR website.

Happy Water Sad Water
Surround sound installation for voices, found sounds and five CD players. Commissioned by Big hArt for the Manly Arts Festival and Carnivale. Sydney, Australia.

1997
The Edwin Armstrong Overture
Electroacoustic composition. Edwin Armstrong was the inventor of the frequency modulation (FM) system. The basis for almost all radio, radar, and television reception. His story is one of genius, obsession, betrayal and tragedy. After inventing FM, Armstrong had a vision of replacing the then inferior AM system with the far superior FM. Unfortunately, the Radio Corporation of America, under the advice of David Sarnoff, a twenty-five year friend of Armstrong's and president of RCA, had other plans. Even though they had funded Armstrong's research, RCA decided it would be unprofitable for them to switch from AM to FM. And so began the endless legal battles over patents, between Armstrong and RCA. Even when RCA developed television, which relied on FM for its reception and transmission, they refused to pay Armstrong his rightful royalties. Twenty-three years to the day after patenting FM, exhausted and out of hope, frustrated by all the litigation, Armstrong put on his hat, coat, scarf and gloves and walked out of his apartment window, 13 floors to his death. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Released on solo album IOLINI electroacoustic, chamber ensemble, soundscapes and works for radio. Available now online from ReR website.

Hong Kong: City in Between
1997 has become a focus a cause, a point in space a date to live by. At midnight of June 30 1997, the British colony of Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty. As the 'Pearl of the Orient' however, it is a jewel that must be both incorporated into the body of China, and sealed off from it. The political and public ritual of the handover has been well documented. City in Between transforms into music and sound, the more subjective experiences and ambiguities experienced by Hong Kong people. The work is based on field recordings made by musician & social researcher Dr. Phillip Mar, who was in Hong Kong conducting PhD research on Hong Kong emigration. Robert Iolini has collaborated with Phillip to create a work in which Hong Kong voices and sounds, transmuted by sampling, manipulated as elements for further improvisation and composition, trace the trajectory of a city and people whose destiny remains unknown. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Released on solo album IOLINI electroacoustic, chamber ensemble, soundscapes and works for radio. Available now online from ReR website.

1996
Impermanence
Experimental Music. Composition for voice, flute, violin; hurdy-gurdy, soprano and alto saxophones, Qin (Chinese zither), guitar midi controller, emax sampler. Iolini recasts Ted Hughes’ poem A Disaster and snippets from the Jean-Luc Godard films Vivre sa vie and Le Mépris, into a musical meditation on the impermanence of life and love. The composition is in four movements. Each movement places the texts in highly contrasting musical settings that seek to generate a symbiotic relationship between music, sound and text, where music functions not merely as an accompaniment to the narrative, but where the two are inextricably interwoven. Featuring members of seminal Australian experimental performance ensemble Machine For Making Sense.
Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Nominated for the 1996 Prix Italia, Naples, Italy.

Even Bodhisattvas get the Blues & Meetings with Him
Chamber Music. Two compositions for Trombone, Vibes and Cello or Piano. Commissioned by the Australian new music ensemble Pipeline.

1995
Whyitiso & Lingo Babel & Congo & Zimbabwe
Chamber Music. Four compositions arranged for Australian ensemble Synergy Percussion. Premiered at The Enmore Theatre, Sydney 29 October, 1995.

1994
Vanunu
Opera. An opera for radio for three singers, samplers, digital editor and radio archival material. In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu revealed to Britain's Sunday Times, corroborated with photographic evidence gathered while employed as a technician in Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, that Israel was engaged in the production of offensive nuclear weapons, unknown to the rest of the world and unknown to the population of Israel itself. He was kidnapped by Israel's secret service and returned to face trial. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison and is currently in his 6th year of solitary confinement.
The story of Vanunu embraces a comprehensive array of 20th Century obsessions and phobias - nuclear war, technology, religion, racism, human rights, democracy - in particular raising questions about the meaning of democracy without freedom of information and freedom of speech. It also embodies issues of individual conscience, risk, sacrifice and the enactment of ideology.
Co-written with D.Nerlich. Commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Carne Bianca & Lingo Babel
Two compositions for violin, piano, bass clarinet and saxophone. Commisioned by Australian new music ensemble austraLYSIS . Performed, 27 August 1994.

1993
Anyong Arrirang
Composition for violin and piano. Premier performance by Ensemble Nordlys at Toldkammeret, Elsinore. Denmark. 19 May 1999.

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