Every last Sunday of the month the Varia Library and the Rotterdam Electronica Depot hold Read & Repair events. Due to current circumstances, most of them have been in an online format. We invite you to visit our online space, make yourself comfortable, read or repair some things together, and share our thoughts and ideas.
In 2021 our Read & Repair sessions will be paired, we will take two months to explore one theme. During March and April 2021, we will be exploring the theme Sense-full Pedagogy. Sensory systems respond to stimuli and provide data for our perception. A sense is any of the systems involved in sensation. What do our senses read into? These sessions will choreograph unusual sources for us to read into, and care for the body that reads. Together we will ask how Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch are part of learning.
The text selection for Supreme Connections was made by Varia Library group member amy pickles, and will be co-hosted by participants and mentors of the artistic research postgraduate programme of a.pass, Bruxelles BE.
For this Read we have two groups of participants in different places, you connecting at home and a.pass together in a room with a microphone. We will be reading different words, connected through two modes of online messaging. Using the varia online radio and an etherpad to write collectively, we will use instruction and textual arrangement to live score a sonic composition for radio broadcast.
Those at home will absorb two works of north american, electronic music composer and installation artist Maryanne Amacher. We will focus on her first works, City Links, and her proposition for a media opera entitled Intelligent Life. Existing only as a storyboard, Intelligent Life was "readied for submission to directors and funders throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the opera consisted of nine one-hour-long episodes designed for television broadcast with in-home FM simulcast. As of yet, it has not been taped, recorded, or broadcast." 1
Amacher describes her other works, "I installed microphones in different remote locations. They were called City Links, and a microphone could be by the ocean in one city and then another in another city; then I would bring these remote locations together in mixing." 2 The co-hosts of this Read, participants of a.pass, will be broadcasting from another location, bringing you the sounds of that space and another reference into the mix. As Intelligent Life was intended to be a grand opera in the home, so will the participants of a.pass shape your reading experience by "supplying an ephemeral sonic world" 3 attuned to your reading.
Participants of a.pass will have read from, and made notes on, artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan's Aural Contract: Forensic Listening and the Reorganisation of the Speaking-Subject. Hamdan's text has been chosen in preparation for re-organisation from unknown authors on the pad, enacting the typed out instructions from a disembodied audience, and as reconsideration of the politics of being listened to, by those streaming the radio.
By putting these texts in conversation we want to consider developments of surveillance and machine listening, in combination with Amacher's imaginatory potential for what artificial intelligence could do for our creative capacity to make music, and our sensorial ability to connect to the world around us.
Reading & Listening Material
Our texts will be linked here, available for download, on the day of the event, as well as further information on our sources. They are being composed by Amy as she hunts through the www in search of traces of the media opera.
a.pass is an artistic and educational research environment that welcomes research practitioners in an international collaborative and trans-disciplinary program. a.pass includes two complementary structures that operate in parallel and in dialogue: the Postgraduate Program and the Research Center.
amy pickles is a participant of a.pass and the varia library group. As an artist and loosely formed educator, she works through ways to perceive colonial infrastructures we find ourselves to be a part of. In our work redistribution (of knowledge, tools, finances) and collaboration, are methodologies to refuse individual ownership.
There is no prior reading needed before we come together to Read, we experience the texts for the first time together and will send out a link for download during the event.
Date: Sunday, 28th March 2021
Time: 11:00am-13:00pm CET
NOTE: This reading session will be held in English.
The further themes we'll be looking at in 2021 are Digital Solidarity, The Automated Body, Sense-full Pedagogy and Community Memory.
The next themes we'll be looking at in 2021 are The Automated Body, Digital Solidarity, and Community Memory.
Read is alternatively guided by a Varia Library group member, the following Read (in the next month) is guided by a guest. Both sessions revolve around the same theme, with different texts and methods to read them. The guest Read session is accompanied a Repair session. The Repair session is a practical exploration of the same theme, led by a guest or a Rotterdam Eletronica Depot member. It is an active workshop you can experiment with at home, and one day in our Depot, when we can physically gather. Our next Read will be led by Katherine MacBride, and Repair by Yun Lee.
Our January-September 2021 programme is funded by Gemeente Rotterdam.
1 From Amy Cimini's abstract for In Your Head: Notes on Maryanne Amacher’s Intelligent Life in The Opera Quarterly, Volume 33, Issue 3-4, summer-autumn 2017, Pages 269–302,
2 From Alvin Lucier's Eight Lectures on Experimental Music, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Connecticut
3 From Amacher's storyboard of Intelligent Life, that I saw while the artist Stefan Maier read extracts of it out loud through youtube, while presenting during Unsound 2020 / Machine Listening Session 1, organised by Liquid Architecture.