The Occupation: Audiovisual performance artist

Published:  June 12, 2012
The Occupation: Audiovisual performance artist

Failing as a heavy metal drummer in his teens led Robin Fox to pursue a career combining his love for both audible and visible art, proving that laser artistry can exist outside of the Star Wars paradigm.

Words: Robin Fox

Started out: I’ve been playing music in some form or another for as long as I can remember, but I usually trace the beginnings of my obsessive relationship with sound back to my early teens and my failed attempts to be a heavy metal drummer. Endless hours spent in headphones trying to master the various fills, that’s where it all started really and I’ve maintained my interest in sound intensity ever since. I don’t seem to listen to much metal anymore though.

From there I had a few strange years – I went to law school, only to find myself at La Trobe University studying composition a few years later. It’s been a convoluted path. It was that first year at La Trobe where the feeling that I had found what it was that I wanted to do for the rest of my life really galvanised; however, it was another three years before I bought my first computer. Now, of course, the laptop is my weapon of choice.

Big break: Ha! Well, that’s all relative really, there have been a couple. I remember being thrilled years ago when Mark Harwood of Synaesthesia Records (a boutique experimental music store and label) decided to release an album I’d made with Anthony Pateras. It wasn’t exactly a big break, but at the time it felt huge, like we were being welcomed into some sort of fraternity.

Then there was Mortal Engine (a dance- video-music-laser performance by Chunky Move), which was my first collaboration with [Chunky Move founder] Gideon Obarzanek. That was a pretty huge project for me and felt like an initiation of sorts into a different context for exploring the relationship between sound and image.

Current project: I work on multiple projects currently. I have a residency with Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart where I’m sonifying and visualising wave data collected by buoys in the Southern Ocean. I’m developing a new work with choreographer Stephanie Lake, which I am very excited about. I’m also trying to find ways to move the Giant Theremin project forward and I’m always working on new sounds and ways to visualise them.

Favourite project: There have been too many favourites. Recent highlights have been the Giant Theremin project for the City of Melbourne, the residency with the Bionic Ear Institute last year, diffusing a live Pierre Henry performance at the recent MONA FOMA festival, the soundtrack for Chunky Move’s Connected and, of course, the development and touring of my laser show.

What’s next: I’m finishing the first development of A Small Prometheus, then installing a new AV (audiovisual) work called zero-crossing in the Long Gallery in Hobart before launching into new works with choreographers Antony Hamilton and Lucy Guerin. I have some time mid-year to develop new laser work before more touring in the second half of the year, capped off with a month long residency with Cryptic Theatre Company in Glasgow. Fun times ahead.

All images copyright Lasse Marhaug.

From desktop magazine.

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