Catalyst Symposium 2022

22 - 23 June, Funkhaus Berlin

Over two days our Creative Production (Film & Music) students present their masters degree research projects. Our masters programmes are explicitly structured around a practice-based artistic research framework. By presenting their work-in-progress in a public forum, we aim to push the students’ projects further and hone their creative research processes and skills.

Each day a mix of film and music projects will be presented, followed by a Q&A session with each presenter. We invite you to discuss their research and give feedback, furthering the depth of their artistic knowledge. Stay for a drink and further conversation, with a special DJ set from Klaas von Karlos on Thursday night.

Attend

General admission is free, but registration is required via the button below.

Wednesday 22: 12:00 - 18:00

Linn Elisabet Linderson | Alexandra Concordia | Artur Pasco | Daniel Gardner | Fabíola | Ariane Mason | Omar Gonzalez

Thursday 23: 12:00 - 20:00

Alexei Galar | Hannah Kugel | Marney Ackerman | Skyler Hill | Jenny Jo Stokka | TEDTEDTED | Klaas von Karlos (DJ set)

REGISTER HERE
Catalyst MA Symposium 2022

Presenters

Alexandra Concordia

Creative Production (Film) MA

Cecilia: How can moving image unify the spiritual, visual and auditory experience?

My current artistic practice aims to portray an experience of transcendence and personal elevation. My investigation is guided by an interest in the spiritual, religious and sacred and focuses on the portrayal of ecstasy as a moment where one achieves a sacred union with the divine. It elaborates a two-fold objective aimed at both portraying an experience of ecstasy and invoking a similarly elevating experience for viewers through the development of a short film and immersive installation. The duality of this objective has therefore created a two-part project, where the same spiritual portrayal will emerge through the exploration of two different mediums. On the one hand, I aim to develop a 15 minute short film which explores an experience of faith by reinterpreting the ‘Ecstasy of Saint Cecilia’. Similarly, I will construct an abstract portrayal of the same experience of ecstatic transcendence through an immersive audio-visual installation. As the aim is to illustrate the same spiritual experience through two different visual mediums, I have conceived of the works which can potentially be exhibited and experienced together.

/// About Alexandria

Alexandra Concordia is a filmmaker and audiovisual creative based in Berlin. After studying International Relations and Economics at the University of Exeter, she later obtained a Post-Graduate Degree in The History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, London. She would then spend the following four years working in the art world, gaining essential industry experience in both Old Masters and Contemporary Art galleries. Upon moving to Berlin in 2021, she began creating her first first visual poems and developing her MA research project, which will see the independent development and production of her first narrative short film, ‘CECILIA’ and video installation ‘VESSELS’ Her investigation is guided by an interest in the spiritual, religious and sacred, and their ability to create elevated modes of perception through feelings of reverential awe and wonder. She currently aims to combine these themes with moving image practices such as narrative filmmaking and video installations in order to explore and portray experiences of transcendence and personal elevation.

Alexandria Concordia

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Alexei Galar

Creative Production (Music) MA

Cacao: the sound of extinction

Cacao: the sound of extinction is a food and sound installation that takes you on the journey to reconnect with nature. You will discover the sweet sounds of biodiversity, as well as taste the bitter flavours of extinction that the industrial modernity has brought upon us. This installation is an immersive multi-sensory experience that brings food and sound together through their narratives in order to rethink our relationship with rituals. We must create new memories so we do not forget our past. We must become good ancestors.

/// About Alexei

Alexei Galar is a composer, sound and audio designer for film, theatre and interdisciplinary media forms. His work explores the narrative bridges that form between sound and images, video, products, food and other means of expression. Inspired by the works of Ennio Morricone, Koji Kondo and Daniel Pemberton, Alexei’s work adapts through research, conceptualisation and testing, in order to find matching sonic metaphors that will support stories and discourses. Where there is a narrative, there is a sound that perfectly embodies its essence.

Alexei Galar

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Ariane Mason

Creative Production (Film) MA

The personal is political: how does a director use their personal experience to create a film that resonates universally?

“The personal is political” was coined by second wave feminist Carol Hanisch who strongly believed that there was a link between personal experience and societal power structures. Filmmakers constantly use their own experiences and the world around them to draw inspiration from. I am interested in questioning the boundaries of what can be used for inspiration and to arrive at a deeper understanding of how to use personal experience in creating films. I will be showcasing 3 short films during the Symposium. ‘Icy’ is a screencast short which explores my sister’s experience as a trans, online sex worker. ‘Barren’ a dance piece exploring infertility, an issue I have been personally affected by. ‘Death Doula’, a fiction piece set in a hospice and exploring a complex mother-daughter relationship. Finally I will present a short intro to my feature film project ‘ Mother Rage’, currently in development phase, which delves into the world of reproductive rights.

/// About Ariane

Ariane is a multidisciplinary video director, casting director and acting coach living and working in Berlin. Her films feature complex female protagonists and explore a range of themes connected to the female experience, including motherhood, sexuality, personal family history, illness and the presentation of the female self in the online space.

Ariane Mason

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Artur Pasco

Creative Production (Music) MA

Adaptation of electronic instruments for collective improvisation in the context of acoustic instruments

Music created on acoustic instruments is dictated by the physical limitations of our body, instrument and the acoustics of the environment in which it is performed. When confronted with a set of electronic instruments, the creator may feel a lack of boundaries. Maybe limitations are what catalyse creativity? How the confrontation with electronics question the attributes of sound creation, as well as approaches to playing and composition, which in the case of acoustic instruments appear naturally? This symposium is an invitation to start a discussion on what limitations we can impose on ourselves with electronic instruments, how we can be inspired by acoustic instruments, as well as what improvisation and composition in real-time are.

/// About Artur

Artur Pasco - a drummer, electronic musician and sound engineer based in Berlin. Graduate of the Academy of Music Gdańsk in Jazz and Stage Music Faculty, winner of the main prize in the XIX Gdynia Ucho National Competition. He took lessons with such masters as Maciej Obara, Kendrick Scott, Greg Hutchinson, Mike Moreno, John Escreet, Matt Penman. Plays drums and electronics as a member of the Luba Luft and Solving Mazes. He is currently a student at Catalyst, majoring in Creative Music Production. Fascinated by the idea of human-machine interaction on stage in his music, he seeks ways to combine improvisation on electronic instruments with playing on an acoustic drum kit.

Artur Pasco

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Daniel Gardner

Creative Production (Music) MA

The cost of loudness

Popular music has evolved to survive through recent catastrophic conditions - some may be familiar this thing called ‘the loudness war’. The recorded music of the 20th century has been in a war for loudness due to the common misconception that “louder is better”. I investigate how the self-conscious mindset which subjects music to this priority follows the Capitalist narrative. Why can’t we be happy with what we have instead of sacrificing the world around us for economic growth? As my research shows, the prioritisation of loudness has also inhibited the ability to retain spatial characteristic within music. The subtle cues of spatial signatures, the same ones we use to guide us through the real world, are not reproducible in music which prioritises loudness. This has left music in a disconnect to the dimensions of reality as it moves into a fractured spatial setting maybe even a reality which reflects a hyper-stimulation. If the environment suffers under capitalism, the sonic environment suffers under loudness. Through my research and practice this project supports a profound connection between the state of the world and a changed spatial practice in music.

/// About Daniel

Daniel Gardner is a long time composer and performer of live electronic music working under the name Frivolous. Concerned with music's ability to speak to the listener in a compelling and emotional way, his approach to music has often been to mimic spatial signatures of reality, using it as a baseline to then alter the events of, and weave a fiction within this reality. The events of the loudness war as it changed spatial approaches and the whole purpose of music within a quickly changing society inspired him to engage with this subject, prove these changes occurred, and further discover possibilities within a new spatial materialism.

Daniel Gardner

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Fabíola

Creative Production (Music) MA

@fabs.asmr

@fabs.asmr is a radio role play project by interdisciplinary artist Fabíola. Sister Clara, Dr Fabi and the Space Nuns are the main characters of a sci-fi narrative, that explores Autonomous Sensorial Meridian Response (ASMR), avant-garde music and improvised acting and video using Catalyst’s radio and streaming outputs as its main medium.

/// About Fabiola

Vocalist, Sculpturer, composer, actress and dancer, Portuguese artist Fabíola is active in the experimental music scene and performance art practices. She sometimes travels and plays with her grandmother’s bed.

Fabiola

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Hannah Kugel

Creative Production (Film) MA

A feminist approach to filmmaking

My research's first objective is to create entertaining, thought-provoking and visually-striking videos that carry a feminist message and contribute to the rebuttal of sexist dynamics. I mainly focus on the conflicting pressures on women in our modern societies. The secondary goal is to explore the way filmmakers can alternate between different formats to survey their perception of a specific theme – in this case, feminism. Finally, I investigate the codes of documentary filmmaking, music videos and fiction to understand their strengths and weaknesses in communicating a political message.

/// About Hannah

Hannah Kugel is a French filmmaker based in Paris and Berlin. After a BA in Journalism and MA in Contemporary History and Politics, she worked in documentary filmmaking and production, followed by a stint in advertising which opened her work to new creative techniques and pulled her towards more artistic and personal storytelling. While she continues to explore the documentary format, her directing experience has evolved to include dance videos, music videos and short films, where she deftly mixes genres to create a colourful, playful visual landscape full of humour and poetry.

Hannah Kugel

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Jenny Jo Stokka

Creative Production (Film) MA

Jungian character studies: conscious and unconscious elements of identity presented through hybrid documentary

This project aims to capture a unique version of the character study within the genre of documentary hybrid films by utilising Jungian methods of analysis, including dream work and active imagination exercises. What can we learn about a person or character from analysing the way they interact with their external world in juxtaposition with their inner imaginations? In addition, by using various forms and techniques found in documentary filmmaking as well as fiction filmmaking, the project is able to highlight multiple facets of the subject’s identity that may be inaccessible using one form or technique alone. The overall goal is to create a richly layered film portrait of one individual’s life, identity, and psyche.

/// About Jenny

Jenny Jo Stokka was born and raised in Minnesota, USA. While completing her BA in Theatre, Jenny Jo collaborated on multiple short films and comedy sketches which were filmed for mpls.tv and participated in festivals such as MSPIFF and the Minneapolis 48-Hour Film Festival. After college, Jenny moved to NYC, where she performed improv, as well as wrote and directed sketch comedy, for seven years. Her focus pivoted from performance to filmmaking in 2019 with a particular focus on documentary. She is currently working toward a Masters degree in Creative Film Production at the Catalyst Institute in Berlin, Germany.

Jenny Jo Stokka

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Linn Elisabet Linderson

Creative Production (Music) MA

Music as gender-affirming practice - how can gender euphoria be explored through music production?

In academia, non-binary and transgender experiences are commonly pathologized in relation to the DSM-5 diagnosis Gender Dysphoria, overlooking the positive sides of gender-diverse lives. In their practice-based research, Linderson explores their own and others’ musical practice, asking how it may serve as self-care and exploration of gender-diverse identity. Applying queer- and norm critical theory, experience sampling, and auto-ethnography, Linderson sets out to gather meaning from gender-diverse artworks and creative processes, to suggest methods and pedagogy that may be of aid for musical practitioners, educators, and caregivers. Beyond its strong academic themes, the project also serves as gender-affirmation of the research-practitioner themselves, presented by multiple compositions, as well as a live performance.

/// About Linn

Linn Elisabet is a Berlin-based producer, DJ, singer, and live performer. Led by their own ethereal vocals, raw broken beats, and immersive sound design, their contemporary and transgressive interpretation of techno strives to reimagine possibility and desire. With a classically trained past in cello and church choirs, it is a given where their reverberant soundscape has its roots. Linn Elisabet has released acclaimed works on labels such as A R T S and Unitas Multiplex, as well as their own imprint Acts of Rebellion. The label expands on Elisabet’s mission: making traditional functionality and outdated policies bow for non-compliance.

Linn Linderson

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Marney Ackerman

Creative Production (Music) MA

Curating a Twitch channel and the changing relationship between musicians and their audience

The purpose of this research is to discuss the curation of artistic content online through performance and visual art published and broadcasted on the Live streaming platform Twitch.tv . Through this, the project seeks to examine the changing dynamics between musicians and their audiences through their performance practice and discuss the implications this dynamic might have on artistic practice, interpersonal relationships and mental health. These discussions will occur in the context of broader discourse related to social media and live-streaming artists, and the context of my Twitch channel, HibanaSound, where I perform as a music streamer who‘s main practice is playing the Japanese koto (occasionally with other instruments), singing and performing improvised and semi-improvised music. The goal of discussing these aspects is to present live streaming as another viable career option for musicians.

/// About Marney

Marney Ackerman (a.k.a. Hibana) is a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who composes and produces ambient-pop music where she highlights the use of her voice and the Japanese Koto. Her main practice is on her twitch channel twitch.tv/HibanaSound where she weaves the koto, her voice and other instruments into different genres of music through improvised performance. Marney Ackerman has been classically trained in the art of koto-playing by Yuri Vaughn since 2016, has a Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico.

Marney Ackerman

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Omar Gonzalez

Creative Production (Music) MA

CODEX

This project revolves around a critical reading of several time periods in Mexico’s history reflecting upon its interaction in regards to the notion of pre-hispanic music. These different eras are defined by strong movements that made changes not only on a political level but also in the way citizens interacted with cultural artefacts such as music. This type of artefact has been around many centuries before the insertion of western forms and had been negotiating itself ever since. In this regard, the notion of the ‘pre-hispanic’ has ranged from the active erasure to the outer most romanticised upbringing; corresponding directly to the main political doctrines of each epoch. This project aims to share a post-colonial reading that far from neglecting realities different from their own, advocates for a constant, fair, and responsible approach to culture-making and cultural appreciation.

/// About Omar

With an incredible inability to focus on any specific task, I’ve been engaging as a musician in different practices such as choral music, opera singing, production, and playing several instruments for different projects. Ranging from performing in several national venues (in Mexico) and even outside my country to arranging and producing several EPs my journey in music is yet quite young but very enthusiastic. This reality in conjunction with an enormous interest in culture and its symbiotic interaction with societies makes for my life's greatest drive. That of understanding why I do what I do.

Omar Gonzalezar

Skyler Hill

Creative Production (Music) MA

Making sounds at a distance: bluetooth speakers s a tool for sonic interaction

Bluetooth speakers are objects that have become more and more present in the ways that sound can be transported from one device to another. While focusing on the development of new and novel methods in which this technology can facilitate interaction between people through sound, I will share both thoughts and real-world examples of how my research in this area has developed. The bluetooth speaker and its unique considerations in this context will be discussed, and a primary focus will be on the nature of the social results that it provides. Additionally, the space and environment in which the interactions take place will be considered, discussing ways in which they may be allowed to happen both up close and at a distance.

// About Skyler

Skyler Hill (they/them) is a sound maker, songwriter, improviser, and electroacoustic pop musician who is deeply interested in the dissolution of sonic, social, and performative boundaries. Under the name Wavy Enneper, they recently completed a concept EP which documents the process of trans becoming through the musical embodiments of anxiety, euphoria, and self acceptance. Currently, they are also pursuing research into interactive musical spaces and creating a new form of musical game, titled ‘house’, which questions the audience-performer binary and allows for experimental forms of participation.

Skyler Hill

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TEDTEDTED

Creative Production (Music) MA

Katopia - a sonic fiction

This project focuses on transforming a traumatic experience into a sonic fiction. Through sound, it aims on designing an imaginary virtual environment. The fiction entails of a shared experience, a sort of common audiovisual hallucination. Galvanised by the Beirut Port Explosion, an enthralling dramatisation of trauma embodied in a trinity of warring humanoid machines, whose complexity was not computational but emotional. This realm was described as neither bliss nor despair, heaven nor hell. It is simply other; characterised by the miraculous fact of survival and, crucially, freedom; it is a below-place; it is Katopia.

/// About TEDTEDTED

Teddy Tawil aka TEDTEDTED is a Lebanese multi-instrumentalist and electronica artist, currently residing in Berlin. Initially a drummer, recent years have seen him expand his musical universe, teaching himself the piano, synths, software and electronics. Therefore acquiring the unique ability to combine a complex sense of rhythm with a particular understanding of sound design resulting in an intricate, soulful and distinctive sound. He is presently experimenting with wavetable and FM synthesis and the concept of sonic fiction. Teddy’s first album CAMA was released with the Lebanese independent label Ruptured Music. His work has been presented at venues in Berlin such as Panke Culture, Arkaoda, Kulturhaus Kili as well as in clubs and cultural spaces in Beirut. He also co-wrote with post-rock electronic group Kinematik their two latest records.

TEDTEDTED

Programme

Wednesday 22 June

11:30 - 11:55: Doors open

11:55 - 12:00: Welcome & introduction from Dr Richard Scott (Programme Lead, Creative Production Music MA Degree)

12:00 - 12:30: Linn Elisabet Linderson (Creative Production Music MA), Music as gender-affirming practice - How can gender euphoria be explored through music production?

12:45 - 13:15: Alexandra Concordia (Creative Production Film MA), Cecilia: How can moving image unify the spiritual, visual and auditory experience?

13:30 - 14:00: Artur Pasco (Creative Production Music MA), Adaptation of electronic instruments for collective improvisation in the context of acoustic instruments

14:00 - 15:00: Break

15:00 - 15:30: Daniel Gardner (Creative Production Music MA), The cost of loudness

15:45 - 16:15: Fabíola (Creative Production Music MA), @fabs.asmr

16:30 - 17:00: Ariane Mason (Creative Production Film MA), The personal is political: how does a director use their personal experience to create a film that resonates universally?  

17:15 - 17:45: Omar Gonzalez (Creative Production Music), CODEX

17:45 - 19:00: Drink and meet our presenters

Thursday 23 June

11:30 - 11:55: Doors open

11:55 - 12:00: Welcome & introduction from Dr Richard Scott, Programme Lead Creative Production (Music) MA

12:00 - 12:30: Alexei Galar, Creative Production (Music) MA: Cacao: the sound of extinction

12:45 - 13:15: Hannah Kugel, Creative Production (Film) MA: A feminist approach to filmmaking

13:30 - 14:00: Marney Ackerman, Creative Production (Music) MA: Curating a Twitch channel and the changing relationship between musicians and their audience

14:00 - 15:00: Break

15:00 - 15:30: Skyler Hill, Creative Production (Music) MA: Making sounds at a distance: bluetooth speakers as a tool for sonic interaction

15:45 - 16:15: Jenny Jo Stokka, Creative Production (Film) MA: Jungian character studies: conscious and unconscious elements of identity presented through hybrid documentary

16:30 - 17:00: TEDTEDTED, Creative Production (Music) MA: Katopia - a sonic fiction

17:00 - 20:00: Drink and meet our presenters, plus DJ set from Klaas von Karlos

Find out more about our MA programmes, Creative Production Music and Film.