Residentie Robert Henke

Lasers, mist, sound! German musician Robert Henke (one of two of techno duo Monolake) believes in music as an overwhelming super experience. His concerts combine music with lasers and mist and cannot be missed.

Robert Henke creates abstract digital music and is the main guest of the 2016 ICMC (International Computer Music Conference), that took place in TivoliVredenburg in September 2016. During his residentie, Robert Henke performed Lumière: an audiovisual piece for lasers and sound. And even more promising: Robert Henke presented Lumière in a totally revised version in the perfectly suitable Grote Zaal of TivoliVredenburg! Next to this, Henke participated in various talks of the ICMC and he met with students of HKU to talk about the technical aspects of his work.

Residentie programme
– Concert: 15 sept, 21.30 uur, Grote Zaal, TivoliVredenburg
As part of the ICMC 2016 Robert Henke presented his latest brainchild Lumière II.2, a show that surpasses all previous versions. A visionary audiovisual work that you can not miss!

Prior to the concert, Robert Henke introduced his work as such: “The first ICMC I visited was Hong Kong in 1996. Everyone who made computer music had to deal with limitations. Everything was limited: computers were slow and expensive. What I do now would have been impossible. Today’s lasers did not exist, today’s laptops did not exist. Nowadays, however, we do have another problem: abundance. Everthing you want is possible. And that is a problem, because it is nice to work with limitations. It’s good to struggle with them. That’s why I am happy to work with lasers: they are limited. My four lasers move thanks to fur mechanical mirrors. Is the sky the limit? No, those four machines are the limit.”

Alle foto’s: © Mahmoud Forouhi.

Before he started the show, Robert Henke urged the audience not to use their phones and other screen during the performance: “The hall must remain as darkened as possible. If you take pictures or videos, you ruin the show for your neighbours. But do not worry; I will do an encore and then you may take as many photos as you want.” That resulted in this clip:


Some tweets:

The audience rewarded the performance with a standing ovation and immediately came to Henke for photos and questions.

Alle foto’s: © Mahmoud Forouhi

Talk: 16 sept: 16 september, 14.30, Club Nine, TivoliVredenburg
The day after the successful show of Lumière, Robert Henke held a presentation of his work. He discussed his ideas and vision with the audience, and answered their questions.

Some of his quotes:

– “The medium ‘laser’ is not in itself the issue, I want to use this because of an artisitc point of view.”

– “The complexer the shape gets the more time it takes to beam it. So time is the actual challenge.”

– “There are 2 things I didn’t want: 1. Write a musical score and creat a laser show with it. 2. Create a lasershow and write a musical score with it. It’s not going in different steps, I wanted something more integrated.”

– “The light can do things which are not really exicting. You see things which are not there, it’s like a visual mind fuck. I find this super fascinating!”

– “I always try to find a balance between complexity and simplicity.”

RH TiVre

About Lumière
Lumière is an audiovisual composition for lasers and sound. The building blocks of the piece are a new type of events, a compound of visual shapes and a sonic counterparts. The work is based on hundreds of these audiovisual ‘notes’, to create a previously unseen and highly synchronized immersive experience. The lasers project on a large screen, partially obscured by a wall of fog, which also makes the intensive beams of light visible in the air, connecting the lasers in the back of the room with the front, forming fragile temporary objects above the audience. The special quality of the laser light allows to combine complete darkness with moments of extreme brightness, pure white with intense saturated colors and precise movements with complex organic shapes.

About Robert Henke
Robert Henke is an artist working in the fields of audiovisual installation, music and performance. He was born 1969 in Munich, Germany, and lives in Berlin. Coming from a strong engineering background, Henke is fascinated by the beauty of technical objects and developing his own instruments and algorithms is an integral part of his creative process. His materials are computer generated sound and images, field recordings, photography and light; transformed, re-arranged and modulated by mathematical rules, real time interaction and controlled random operations. For the past few years, Robert Henke has been exploring the artistic usage of high power lasers in his installations and performances. The results include music on the edge of contemporary club culture, surround sound concerts and compositions in the tradition of academic computer music.

About ICMC
Since 1974, the International Computer Music Conference has been the major international forum for the presentation of the full range of outcomes of technical and musical research, both musical and theoretical, related to the use of computers in music. This annual conference regularly travels the globe, and in 2016 the conference was welcomed to the city of Utrecht.

HKU University of the Arts and Gaudeamus
It is precisely the combination of knowledge and culture characterising the ICMC that brought together Gaudeamus and HKU University of the Arts Utrecht Music and Technology as co-producers for setting up this conference in 2016. Gaudeamus focuses on the young music makers of today. The Gaudeamus Muziekweek is an annual festival that takes place at the beginning of September. It brings together young composers from all over the world in workshops and seminars, and presents their music to interested audiences in a wide range of concerts and presentations.