Pete Harden – a man on the scene – British born electric guitarist/ composer presents a new work with video by Brooklyn based artist Vandana Jain from the art collective Artcodex. Both the visual and audio elements explore the juxtaposition of formal structure, referencing traditional, classical and symbolic shapes and patterns with modern day symbols, logos and signs appropriated from multinational companies and corporations. The result is a charged display of political activism and cynicism over the growth and diminution of wealth and power.
Interview with Pete Harden:
1) What makes you passionate about making and creating new music?
Hunger for discovery. Curiosity of the unknown. Boredom with what exists (that’s my short attention span!). Principally I think it’s down to the kick you get from hearing or composing or performing something that you know is properly new, something that you know is going to scare people and thrill them in equal measure.
2) What is your earliest memory of music making?
Probably dancing to Abba’s greatest hits on a Sunday morning as a 4 or 5 year old. That might explain a thing or two.
3) How did you first come to composing?
Funnily enough, aside from having strummed a few things out on the guitar as a young teenager I hadn’t really composed until being obliged to at University. And that introduction was then through conceptual ideas about making sound, and reasons for why you might want to make that sound, rather than via a linear journey through music history to the present.
4) Tell us a little bit about the piece.
It’s music to a video by the artist Vandana Jain. It’s a short (three and a half minute) video with the self-explanatory title “The 100 Highest Grossing Corporations of the World for the Fiscal Year Ending March 2011”. Her art collective, ArtCodex had an exhibition here in The Hague and I saw this video piece from across the room and it grabbed me – then when I went for a closer look I was hooked! It resonated with a number of things I’m interested in and which I deal with also in my music: catalogues and lists; organization, form and structure; a seemingly abstract and elegantly simple surface that in fact, when you look closer, is loaded with meaning. And what I loved about the video was the multiple ways in which it could be read, and the depth that that multiplicity gives the piece. Well, I immediately asked Vandana if I could write some new music to accompany the video and she agreed, so at the Dakota Theater we’ll be playing the video with my music for the first time.
5) What is your favourite key?
Sibelius tells me it’s called “C (atonal)”.