Zeitung für neue und experimentelle Musik

noies chimären jasmina al-qaisi: oscillating with ioana vreme moser

Januar 2024

Jasmina Al-Qaisi went to the studio of the artist Ioana Vreme Moser in Berlin to learn about her practice of building and playing with electronic components through soldering something together. Jasmina and Ioana have more than one language in common, the following material intertwines several languages. They also share the experience of being raised in South East Europe during the transition between passed applied socialism and current neo-liberal times.
Photo by Dranau Gabriel. Musical instruments from series »Coquetta« (2021) by Ioana Vreme Moser

in black: knowledge that fixes the context in third person
in blue: poetics of soldering
in green: quotes from books
in purple: glossary of terms
in red: quotes from the artist

Sound of the oscillator
The image of the oscillator we soldered together from a sketch from 1971.

To oscillate times
To swing each other’s knowledge
To cross over the other side of silence
To swing is to loop
First to swing is to chop veggies
Then to swing
Is to bake them
And then and then and then
To listen to the flow of electricity

Ioana builds computers, computes and co-computes. That could mean that she shares with others her electronic knowledge acquired with many years of studying manuals and soldering. Besides performing in front of audiences, sharing happens through teaching workshops for which she prepares circuits that then become instruments. I share my knowledge about storks, that they don’t have vocal cords, and eat amphibians around bodies of water. Ioana conducts electricity into words and this shares her passion for oscillation.

Sound of electromagnetic mics
Electronic stork, pg 182 in Cutezatorii- Minitechnicus competition book 1971

This is an oscillator 
This is a part of a stork. Clattering. 
Tac-tac-tac-tac. taca-taca-taca-taca-tac-tac

We learn about storks from a manual.

We introduce you to Minitehnicus

Minitehnicus is a character, a competition and the name of a youth club for Cutezătorii magazine, of the national council of the pioneers organisation in Socialist Romania. Children used to submit their inventions with descriptions necessary for others to be able to build them. Minitehnicus was a very popular competition whose publications we rarely find nowadays. Ioana has only a copy from ‘71 which she received as a gift from a museum in Timișoara, where she was born and raised. She proposes in her portofolio a potential workshop based on this manual, where collectively the inventions of the past would be rebuilt in the present with mini people with other types of understanding of technology and Minitehnicus. And we inaugurated this co-building together, deciding on reproducing with old and new electronic parts, a small section of one of these inventions. In the audio file below, the most words you would hear read by Ioana while we are flipping the pages, are computers, more than human mimicries and a few transportation vehicles. That was the realm of awarded inventions in the year 1971 in Socialist Republic of Romania. Ioana and I, we were born 20 years after.

Sound description of minitehnicus

»It seems to me that this book has a very innocent dimension because it is very optimistic about the future. It was specific to the 1970s, after that I think in the 80s this stopped. It had an utopian view of technology about how we will be sophisticated and we will have a very advanced and egalitarian civilization. Of course, nothing of it was accomplished but it’s interesting to see how things were viewed at the time. My brother who is 14 years old sees things very differently. There is no optimism for the future. All teenagers of his age have a kind of depression vis -à -vis towards where we are reaching, there is no forward looking hope that we maybe will evolve into something interesting or important. And you see the difference from generation to generation to generation in this relationship with the future and technology and robots. Who would do robots nowadays? They look so dystopian.«

Glossary of electrically sensitive terms:

move or swing back and forth in a regular rhythm or in physics vary in magnitude or position in a regular manner about a central point.

make or cause to make a continuous rattling sound

Sound of describing how to make the stork

time machines
or even transcending time machines 
which in the current economy of time
are taking quite some time
minitime machines

I built once a time machine, or let’s call it a computer called A stork story, in the form of a plot: one big bird (probably a stork) took people in flight from different places in the world and brought them to a previously uninhabited island from where eventually they did not want to return. That moment the whole planet stopped working and started thinking. 

translate ≈ transcend time
old component ≈ new component 
more for something ≈ less for more 
manual ≈ forums

An antena called the body

Around 1900, love’s wholeness disintegrates
Where eyes had always seen only poetic wing
Mechanization takes control
Literal airships
Watching the paddle-streamer wheel
Their central nervous system always precedes them
Lethal bird flights
Mechanization takes command
Metaphysics of the heart
Everything from sound to light is a wave
Priest and victim of the apparatus

Perfectly alphabetized female readers

(Pg. 56 in »Electrical Theories of Femininity« by Sarah Mangold, Black Radish Books, 2015)

»I would have wanted to make a kind of workshop to bring these circuits and put them in front of children to do something with them. Nowadays children to work with ideas from back then and to we see to what extent these kinds of inventions are still relevant now and to reconstruct them. As a kind of archiving work to bring these circuits in refunction. But it didn’t happen. I wanted to do them, but now it’s a good time.«

Controlling lights so we get to see what we are doing

Glossary of electrically sensitive terms:
Components, transistors, relay, luck

Sound of looking for components

»At the Children’s Palace in Timișoara, where my mother took me to drawing classes, there was an electronics club similar to Minitehnicus. I liked it very much but somehow I was ashamed that there were only boys. And I remained so filled with this unfulfilled desire. When I was 14 years old I went to a performance of Martin Kuns and Marta Zaparoli at Simultan Festival. I went to all editions for all the 18 years. For this performance, Marta and Martin were on a circuit carpet which made me think to myself: this is what I want to do in my life. And that’s what I did. When I was 20, I went to a workshop made by them and I was so transposed so they told me: you have to come to Berlin and learn this and I did without knowing much here.«

Ioana opening Simultan Festival in Timișoara in 2023

Glossary of electrically sensitive terms:
Tone generator, multivibrator, transposed, diodes, circuit plate, specifications, voltage, transmitter, shame

Sound of teaching me

»I quickly found something I’m talented at. I was born in a family of many artists, designers and painters. I don’t know if it was talent or if they pumped me with the drawing. I was very good at drawing. But it didn’t seem so interesting to me. At college it was already clear that I was not interested. I still like drawing, it’s my first love. But this with the electronics is a thing that I found and I also made it mine. It is a great privilege when one finds a vocation. Many do not have the time to even think of a vocation. And with this benefit it is a pity to not act on this and not to share this with others.«

While I was looking for the folders to hyperlink the images, I wrote ‘chimaera’ on the search lines of my computer. It took me to a pdf of endangered orchids I received from my artist friend  Marcela Avellaned with whom I stayed at about 3,100 m up in the Andean mountains. Dracula chimaera is a growing on the ground orchide, a light sensitive one, bloody looking, a dragon beholding several genders. Dracula in an entire genus named by Dr. Carl Luer, an orchid taxonomist that passed a couple of years ago. 

Ioana’s hands over her working table with tools during the fixing time

Glossary of electrically sensitive terms:
Wires, tweezers, glue, resistor, oscilloscope, coil, switch, frustrating, excitement, melting, errors…

Sound of fixing

How information lost its body

The loop no longer functions to connect a system to its environment. Glowing empire. An elephant from walnuts. Grizzly bear from prunes. Peel the motif of the hothouse evangelically. One can imagine other ways, other metaphors for being. 
To upholster a hopeful monster. 
The I in the hand.
Realised muffin tin.
Realised cake stand.

(Pg. 34 in »Electrical Theories of Femininity« by Sarah Mangold, Black Radish Books, 2015)

Here, Sarah Mangold, probably refers to Nancy Katherine Hayles who is a postmodern literary critic born one year after my grandmother and who tried to suggest to us how we became postmodern. We flip through the inventions in this book, the Minitehnicus Cutezătorii awarded inventions book, and we can’t build a squirrel because we don’t have its body. We will not build a helicopter or a train because we are not interested in that. I think of animal mimicry in war machines and exploitation of people and their environments for rare metals from Democratic Republic of Congo to Chile or throughout the Balkans. Minerals constitute an important part of Ioana’s research: Sizzling Semiconductors. It motivates me to learn more about being obsolete, improvise and do it myself out of old parts.

»This work has many dimensions. I like that it is like a game, between a tangram game and a logic game; you always have to look at the shape and interpret and stick. And when it does not work this is the most unpleasant and frustrating. That you plug in into the socket and it does not work and you wonder why and there are a thousand factors. I still enjoy that it is like a puzzle and mystery and you have to see why it doesn’t work.«

Operating the oscilloscope to check if the invention works.

»The truth is that I have a relationship with electricity since I was little. It always seemed to me like the fifth element, the most beautiful. I had a magazine called »Witch«. There were five elemental witches: water, fire, air, earth and it was the fifth that was somehow extra: electricity. I always wanted to be that one. And I’ve always had a more paranormal relationship with electricity: when I am upset all lightbulbs are flickering. I feel it where it flows, I have a synergistic relationship with electricity.«

Sound of working

She made it work. Above you can hear it. I gave her a hug. Also audible. Then we reflected on the future, the future projects, the future ways of working as artists, the future as in the very short term. We are also not thinking very long ahead. We don’t have time. With all the wars and distress we focus, as secret powers girls, to make it stop. We beg centralised power to unplug itself, make storks not weapons.

Ioana Vreme Moser (b. 1994) is a Romanian sound artist engaged with hardware electronics, speculative research, and tactile experimentation.
In her practice, she uses rough electronic processes to obtain different materialities of sound. She places electronic components and control voltages in different situations of interaction with her body, organic materials, lost and found items, and environmental stimuli. From these collisions, synthesized sounds emerge to carry personal narrations and observations on the history of electronics, their production chains, wastelands, and entanglements in the natural world.

Jasmina Al-Qaisi is a poet.

Jasmina’s AI Chimäre is based on her answers to these 3 questions:

If you could live in another time, which would it be?

Whenever I could be a berry seed in the belly of a small flying Sauria.

If you were an animal, which one would it be?

I would like to be a symbiont, probably a rhizobia bacteria between beans, squash and corn.

What is your favorite season of the year?

My favorite season of the year is harvesting season somewhere around Danube.