Portraying the Spectra of Toys

live performance of Portraying the Spectra of Toys at the ORF studio

Portraying the Spectra of Toys was a live sound performance by Bernhard Loibner (laptop + midi ctrl) and João Castro Pinto (laptop + midi ctrl) realized in April 2010. The piece was broadcast live on Kunstradio – Radiokunst, a weekly show dedicated to radio art on the Austrian Public Radio ORF in the program of OE1.

Toys are conceptualized and manufactured for babies and kids. It is assembled in a way that should apparently only satisfy the needs and the interest of the precise target it is created for. For kids toys mean besides having fun also learning. For a society toys have a hight cultural significance. Social, technological and cultural change can precisely be documented by the development of our toys.

A world full of stimulus and noise is also full of toys that create (to the suffering of annoyed parents) all sorts of sounds and noises: speaking, singing, barking, bleating, hooting, cheeping, beeping, plonking, rattling, blaring, groaning, etc., etc. If one investigates carefully one grasps that these instruments of a spreading acoustic pollution in our child’s rooms can present other uses that can surprise the adult’s world. Toys can open doors to a veiled world.

Bernhard Loibner and João Castro Pinto start from this main concept, to reveal and portray what seems lost in a cloud of insignificant noise: the hidden and interesting sound spectrum of toy instruments. They will create a live “toy-sonata”, having as main matter samples of several pre-recorded instruments (voices, string-, reed-, percussion-instruments, electronics, etc.) as well as live manipulation and processing of some of those instruments. Far from striving to present an original idea, this “toy-sonata” intends to present intricate and compelling sound textures, densities, contrasting timbres and rhythms that will result from the live digital signal processing (d.s.p.) of the toy-sounds, operated by the two artists.