Research & Development EN blog

Lend us your ears: RE:VIVE

On December 12, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s RE:VIVE initiative released their 3rd album in collaboration with Amsterdam based label, Fog Mountain Records. The album, 010 is a 14-track conceptual compilation inspired by the city of Rotterdam. Contributing artists were invited to sample and re-use a curated set of Sound and Vision archival material including field recordings and TV broadcasts related to Rotterdam. 

The RE:VIVE initiative is a project by Sound and Vision that directly engages the international electronic music community to raise the awareness of open sound collections and inspire the re-use of these collections. The project does so by facilitating the creation of new works inspired by and composed out of thematically curated archive material. The first release explored the history of the Netherlands’ relationship with water via Irish techno duo Lakker’s maxi-EP Struggle & Emerge released on the seminal R&S Records in May 2016. The second release, Damrak explored the city of Amsterdam with 10 artists sampling archival material related to the city. Damrak was released in September 2016 by Fog Mountain Records. Now, 010 the newest RE:VIVE release tackles the city of Rotterdam. 

Engaging a community

Sound and Vision has been increasingly active in re-use projects around cultural heritage including Europeana Creative, EuropeanaSpace, Apps4Europe, and Open Media Art. The re-use of openly licensed heritage materials is undoubtedly valuable in terms of engaging new audiences and showing the actual value of digitizing and opening up heritage collections. However, RE:VIVE is the first project from Sound and Vision that has so specifically and heavily targeted and engaged a community. RE:VIVE believes that electronic musicians are one of the most appropriate groups of audiovisual archives to engage based on their consumption rate for sonic material and wide, international appeal. 

Focus on music

Using music as a starting point gives a strong foundation upon which other types of heritage re-use can be added. First off, it’s one of the most direct re-uses of heritage materials through sampling. Secondly, music is a constant in the lives of many. Either while cooking, looking at their phones, working, riding the train or car to work etc. music is pumped in through our ears while allowing our eyes and mind to focus elsewhere. Visual stimulation can be sporadic and limited by time. It requires active attention through the act of affixing one’s gaze to an image. Music can be passive background noise and lingers for several minutes (track duration). In fact while writing this piece I am listening to music and I couldn’t otherwise be looking at a film or photo and registering their message. Therefore, by focusing strong musical compositions as an output RE:VIVE has the capacity to build layers of context and enrichment through other visual mediums like films and images, all of which correspond directly to the original curatorial theme and sampled audio material. But these aren’t always necessary, just nice additions for those who want to go deeper into the context or they can be for those who don’t like the music but prefer visual art.

Furthermore, due to the nature in which RE:VIVE creates outputs-all music being officially released by labels and artists, the new music has a stronger chance of being relevant and discoverable in years to come. It enters artists and labels’ discographies. The assumption then is that if someone discovers Lakker, for instance, in 5 years, they will explore Lakker’s back catalogue and find Struggle & Emerge. Similar discovery options are not as convenient for technical outputs which can quickly become obsolete if not maintained. 

As Sound and Vision continues with the RE:VIVE initiative there are more engagement activities and outputs to be realized that will strengthen the project’s core goals and impart more knowledge of archives historical, educational context on new audiences. 

More information

  • You can now download 010 for free under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license here
  • For more info about RE:VIVE you can visit www.revivethis.org
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