LP (180 Gram)
Original Artwork by Peter Beyls
Numbered & signed edition of 25 ex.

This is the second publication dedicated fully to the work of Belgian early electronic composer Peter Beyls (1950).

Rothko is a tape-music composition produced at the Expanded Media Studio, Brussels – a personal electronic music studio established at the time by my late friend, pioneering experimental jazz musician John Van Rymenant (1942-2018) and myself. Musical material gathered in the studio was manually assembled by cutting and splicing multiple audiotapes. The final mixdown took place at the IPEM Studio in Ghent.

A fascination with the work of American color-field painter Mark Rothko exemplifies the title of this piece. In 1952, he wrote: “The most important tool the artist fashions through constant practice is faith in his ability to produce miracles when they are needed” [1].

Never having any intention to translate Rothko’s pictural language into sound, the connection was an affective one as reflected in the immersive, embodied experience of color itself. Expressive timbral articulation is key to the piece – close listening entails an immersive experience emphasizing the organic quality of sound. As Rothko asserted: “I paint big to be intimate” [2].

Peter Beyls
Ghent, January 25, 2022

[1] Rothko, Mark: (1947) in: Possibilities, Vol. 1, no. 1, Winter 1947-48, Wittenbron Schultz, Inc. New York, NY, pp. 85

[2] Rothko, Mark: The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. A seminal text written by Rothko during 1940 – 1941, discovered in 2000 and ultimately published in 2004.

Peter Beyls works on the intersection of computer science and the arts. He develops generative systems in music, the visual arts and hybrid formats. Beyls studied music and computer science at EMS, Stockholm, the Royal Music Conservatory, Brussels and the Slade School of Art, UC London. He was a researcher at ICCMR and was awarded a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Plymouth UK, for his research on evolutionary computing applied to real-time interactive music systems. He published extensively on various aspects of digital media, in particular, real-time interactive music systems, generative art and, in general, the application of Artificial Intelligence for artistic purposes.

Beyls pioneered the use of cellular automata in the field of computer music while at the VUB AI-Lab. His work was widely exhibited and performed at conferences like Siggraph, ICMC, Imagina, ISCM, Generative Arts and ISEA. He was invited professor at a.o. the University of Quebec, Montreal, California Institute of the Arts, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, the School of Visual Arts, New York and the Osaka Arts University, Japan. Until September 2016, he was a research professor at CITAR, Catholic University of Portugal, Porto. He is currently a visiting researcher at the Department of Media Art, University College Ghent, specifically developing a project at KASK Laboratory aiming to interface aesthetic and biological processes. Beyls is also a is a visiting professor at Artec, University Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis, Paris, France.

Peter Beyls has been involved with ISEA (the International Symposium on Electronic Art) since the early 1990’s, he is currently a member of the IIAC (ISEA International Advisory Committee). In addition, he is an associate with Ear to the Earth, New York, Intermedia Projects, Albuquerque, NM and the Algorists collective.

Beyls was initially active in electronic music, as a composer of tape music. Later on, he developed various analog live electronic music systems. In close partnership with Michel Waisvisz, he designed and built the early prototypes of the crackle box synthesizer at STEIM, Amsterdam (1973-1975). While teaching at the Vrije Academie/Psychopolis, The Hague, Beyls develops various collaborative projects with Dutch experimental filmmaker Hero Wouters. Around the same time, Karel Goeyvaerts and Lucien Goethals were his mentors at the IPEM Studio, Ghent. In the mid 1990s Beyls performs extensively in a trio with John Van Rymenent and Geoff Leigh. Over the years, Beyls’ engagement with music systems evolved from home-made electronics to time-sharing computers to laptop performance.

Beyls conceives of computer media as active partners in a creative process, a methodology he refers to as “conceptual navigation”. Software is written in order to explore ambiguous intentions. Once an idea is formalized in a program, one can evaluate its imaginative potential by way of the feedback that program provides. Since a program reflects the objectives of the artist, programming is considered a method of aesthetic introspection. Software is thus instrumental as a functional, materialist means allowing the active manipulation of otherwise purely conceptual constructs.

Over the years, Beyls’ work has primarily centered on generative systems, including extensive series of machine drawings, human-machine interactive music systems using machine-learning and interactive audiovisual installations, many of them using computer-vision. A clear line of thought underpins the evolution of his artistic thinking: from methodologies borrowed from conventional AI (knowledge-based systems) to Artificial Life oriented systems exploring the notion of emergent functionality. An experimental, exploratory attitude is core to his work.

Beyls is equally fascinated by the problem of translating digital/virtual artifacts back into the tangible analog world as to make them available for humans to be experienced. This raises questions of how digital art is connected to the sensual parameters of human physicality and how it can be referenced/understood from the whole of human culture and the massive depth of its history. A monograph documenting his oeuvre was published by MER Paperkunsthalle in 2014. The event coincided with a major survey exhibition at IMAL, Center for Digital Culture, Brussels. A more recent collection of texts entitled Coming Full Circle, (2019) was published by the Verbeke Foundation Belgium following a solo show at the Verbeke Museum. Beyls’ work is represented by Gallery DAM, Berlin, Germany.

Website Peter Beyls

a side
– Rothko Part I.
b side
– Rothko Part II.

All Music by Peter Beyls

Peter Beyls ~ Rothko (1977) (Excerpt)

Artwork Description:
A series of 5 unique pen plotter drawings on chromogenetic prints, each in an edition of 5.
298-298 cm. Gatefold cardboard cover with blue sticker.

Series 1. Edition of 5.
Series 2. Edition of 5.
Series 3. Edition of 5.
Series 4. Edition of 5.
Series 5. Edition of 5.
Payment Options: Paypal or CreditcardPrice:
80 euro