More electronic and more visual

A visit to L.E.V. (Laboratorio de Electrónica Visual) 2015. An event with much more than electronic music and visual pieces

Published: May 05, 2015
More electronic and more visual


By Semíramis González (@semiramis_glez), Semíramis en Babilonia.

The link between plastic arts and sound arts is a very common topic in contemporary art. The separation between disciplines was never a real one and, ultimately, what we know as sound art resulted in a creation that combined both. But that was not the last resource.  Is it not true that performance, video art, cinema ore even installation somehow combine both?

Some weeks ago José Luis Calderón interviewed in this blog Cristina de Silva and Nacho de la Vega, members of the collective Fium and curators of a new edition of L.E.V., Laboratorio de Electrónica Visual, that has become one of the key festivals in electronic music and visual creation that took place this weekend at the premises of Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura and LABoral Centro de Arte.

The proposal, that I attended, was unique in linking these two buildings that share the same name. Homonymous and  next-door neighbours, they achieved during the three days of the festival a continuous flow of people that enjoyed in both buildings the bands that took part in the festival (without forgetting the daily appointments with musical sessions at Jardín Botánico Atlántico, just a meters).

L.E.V. started in 2007 and, following the principles of its organisers, the fact is that in its intense programme there is room for resting, meditation and leisure. If there is something to emphasise of the experience of attending L.E.V. is the opportunity to enjoy authentic sound and visual shows in an atmosphere without hurries. The environment could not be better: The overwhelming building by Luis Moya that used to host, originally, an orphanage for the miners’ children. One cannot escape the context when we walk through its spaces, when you go from one hall to another one to see a concert. All is integrated in the essence of the festival, and the first visual that catches the eye is certainly the space.

The event started on Thursday with PlayMid at the Marina of Gijón. The night made its intentions for the following days clear from one of the most enviable locations in this Asturian city.

On Friday the main programme started already at LABoral, presenting at its Sound LAB the work of Yuri SuzukiEl sonido de las olas is an installation that recreates the patterns of ocean surf using a African rainstick. The works, that moved at different rhythms, turned the space into an area of relax and peace, reproducing for this joint production by LABoral and L.E.V. the tides of San Lorenzo and Santa Mónica.

This is not the only piece produced by LABoral for the festival. Nicolas Bernier (Ottawa, Canada, 1977) presented the result of his production residency at the centre, frequencies (light quanta) is a sound composition using micro sounds and “clicks” (the shortest sounds that can be heard by human beings); 100 acrylic plates reproduce a moving image made of lines and dots. The work, that enables the viewer to visualize sound and audiovisual patterns, was placed in the Hall of Paintings beside the theatre, the central venue of the programme.

It was precisely here, in the Theatre, where great names of the electronic world gathered, in a perfect combination of sound and visuals.

Abstraction played a central role amidst the lyricism and voluptuousness in the proposal of JacaszekAlba G. Corral. The rhythms marked the forms, in a great live performance by Corral.

One of the most expected shows was the return of Cabaret Voltaire, an icon of electronic music in the 1970s. It was precisely one of its founders, Richard H. Kirk, who would put an end to two decades of silence with a great show of music, rhythm and sound taken from the mass media. Fragments taken from radio and television were accompanied by a large-screen triptych that alternated diverse scenes, from the war against advertising to Andy Warhol and George Bush, in a visual manifest of the history of the XXth century.


The night was closed at the theatre with another great moment of the festival, Ben Frost with MFO making lighting the focus of all attention. The overwhelming theatre was filled with smoke and lights materialized to the rhythm of sound.

The event ended at the hall of LABoral with Architectural, Bochum Welt and Legowelt.

On Saturday L.E.V. started very early at Jardín Botánico de Gijón, with outdoor music by Skygaze, Daisuke Tanabe, Yosi Horikawa and Memorabilia.
The programme continued at the church, where since the day before there was a large screen showing the work of Quayola, Strata#4, an audiovisual piece that breaks down classical artworks until they become abstract, tangible, organic and almost three-dimensional.

The theatre of Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura and the hall of LABoral Centro de Arte were again the central venues of the programme, with Paul Prudence (with his visuals about space trips), Transforma & Yro (great in handling live geological forms and natural artefacts), and Senking, Gazelle Twin and Akkord, among others.

Clearly, L.E.V.’s programme is intense during the three days of festival, but it is also true that the enclave, the resting areas (the central square of Laboral, the church or the Botanic Garden) make this event much more than an electronic music festival. Thus, Gijon becomes the central role of the event and it invites us to relax and enjoy the best sound and visual art for a few days.

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