STEIM (the STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music) is an independent electronic music center unique in its dedication to live performance. The foundation’s artistic and technical departments support an international community of performers, musicians, and visual artists, to develop unique instruments for their work. STEIM maintains a vibrant residency program whereby artists are provided with an artistic and technical environment in which concepts can be given concrete form. Ideas are catalyzed by providing critical feedback grounded in professional experience. Finally, new creations are then exposed to a receptive responsive niche public at STEIM before being groomed for a larger audience.
STEIM promotes the idea that Touch is crucial in communicating with the new electronic performance art technologies. Too much the computer has been used, and designed, as an exclusive extension of the formalistic capabilities of humans. At STEIM the intelligence of the body, for example: the knowledge of the fingers or lips is considered musically as important as ‘brain-knowledge’. STEIM has stimulated the design of extremely physical interfaces and is widely considered as the pioneering place for the live and ecstatic use of electronics in performance.
STEIM encourages both high-tech and low-tech solutions, and seeks to support artists who are both the players and makers of their own expressive tools. STEIM stands behind a human-focused approach to technology. This technology has to be tailored to the individual.
STEIM’s former director and founding father Michel Waisvisz (unfortunately passed away in 2008) is generally recognized as being the first to invent a practice for ecstatic live performance with live electronic instruments. Over the years a great variety of the pioneering artists of the live electronic performance arts have worked at STEIM. More recently STEIM is being discovered by DJ’s and VJ’s who want to liven up their act with physical control of their sound machines and laptops, also dancers, actors, visual artists and are coming up to STEIM to use the ideas found at STEIM and develop these further for there personal goals.
STEIM is committed to bringing our artistic network and body of knowledge to the broader local and international community through education and public events, such as workshops and concerts. STEIM has formed ongoing partnerships locally with the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, the Conservatory of Amsterdam, TU/Eindhoven, and the Royal Conservatory in the Hague through the Instruments & Interfaces masters program. Each year STEIM is visited by dozens of international students and educators through our educational programs. Recently STEIM has hosted student groups from the Arts University of Graz (Graz, AU), ELAK (Vienna, AU), CalArts (Valencia, USA), MICA (Baltimore, USA), SAIC (Chicago, USA), and UCD (Doncaster, UK).
For many years, STEIM has nurtured a special line of activity where children are invited to play with its newly developed instruments. The playful, bright and inventive reactions of these children have often been of decisive importance in the process of creating playable electronic instruments. Since the mid-seventies STEIM developed a series of tangible electronic devices that are intended not as toys but as instruments that have been ‘approved by children’. These include the Crackle Boxes and LiSa, the live sampler.