bio/graphism - 2005: sound + words

[tobias c. van Veen] is a renegade theorist & pirate, techno-turntablist & writer (Montréal). He is Concept Engineer at SAT [] and Project Lead of Sonic Scene in the Mobile Digital Commons Network []. Director of conceptual and sound-art events, online interventions and radio broadcasts since 1993, working with STEIM, Mutek, the New Forms Festival, the Banff Centre, the Video-In, Upgrade!, the Vancouver New Music Society & Hexagram. His work has appeared in CTheory, EBR, Bad Subjects, Leonardo, FUSE (contributing editor), e/i (columnist), the Wire, HorizonZero and through Autonomedia, among others. His writing has been translated into Spanish, Lithuanian and French and his art disseminated through,, Kunstradio,, CiTR, a handful of contemporary art museums (Denver, Barcelona, etc.), No Type’s BricoLodge and the and/OAR labels. From 1993-2000 he was Direktor of the sonic performance <ST> Collective [] on the West Coast and co-founder of and He currently hosts The Upgrade! Montreal []. Djing for over 10 years, tobias' style is marked by the cut-up & non-linear mixing styles of future techno & house: Detroit, minimal, dub, glitch and acid. Spin that through the regional markers of context & the application of concept (masochism, atmosphere, ritual). His Dj sets have appeared on,, and, and his skills have graced events worldwide. An article discussing his experimental work with turntable scripts appeared in Leonardo Music Journal 13. As a digital musician, tobias has a forthcoming album on and/OAR with tomas phillips entitled If not, winter. Tobias is doctoral candidate in Philosophy & Communication at McGill University. He also mixes a mean absynthe martini. His blog resides at:


bio.graphism - an overview (2005)

[tobias c. van Veen] currently lives in Montréal, Quebec and is pursuing a Ph.D in Communication Studies & Philosophy at McGill University (interest: the politics of digital technology, Afro-Futurism, Deleuze/Derrida). He hails from the West Coast of Canada. He has been enmeshed with musikal resistance culture since 1993, DJing cutting-edge forms of techno, house, and electro, often on three turntables and with the infusion of tricks, cut-ups, and experimental techniques. He has a taste for dramatic minimalism, dub, and Detroit, although he considers himself a "collector" of many forms of vinyl transmissions, from funk to musique concrete.

In 1995, tobias founded <ST>, a socio-sonic operation designed to investigate the nebulous realm of art, performance, and electronic music through the space of the TAZ. This work culminated with <ST-C>, a collective of neo-Surrealist and post-Situationist Spores that performed and agitated from 1998-2000, incorporating an aesthetic of techno-resistance that conjoined the dirty souls of anarcho-rave culture and unconscious theory.

From 1993-1997 tobias was a member of several youth initiative projects through Matt Todd, the most prominent being a regular host of Mestiza, a live-to-air youth talk-show on Shaw Cable that was broadcast across Western Canada (Tuesday afternoons; tobias also shot & edited streeters). He was also involved with SPYN (Semiahmoo Peninsula Youth Newspaper) and briefly with Generation Y?, a youth TV show on Rogers Cable. The involvement with video, television and some film at the time culminated in an award for Best Documentary in its class at the BC Festival of the Arts, Penticton, in 1996.

From 1997-2002, tobias hosted several radio shows on UBC's campus & community radio, CiTR 101.9FM in Vancouver, from the late-night 'objectionable radio' of Limpsink to the live audioart of noiz-r, the broken beats of Drum N' Space, independent activist Nooze, Manifestations, the mini-documentary on manifestos, and Particle, a radioart mix of contemporary microsound, glitch, electro-acoustic, and experimental sounds. At the same time, he held several positions at the station, including President, Station Coordinator, and Nooze Director. 1997's APEC gathering at UBC saw the CiTR Nooze team cover the event live via cellphone, two years before Indymedia's debut at Seattle WTO '99. The extensive broadcast--which included getting pepper-sprayed on-air & grabbing the soundbyte of the event from then-PM Jean Chretien ("pepper? I put it on my plate")--garnered the National Campus and Community Radio Standard Award for Broadcasting (1997).

Since 1994, tobias has been actively involved in multimedia, tactical, and sound production. He considers his involvement with the arts strategic; rather than being a musician, sound-artist, or net-artist, it is to the context at hand that each work is realised. For example, under the guise of gonzo net-journalism he has created with comrade ssiess several net-art works for the CBC's (Hackers, SF Digestion). He often works with fellow comrade and sound-artist ssiess on projects including Document 9-1-1, featured in's Artbase,'s Canadian Artists feature and's 2002 Wired Ruins multimedia issue. With a strong interest in soundscapes & affective sonics, tobias has produced sound-art for the CBC's Outfront program, Kunstradio Austria, CiTR, BURN.FM, Transmediale, the ADAPT festival and Chronoplastics (NYC). In 2000 he curated the Auralphobic Silophiliac event, the first internet performance with [The User's] Silophone in Montréal. In 2002, tobias performed audio-art field recordings at the Montreal FCMM mix_sessions event at the Societe des Arts Technologiques (SAT, 10.12.02). He has also focused on experimental work with turntables, including an interpretation & performance of Udo Kasemets' CalenDArON at the 2002 Vancouver New Music Festival (04.19.02). (An article on this work appeared in Leonardo Music Journal 13.) Recent performances include Phil Niblock's Experimental InterMedia loft in Manhattan (2003), as a fundraiser for Sound Generation, a text on political sound-art forthcoming from Autonomedia (2005); the tri.phonic audio-visual project with VJ Johnny Ranger and musician Daniel Gardner (2002-2003) which saw a performance at MEG (Montreal Electronic Groove); performances at STEIM, Amsterdam (2003-2004) and in Barcelona (2004); past residencies in Montreal at Laika, and at The Upgrade! at SAT. tobias continues to be involved with the SAT and other arts organisations in Montreal, and can be seen and heard playing obscure events across North America.

From 2003 onward he has been working steadily with tomas phillips, performing live microsound and quiet work that has culminated in the album _if not, winter_ (and/LIVE002, and/OAR records 2005). Also with tomas, a Fall 2004 performance with the Montreal Opera, hosted at SAT by mix_sessions, saw the work of Richard Strauss reworked with turntables, laptops and script improvisation with two singers (technoOpera: Ariadne auf Naxos).

Besides the many event-raves of the '90s, indoors and out, and the event-rituals of <ST-C>, tobias has curated the 2002 Video-In Signal and Noise Festival of experimental audio and video, the 2002 New Forms Festival glitch & granular night, and a series of experimental electronic showcases at the Video-In featuring international artists. In 2001, tobias spearheaded the Refrains: Music Politics Aesthetics independent conference and performance event at UBC featuring keynote speaker and performer Kim Cascone. He has also co-founded the West Coast music collective with dub gnostic (aka Dave Baphomet) and targetcircuitry net-radio with minimal house producer Ben Nevile ( : 2000-2002). He has also curated sound-art for Agricola de Cologne's SoundLab Channels (2004-2005).

In 2004 tobias was brought onboard a major grant proposal for Canada Heritage's New Media Research Initiative entitled Mobile Digital Commons Network (MDCN.CA), a collaborative project of Concordia, York, McGill and UQAM Universities, Hexagram and the Banff Centre for the Arts (BMNI). With the success of the proposal, tobias' SonicScene project in wireless psychogeography came to realisation. He curated work from artists Michelle Teran, Kate Armstrong and Michelle Kasprzak for Montreal's localized, wireless community network hosted by 2004 also saw the launch of The Upgrade! Montreal, a satellite organisation of new media gatherings that originated in NYC, hosted by Eyebeam. tobias curates the monthly event with an ever growing and expanding audience, working with digital artists of all stripes.

As a writer, he has been involved with several independent magazine projects as an Editor of various shades. Currently he is contributing editor for e|i and FUSE magazines and contributes to (Germany), Cut-Up Media (Amsterdam) and Contemporary Magazine. In the past he has been Literratica / Nettropolis Editor for Capital magazine, Panarticon columnist for Discorder magazine and a Dusting Off the Wax columnist at In the past he has served as Montréal Correspondant for Butter magazine, and as resident critic at, and tobias has freelanced for The Wire, Trucker, Tart, FUSE, Minty and MusicWorks among various outlets of the CBC. In the music industry he has published the 2003 Canadian Electronic Music Directory through the Association for Electronic Music (AEMusic). As a scholar, he has work in volumes including Circulations of the City: A Culture of Cities Initiative (forthcoming McGill-Queens UP) & Reconstruction & Rhythm Science (forthcoming, 2005).

From these events and others tobias has begun to speak and present internationally at conferences and events including the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA), the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), SonicActs (2004), Mutek (2003/2004), and scholarly conferences.

tobias likes manual typewriters, minimalism, very loud sounds, black squares, espresso & ginnantonnix, and freeskiing. He bemoans the fact that his life is so complicated.

subtlety. minimalism. form and emotion - resistance. subversion. preparation.