Gerhard Eckel's Art Projects
Dance Concert and Music Choreography
Every Move a Sound
Graz/Vienna (Austria) 2016/17
In cooperation with Anna Maria Nowak,
Alexander Gottfarb, and
We move and sound. We wear sound and motion sensors. Movements and
sounds are joined and recorded as composite traces. Continuously.
Everybody yarns their sonic filament retractable by anybody. Anytime.
Retracing is resounding is reinscribing. One's own or another's trace.
Inevitably. We suffuse the performance space with remnants of our
actions. This is how the past remains with us. Forever. Every action
constraining the future. Becoming an obstacle or be turned into a
potential. The denser the traces, the harder it becomes to read them.
In this environment we engage in extended and repetitive improvisatory
processes, fathoming the potential of the collective and ambient
instrument that we have been developing over the last years, aiming at
establishing a performance practice in which movement and sound can
coexist without exploiting or betraying each other.
note in Falter
DA TA rush
Vienna (Austria) 2016
In cooperation with Michael Schwab, David Pirrò, and Artemi-Maria Gioti.
DA TA rush was a transposition, not an exhibition. It engaged with artificial
neural networks, brain activity, architectural mapping, motion capture,
galaxy cluster surveys and modelling, particle physics, dynamical
systems simulations, room impulse response measurements, air flow
turbulences, and sonic textures.
The transposition investigated emergent formal and perceptual
relationships between data events distributed across the gallery. A set
of triggers excited a dynamic system, which articulated and integrated
what was performed in DA TA rush.
DA TA rush asked if it is possible to liberate data from its
representational duties. It enacted data as an imaginary, lived body
between the various material elements, human bodies included. How does
data pass from one form to another? Are there artistic forms capable of
associating what seems highly diverse?
More: video walkthough, web page
Rattling the Dome
Stockholm (Sweden) 2016
Rattling the Dome is a site-specific concert installation for the
Dome of Visions at KTH Stockholm. Organised noise is created by exciting
the building electromechanically, producing an unusual kind of
electroacoustic music without loudspeakers. 42 little
computer-controlled hammers strike the wooden, steel, and acrylic glass
structures of the dome following an algorithmic score. Spatialised
rhythmic pattern meet the geometry of the dome, diffracted by the grid
of impact points and one's potentially changing listening position. The
audience is free to navigate a seemingly redundant sonic texture,
attempting to make sense of the storm of material, spatial, and temporal
Stockholm (Sweden) / Vienna (Austria) 2014/15
On Traces is a co-opertation with the dancers and choreographers Anna Nowak (Poland) and
Alexander Gottfarb (Sweden), the lignuist and phonetician Christine Ericsdotter (Sweden), and the
composer and sound artist David Pirrò (Italy).
In On Traces, four performers compose and at the same time play a spatial
instrument, surveying the potential of that shared environment, space
constituted of human voice textures, physicalities and lines.
On Traces is the first presentation within an ongoing interdisciplinary
research process articulating the practices of choreography, phonetics
and music composition. The series of performative inquiries focuses on
the relation of bodily movement and vocal sound.
One of the underlying methods established in this process allows for
freely inscribing and retracing sonic motion traces in space. This tool
enables the performers to create a spatial, sound playground, using
their own voices as building material. In turn, this unique sonic
environment is closely linked to the movements, which are traced by one
point on their bodies. Through exploring these environments in depth,
the notions of trace, inscription and retracing became center points of
this research, triggering an avalanche of related questions of
perception and attention, language, memory, change and transformation.
Sound, Light and Video Installation
Stockholm (Sweden) 2013
Motion Grid is a sound, light, and video installation based on a
motion-capture recording of Toccata Orpheus, a guitar piece by the
German composer Rolf Riehm performed by the Swedish guitarist Stefan
Östersjö. The installation focuses on the movements of the performers
fingers by transposing the speeds of the individual finger segments into
sound and light textures. Motion Grid was developed as a component of
the Go to Hell performance and installation presented at the
KTH experimental performance space Reactor Hall R1
in Stockholm in October 2013. The 12 offices situated on three levels in the R1 have been
equipped with a loudspeaker and a light projector each. The office doors
functioned a sonic valves allowing an interaction of the performers and
the audience with the installation. A video presenting the raw motion
capture data complemented the setup.
Go to Hell was presented from October 7th to 9th 2013 in 4 performances.
Graz (Austria) 2013
Zeitraum (German for timespan, literally time space) is a sound
installation exploring the interrelation of time and space in acoustic
communication. The audience experiences a spatial sound texture by
walking about a concert hall, wondering about the implication of their
listening position on the rhythmical patterns they perceive. The
installation presents in nuce one of the basic conditions of composing
spatially distributed sound textures, i.e. creating spaces made out of
time. Zeitraum is intended to function as an autonomous art work as much
as an environment in which the knowledge created in an artistic research
process emerges through the aesthetic experience enacted by the
audience. Zeitraum was presented in the context of
Mind the Gap
in Graz (March 7th - 8th, 2013). See also the online version or the
Zeitraum Diagram (2014).
In the Prison of Permanent Change
Stockholm (Sweden) 2012
In the Prison of Permanent Change is a conceptual installation piece created and
published in the Research Catalogue (RC). The piece is a response to a formulation by
Boris Groys, quoted
in Annie Abrahams' JAR2 exposition "Trapped to Reveal - On webcam mediated communication
and collaboration". The installation is scored as a brief text published as abstract in
the otherwise empty RC entry. Reading the white page as a prison is an allusion to the
prison scene in George Lucas' movie THX 1138.
In the Prison of Permanent Change explores the RC as a medium to create artwork in
the first place, i.e. to make an aesthetic and relational rather than an epistemic claim.
Spatial Sound Environment
Graz (Austria) 2012
Among is a spatial sound environment to be experienced in an
ambulatory concert – a hybrid between an installation and a concert
situation. The audience may explore the environment by silently walking
about the concert hall or by taking a chair to their preferred listening
position – among the loudspeakers. The visual setting aims at provoking
a situation affording concentrated and potentially ambulatory listening.
As a case study on
the choreography of sound, Among exposes the concept
of the space filling texture as a means to create and compositionally
cope with a particular kind of sonic multi-perspectivity. The slowly
evolving sound environment allows for an in-depth experience of the
compositional potential of this mode of sonic choreographing.
Dancing the Voice
Stockholm (Sweden) 2012
Dancing the Voice is a sonic sculpture based on
Random Access Lattice. It allows the audience
to "sing" by means of their hand movements. Using a small
tracked hand-held loudspeaker, a maze of opera arias can
be explored playfully, provoking the illusion of "touching"
the singers' voices. Dancing the Voice was
presented in the context of Opera Showroom
at the Folkoperan in Stockholm (May 30th - 31st, 2012).
Random Access Lattice
Stockholm (Sweden) / Oslo (Norway) 2011
Random Access Lattice is a sonic sculpture
to be explored by the audience with a hand-held motion-tracked
loudspeaker. Multilingual speech recordings are arranged in a
three-dimensional lattice filling a 2x2x2 m volume with several hours of
sound. By moving the speaker in the volume, the player reads the sound
stored at the particular position along the three Cartesian axes. The
concept of sound recording is explored by focusing on the movement
necessary to write and read sound, transform it from a temporal
phenomenon to a spatial structure and vice versa. Random Access Lattice
is a tribute to Nam June Paik's 1963 installation
Random Access Music,
where he glued recorded magnetic tape on the gallery wall, creating an
interactive visual and sonic artwork that the audience explored by means
of a hand-held tape head. Through their bodily motion, Paik granted the audience
random (as opposed to sequential) access to his music. Random Access
Lattice develops this idea further by reinterpreting it with current
media technology, i.e. optical motion tracking and digital audio
processing. A text describing the work in more detail can be found
More: Presented in the Exhibition on Sonic Interaction Design
at the Norwegian Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine in Oslo
(May 29th - August 21st 2011), at the
of the Charlottenborg Kunsthal in Copenhagen (February 24th - May 6th 2012),
and at the
Wiener Wunderkammer 2014 in Vienna (April 1st - April 4th 2014)
Ghent (Belgium) 2010
In cooperation with Michael Schwab and David Pirrò.
Rebody is a video installation in which the captured motion of a
dancer (Valentina Moar) is transformed into a dynamic drawing that, in turn, feeds a
musical composition. The installation shows sets of experimental
variations that explore the dance movements, the drawing algorithms and
the musical structures in an attempt to create aesthetic resonances and
convergences. The work investigates how structured creative processes
can transpose, rather than represent, the dancer's movements. There exists
also a performance version of Rebody, which has been presented together
with the installation version at the 2010 Research Festival of the Orpheus Research Center in Music
(ORCiM) in Ghent.
Rebody is based on motion-capture data collected from Bodyscapes (2009),
an intermedial dance solo performance by Valentina Moar (choreography/dance),
Gerhard Eckel and David Pirrò (composition).
More: Performance version premiered September 16th 2010 at
ORCiM in Ghent.
Bergen (Norway) 2010
Music is an essential nourishment for humans. Creating music is a form
of cooking. Listening to music is a form of ingestion. Cooking and
eating, as well as composing, performing and listening are conscious and
deliberate acts. Cooking and composing create expectation; eating,
performing and listening satisfy hunger. What happens to the music after
we have taken it in? Digestion is an involuntary and unconscious bodily
process. Catabolizer sonifies the music digestion process. It consumes
entire pieces of music, chews them, swallows and digest them, i.e.
breaks them down into components which are then absorbed. Catabolizer
has been commissioned by the Borealis Festival 2010
and co-produced by Lydgalleriet Bergen.
More: Borealis programme,
Graz (Austria) 2009
In cooperation with Valentina Moar and David Pirrò.
Bodyscapes is the result of a collective research and creation
involving dance, choreography, composition, as well as sound and
interaction design aiming at exploring the various facets of an ecology
of bodily movement and sound. An underlying assumption is that both
elements have a high potential to interlink. In Bodyscapes they
engage in a symbiotic relation which is based on a process of giving and
taking, one element complementing the other, both forming a whole - one
cannot be without the other. The piece presents different spaces of
possible relationships between movement and sound (bodyscapes), each
baring a particular recognizable characteristic and identity. Particular
attention has been paid to identifying the most archetypical of these
relationships. Bodyscapes has been realized by Valentina Moar (dance,
improvisation, and choreography), Gerhard Eckel, and David Pirrò
(composition, live electronics, interaction design, and software
development) in the context of the artistic and scholarly research project Embodied Generative Music.
More: video excerpts of the premiere on January 20th 2009 at IEM Graz
Krems an der Donau (Austria) 2008
published by Galerie Stadtpark
Texturen (textures) is a numbered and signed edition of 32 cardboard boxes containing 7 audio compact disks. Each of the disks holds a 74-minute excerpt of one of 7 infinite, algorithmically composed sound textures. Each box contains different excerpts. In total the edition comprises 224 unique CDs. Each disk is subdivided in 99 tracks without pauses separating them, allowing for a seamless playback. Besides the 7 disks, each box contains a label identifying the copy. The CDs are unlabeled and thus completely undistinguishable.
The only way to relate to these disks is to listen to them. No information biases the listening experience. We do not know what to expect. The work is performed by selecting a disk at random and exposing oneself to the austere qualities of slowly evolving repetitive sonic patterns. Each texture affords a particular listening attitude, making the audient conscious of their expectations and listening habits. The work's sonic content and its visual presentation are designed to expose the performativity of the act of listening.
Texturen can also be read as a comment on our way to consume music distributed on compact disk. This format is currently being superseded by portable media players, where album and track selection become more and more automated, thus incurring a shift in the performativity of listening. The track structure of the disks offers a mode of browsing the textures by skipping through them, allowing to navigate the evolution of the textures on another time scale (each track lasts for 44.8 seconds).
Permanent Sound Installation
Graz (Austria) 2008
In cooperation with David Pirrò, Martin Rumori, Gerriet K. Sharma, and Christos Zachos.
staircase is a sound installation inscribed into the atrium and the stairways of a three story building located on the campus Inffeldgasse of the Graz University of Technology. This well frequented building hosts institutes of the Graz University of Technology and the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz along with library spaces, teaching rooms, student learning spaces and a cafeteria.
staircase is a site-specific intervention reflecting the transitional nature of the space it augments auditorily. Conceived as a permanent installation, it has been carefully embedded into the existing acoustic ecology of the space it inhabits. Operating in its own sound niche, it slightly colours the everyday experience of the people frequenting the building. In its sonic and visual appearance it is intended to be perceived as an integral part of the building, contributing to its identity and atmosphere.
Berlin (Germany) 2005
Un-Orte, commissioned by the Academy of the Arts Berlin, is a generative sound
environment based on traffic messages as they are broadcast
following the news on most German radio stations. More than an hour of
these messages has been recorded, read by various speakers, mostly
talking about highway traffic jams, giving details about the extent of
these jams in kilometers. Listening to these messages out of context
evokes an imaginary map of Germany, as the different highways are
referenced by their numbers and the city names of the exits. In the
sound environment, these messages are processed and displayed over 14
loudspeakers. The piece is inscribed into the Studio Foyer of the
Academy of the Arts building at Hanseatenweg and
reflects the architectural setting (6 columns, 7
imaginary lines drawn between them, represented by 14 speakers, 2
speakers per line). The sound transformations are very basic and
supposed to be readable as such - jammed sound. The title of the piece
refers to Marc Augé's concept of the non-lieux, the transitional spaces
which we use when commuting.
More: program notes in German,
IMPULSE / RESPONSE - London Edition
London (UK) 2005
IMPULSE / RESPONSE - London Edition is a generative sound
environment based on recorded sound material, a composition defined by a
computer program which generates an infinite and ever-changing flow of
slowly evolving sonic patterns.
Both the characteristics of the impulses creating these patterns and
their temporal evolutions have been adjusted in situ, so as to fit the
acoustic signature of the space. This is referred to as a process of
inscription. Eight loudspeakers project the sound textures onto the
foyer's ceiling's reflective surfaces, producing a diffuse sound
projection. As the spectral energy of the sounds is concentrated in the
highest registers, they lend themselves best to reflection and occupy
only a small niche in the acoustic ecology of the foyer. The soft, thin
sonic textures interfere little with the sounds that naturally inhabit
this space of social exchange amongst the participants of the School of
More: program notes
Reactive Sound Installation
Krems an der Donau (Austria) 2004
Fenster is a video-driven sound installation conceived for the Galerie Stadtpark. A video
camera captures what visitors in the gallery can see through the window
front facing a small street. By means of real-time image analysis, the
movements in the image are extracted.
The mostly horizontal movements of different speed and direction
are typically caused by cars, bicycles, and pedestrians passing by.
The movement data is then used to control the spatial sound textures projected
by 6 speakers positioned in front of the window. Fenster can be
understood as a kind of sound track for a silent movie that shows everyday urban life.
Krems an der Donau (Austria) 2004
N.N. is a photo series and work in progress. It was initiated at my stay
as artist-in-residence in Krems and while developping a sound installation with
the same title. The project is a reflection on the role of the window
metaphor in the development of media since the Renaissance. The work
tries to draw connections between the theories of perspective and
painting developed in the 15th century, and more recent media such as
photography, video, graphical user interfaces, computer animation,
virtual and augmented reality.
IMPULSE / RESPONSE
Krems an der Donau / Klosterneuburg (Austria) 2004
IMPULSE / RESPONSE is a sound environment inscribed in the Rotunda, the
Large Hall and the adjoining exhibition rooms of the Essl Collection.
The work aims at highlighting the multi-faceted acoustic situation in
all its colours and nuances. The sound material used in the environment
has been conceived and adapted specifically for this spatial context.
For the duration of the exhibition "Visions of America", a generative
process explores the various possibilities of sound arrangements in
time, constantly producing new variants. An acoustic antenna composed of
4 loudspeakers projects the sounds in various directions into the
Rotunda from where it reaches the other rooms. IMPULSE / RESPONSE is a
kind of interrogation by musical means of the exhibition space. The
acoustic emptyness of the exhibition space is filled with vibrant
Krems an der Donau (Austria) 2004
Elevator Pitch is a video piece consisting of two indepent loops - an image
and a sound loop. The different duration of the two loops causes them to "beat"
with a very slow rate. The piece is moving through phases where the sound is almost in
sync with the image and phases where they are seem completely unconnected.
Image and sound where recorded in sync. Whereas the concrete image was not
processed in any way the concrete sound was processed in order
to achieve a degree of abstraction matching the one of the image.
Steiner Landstrasse 3
Krems an der Donau (Austria) 2004
Steiner Landstrasse 3 is the address of the building where the ateliers of the
Artist-in-Residence Krems program are located. Having spent half a year there
made me very conscious of the special soundscape in this part of the street.
I chose 34 min 8 s from a recording I made through the open window of my atelier on August 12th 2004.
Using a simple compacting process, which consists in mixing the first half of
the recording with the second half, I condensed the original recording into a
series of 11 "instant versions" with increasing density. The durartions in seconds
of the 12 tracks on the CD are: 2048, 1024, 512, 256, 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1.
The densities follow the reverse sequence from 1 of the original sound to 2048 of the
1s condensed version.
Krems an der Donau (Austria) 2004
Realization of Peter Kubelka's experimental film "Arnulf Rainer"
(1958-60) with Max/MSP/Jitter using Kubelka's score published in "Peter
Kubelka", ed. Gabriele Jutz & Peter Tscherkassky, PVS Verleger, Vienna
1995. Fred Camper writes that the film is "composed entirely of frames
of solid black and solid white which Kubelka strings together in lengths
as long as 24 seconds and as short as a single frame. When he alternates
between single black and white frames, a rapid flicker effect is
produced, which is as close as Kubelka can come to the somewhat more
rapid flicker of motion-picture projection; during the long sections of
darkness one waits in nervous anticipation for the flicker to return,
without knowing precisely which form it will take. But Arnulf Rainer is
not merely a study of film rhythm and flicker. In reducing the cinema to
its essentials, Kubelka has not stripped it of meaning, but rather made
an object which has qualities so general as to suggest a variety of
possible meanings, each touching on some essential aspect of existence."
Bonn (Germany) 2003
In cooperation with Beat Zoderer, Ramón González-Arroyo, and Oswald Egger.
the latest development in the area of Audio-Augmented Reality,
is the result of an interdisciplinary project which has received support
from the European Union. As one of five partners, the Kunstmuseum Bonn
is presented as part of the exhibition Beat Zoderer - The False Bottom
is Deeper Than One Would Think - the new technology of radio headphones
as an artistic medium. Beat Zoderer has created the walk-in installation
Raumfaltung ("Folded Space") for LISTEN.
After three years of successful cooperation between the Kunstmuseum
Bonn and three international research institutes along with a private company,
as well as with the artists Gerhard Eckel, Ramón González-Arroyo
(music), Oswald Egger (text) and finally Beat Zoderer, the outcome of this
collaboration has been presented at the center of the exhibition, which unfolds
a powerful space established by gigantic monochromatic surfaces of color
along the walls and upon the floor. The audience is plunged as it were
into a panorama of color and sound creating impressions which - in response
to the choreography defined by one's own personal path through the room
- vary, modulate and repeat themselves in such a way as to ultimately cohere
into an artistic whole. In this manner the audience comes to participate
in an intense synaesthetic experience of body, space and sound.
Mit offenen Auren
Bonn (Germany) 2003
In cooperation with Ramón González-Arroyo and Oswald Egger.
The audio component of the Raumfaltung installation is composed of
several layers forming an infinite flow of sound. One of these layers,
the "Underground" layer, combines the elements of the text ("Wortsätze")
written by Oswald Egger with a universe of synthetic sounds composed by
Gerhard Eckel and Ramón González-Arroyo. While exploring the room, the
visitor will be discovering different elements, single moments, or
smaller segments of this "Underground" layer. The sounds of this
algorithmically composed music-flow, including the recorded text
elements, have been categorized into different types, called Auras. One
can imagine them as a palette of sound-colours. "Mit offenen Auren"
(With Auras wide open) is an independent version of the "Underground"
layer specially composed for the CD, where
the world of Auras reveals its unfolded form. Although this piece,
which could have been called the Aura Suite from the Raumfaltung
installation, has been conceived for headphone reproduction, it may also
be played over loudspeakers. The text has been spoken by Katharina
Hinsberg and Oswald Egger.
Interactive Sound Installation
Berlin (Germany) 2002
In cooperation with Martin Rumori, Daniel Teige, Eckehard Guether, and Maximilian Szcepanski.
"Grenzenlose Freiheit" delegates the
control over the evolution of the sonic process to up to three visitors
at the same time. This is acomplished by using small wireless networked
computers (PDAs), which are handed out to the visitors when entering the
installation. Sound material originating from different contexts gets overlayed,
shrunk or stretched. By using the PDAs, the visitor controls the
realtime sound synthesis process. He or she also determines the position in
space where the sound projection takes place. The installation is
inscribed into three contiguous rooms and uses 24 loudspeakers for the
sound projection. See more details can be found at the project website www.grenzenlosefreiheit.de.
Bonn (Germany) 2001
Poème Spatial was created for the inauguration of the 40-channel
Audiodome sound projection system conceived by Aeldrik Pander and
Gerhard Eckel for the Multimedia theatre ANIMAX in Bonn / Bad Godesberg. The
installation uses the 40 loudspeakers as individual sound sources
creating clouds of spatially distributed granular sound textures.
Avoiding traditional panning techniques allowed for an uncoloured
projection of the mildly processed (by transposition and filtering) and
mostly concrete sound material. The installation was presented in almost
complete darkness (only a small and dimmed light bulb was suspended from
the ceiling in the center of the space) in order to avoid any visual
reference to the real acoustic space. The installation created a very
strong sense of an acoustic space much larger than the theatre's real
space. The illusion would only cease when exciting the room by other
sources, e.g. a handclap. Then the very dry natural acoustics of the
space was perceivable as well, creating a very paradoxical situation
to the ear.
Bonn (Germany) 2001
In cooperation with Joachim Gossman and Ruth Diehl
"LISTEN" is an audio-visual installation which has been presented at the
Kunstmusem Bonn from March 31st to April 29th 2001. The minimalist
installation consisting of a video monitor and two loudspeakers, intends
to increase the auditory awareness of the visitors. In a museum, which
is dominated by visual artifacts, the "LISTEN" installation creates a
space that irritates at first, but then stimulates reflection and
invites contemplation. Being confronted with an almost empty room
directs the attention towards the act of hearing - i.e. to paying
attention to sound, as John Cage has formulated it. The video monitor
displaying the world "LISTEN" visually underlines the focus on the
auditory through a paradox. When entering the installation space, the
visitors become the audience of a transitional soundscape located at the
entrance of the room. Two loudspeakers placed at ear level to the left
and the right of the door opening reproduce a sound piece which
functions as an acoustic threshold. The piece is based on the whispered
word "listen" recorded in different variations and arranged into a quiet
sound texture. A bench in the middle of the room invites to sit down for
a few minutes and open one's ears to the museum sound environment, which
usually remains inaudible.
Donaueschingen (Germany) 2001
"Gehäuse" (German for box, cabinet, cage, case, package, or housing)
is a sound installation commissioned by the
The installation was part of the concert installation "Especes d'espaces" produced by
Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin. The piece
was inscribed in the 4 rooms of the vaulted basment of an old library building in Donaueschingen. Each room
was dressed with 4 loudspeakers lying on the floor and facing the vaults.
The audience could saunter through the four rooms, which were arranged 2 by 2 along a
corridor. Sound textures moved through the rooms, luring people from one space to the
next. The piece made use of the complex acoustic situation created by the vaults.
The special and fine-tuned positioning of the speakers created a very uniformly
distributed and complex sound image composed of a plentitude of phantom sources created through
vault and wall reflection.
Virtual Sound Installation
Bonn (Germany) 2000
"Camera Musica" is a virtual sound installation which was presented in the context
of the Expo2000 world-wide projects at the
ANIMAX Multimedia Theatre in Bonn / Bad Godesberg
in 2000. In "Camera Musica" the audience explores a visual and an auditory virtual space
in a 3-sided CAVE
projection system equipped with an 8-channel 3D audio display developed
at Fraunhofer IMK. Equipped with 3D glasses
and using a stearing wand, the visitors could float through a virtual architecture
of semi-transparent boxes which are inhabited by different sound textures. A physical
modelling system related the position of the visitors to the the forces determining the
positions of the boxes. This is how a seeminly tactile and perceptually very plausible sense of immersion
and interaction could be achieved. The sound textures also change in reaction to their moving
containers, who's state of equilibrium is constantly disturbed by the presence of the (moving)
visitors. Everything is kept in motion and it is the motion that drives the sound textures.
Realisation Sculptures Musicales
Bonn / Berlin (Germany) 2000
An electronic 8-channel version of Sculptures Musicales
by John Cage has been realized for a concert organized by the KMN Berlin which took place at
the Konzerthaus Berlin on
September 3rd 2000. Eight loudspeakers were installed on seats among the
audience and facing the ceiling of the small hall in the Konzerthaus.
The sculptures were produced in real-time with a Max/MSP program running
on a G4 Mac controlled by a G3 PowerBook. Cage scored the piece by the
and leaving from different points and forming a sounding sculpture which
lasts" (Marcel Duchamp) An exhibition of several, one at a time,
beginning and ending "hard-edge" with respect to the surrounding
"silence", each sculpture within the same space the audience is. From
one sculpture to the next, no repetition, no variation. For each a
minimum of three constant sounds each in a single envelope. No limit to
their number. Any length of lasting. Any lengths of non-formation.
Acoustic and/or electronic. John Cage, 1989. More: Sound excerpts of the 7 sculptures (mp3) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Munich (Germany) 2000
"SoundTube" is an real-time generated 8-channel sound environment conceived
for the t-u-b-e sound gallery in Munich.
SoundTube has been produced in situ and in reaction to the specific acoustic
environment of the vaulted space. Based on a large repertoire of sound material,
sound proccessing and projection processes, the sound environment was inscribed
into the space in a few days. Following the utopian concept of open form, "SoundTube" is an
installation allowing the audience to individually explore the sounds spread
over the room. The goal was to mold sound and space into a unit, which can be
perceived differently at every spot in space and time. The theme of the piece is
the resistance of mechanical objects (or volumes of air) which have to be overcome
in order create sound through motion. This concerns especially the interaction
between these moving object and our body, as we don't only hear with our ears.
Cologne (Germany) 1999
"Traverse" is an improvisation for
viola and computer created by Vincent Royer and Gerhard Eckel for the
opening of the "Viola Spezzata" exhibition
in the Kunstmuseum Bonn
(June 2nd 1999). The computer is used as a kind of instrument played
live by Gerhard Eckel using sound material recorded with Vincent Royer
in the context of their "Catalogue" project.
"Traverse" was chosen by the music jury of the International Computer Music Conference
2000 in Berlin to be performed at the conference and to be released
on the ICMC 2000 music CD.
More: Recording of the premiere (mp3), ICMC 2000 Program
Sound Sculpture Viola Spezzata
St. Augustin / Bonn (Germany) 1999
Spezzata" is a futher development of the "Stele"
adapted for the installation in the Kunstmuseum Bonn (June 2nd -
July 11th 1999). Whereas the "Stele" was conceived to be presented in a
larger and empty space with well-balanced acoustics (e.g. ZKM's "Kubus" studio and concert hall,
where it was created), the "Viola Spezzata" is inscribed into the
particular acoustical, architectural, aesthetic, and social setting of
the Kunstmuseum Bonn. The vertical structure of the "Stele" was not any
longer pertinent in this new context and a horizontal arrangement was
chosen instead. Visitors of the museum are confronted with a
minimalistic sculpture lying on the floor and projecting sounds towards
the ceiling. Every hour the "Viola Spezzata" plays for nine minutes and
then releases the visitors again to the silence of the museum.
St. Augustin / Karlsruhe (Germany) 1998
kinetic sound sculpture "Stele" sonic and sculptural elements are
blended to form a hybrid object. The sculpture's static visual aspect
and its dynamic acoustic appearance form thereby a powerful contrast,
which mutually intensifies the two components. On the one hand, the
eight loudspeakers piled up to a fragile column serve as building blocks
of a minimalist (archi)tectonic sculpture, on the other hand their
linear arrangement constitutes an acoustic prism with very peculiar
sound projection characteristics. This arrangement was inspired by video
sculptures using monitors as building blocks. There the monitors
function not only as individual displays, but also as cells in dynamic
image textures. An attempt to transpose this concept into the acoustic
domain led to the linear arrangement of loudspeakers forming an acoustic
antenna. The acoustic radiation pattern of the antenna can be controlled
dynamically by means of a computer program. The particular acoustic
characteristics of the "Stele" account for its enigmatic air brought
about by a new approach towards projecting complex sound textures in
More: Program note
CM96 (Camera Musica Sketch)
Paris (France) / St.
Augustin (Germany) 1994-1996
Considering the idea of open
form as one of the most fascinating concepts of twentieth century music
composition, I see new opportunities to approach this utopia by the
means of modern media technology. Compared to the classical concert
situation, where musical texts realized by composers are interpreted by
musicians in order to be received by the listener, the installation
situation offers a fundamentally different presentation framework for
music. The listeners are free to actively position and locate themselves
in space and time, thus giving way to listening conditions less
constrained than being bound to a seat in a concert hall. Exploring a
music installation is much closer to contemplating visual art work than
attending the thread of directed musical discourse in a concert. The
installation situation allows listeners to more directly experience the
openness of a composition because they may affect its unfolding, a
privilege which was reserved to only composers and instrumentalists in
the past. But how to offer this access to the untrained listener who is
neither composer nor instrumentalist? Only the most intuitive interface
referring to every-day experience as anybody can assumed to be
acquainted with will insure the necessary ease and subtlety of
navigation. In the installation Camera musica I will use the notion of a
remotely controllable (virtual) camera as a vehicle to visually and
aurally explore a potentially open composition. By the means of a
projection-based virtual reality system, listeners will explore a
three-dimensional music space with the same ease and intuition as they
would walk through a park. The different objects they will encounter in
this space and the various situations they may experience are set into
relation with the structure of the music produced while wandering upon.
Thus Camera musica uses virtual reality technology not mainly for its
immersive capacities but as an intuitive interface to explore complex
and ambiguous musical relationships.
Sound Installation Sound
St. Augustin (Germany) 1997
Sound Spheres is a sound installation conceived as a
part of the virtual environment caveland. The
installation explores the basic features of the CyberStage
audio-visual display system with the aim of shaping some of the yet
unstructured vocabulary of musical expression and experience in cyber
space. The concentration on a few fundamental aspects of integrated
audio-visual simulation was a conscious decision in the design of the
installation and led to its abstract and minimalist character. In
essence, sound spheres is about localization of moving sound and light
sources. The role which direct and reflected sound and light play in the
perception of space is explored in an experimental context.
When entering the installation, we are left in
complete darkness and silence. With a virtual flashlight we start to
explore our obscure situation. While scanning the surroundings with the
light beam, the scene slowly appears to our imagination. By pointing the
flashlight in different directions we become aware of a big striped
sphere enclosing us as well as several smaller rotating spheres slowly
moving along circular paths. Then we discover how to activate these
small spheres by inflating them with a virtual pump attached to the
flashlight and operated by a button on the flashlight. The more we
inflate a sphere, the longer it keeps on emitting percussive sounds and
light flashes in regular rhythmical patterns. The omni-directional light
flashes show us the entire scene for brief instants and the reflections
on the shiny spheres help us to locate the light sources. The percussive
sounds emitted synchronously with the light flashes excite the virtual
room acoustics and provide us with a sense of distance and direction.
The more spheres are active at a time, the denser the complex light and
sound patterns will be. But pointing the virtual pump at a sphere for
too long a time will lead to its explosion accompanied by a violent
detonation flash and noise. While freely floating in the space of
weightlessness between the flashing and sounding spheres, we experience
an ever changing rhythmical tissue of spatialized sound and light. The
perception of this space remains fragmentary and obscure due to the
transient nature of the auditory and visual evidence leaving plenty of
room for our imagination.
Research Project Catalogue
(Canada), Sankt Augustin, Karlsruhe (Germany) 1995 (in progress)
Catalogue is a project carried out in collaboration with
the alto player and composer Vincent Royer whom I met at the Banff
Center for the Arts during a residency in 1995. Both being interested in
new string instrument playing techniques, we started this project with
the goal to develop a catalogue of specially recorded sound material.
The material is intended to be produced and recorded for our individual
compositional projects. The first recording sessions took place in Banff
in 1995. Other sessions followed at GMD's AudioLab in
1997. In 1998, ZKM started to support
the project by putting its high-end audio recording studios at our
disposal. The material recorded so far was used in Royer's Chinook II, a
composition for violin, alto, and 8-track tape and for my kinetic sound
Paris (France) / Karlsruhe
Music installation realized for the media festival Mediale 1993
in Hamburg (Germany). Presented in the context of the symposium
Interface II. Realized with the support of ZKM, Center for the Arts and Media
Excerpt from the program note:
I consider the sound installation
as an important alternative to the temporal and spatial constraints of
perceiving music in concert halls. Aesthetic concepts such as
indeterminacy, openness and ambiguity find their adequate expression
more likely in the relaxed environment of an installation than in the
traditional concert situation. The possibility to occupy different
spatial and temporal position while exploring an installation allows the
listener to take more actively part in the listening process. This
constellation matches with my intention to shift the attention in my
compositional work from the construction of final processes towards a
disposition of possible situations. The listener's freedom to move
around in the space structured by the installation allows for a
confrontation with music which shows similarities to the way visual art
is perceived. In reaction to what is heard, the listener may change his
or her position in order to focus the listening on certain aspects - an
approach similar to reading a painting. But en face does not have
a visual component since it is concerned only with the act of listening.
The only relationship with visual art can be seen in the way the sound
material is projected or displayed. Even the seemingly paradoxical
possibility to influence the temporal structure of music is part of the
concept of installations: There is no beginning and no end and every
part carries characteristics of a whole, which never appears as such -
remains imaginary. Sense does not emerge after a complete presentation
of the parts but is already seizable in the fragments. But it will be
blurred by other fragments, in order to reappear again on another level
through the relationships linking the fragments. The resulting ambiguity
which constantly gives rise to new interpretations of the allusions
presented, shows the absurdity of all attempts to gain a state of
clearness and security. en face uses synthetic sound material as
well as transformed natural sounds, in order to blur the source of the
sound and the conditions of its production. This adds yet another level
of possible interpretation. It is thus the immaterial characteristic of
synthetic sound material which is the basis for the composition of
Vienna (Austria) 1989
Concert installation for sound sources, microphones, loudspeakers,
time delays, filters and mixing console. Commissioned by the Wiener
Konzerthaus for the Cage-Projekt 1989, February 25th, 1989,
where it was performed in parallel with the Concerto for Piano and
Orchestra and Variations II by John Cage. The latter,
performed by the percussionist Elisabeth Flunger, was used as sound
source for Dispersion. The central idea of the piece is Cage's
concept of undeterminacy. Dispersion can be thought of as a
mechanism to fragment already articulated sound material. Temporal
rearranegment of the recorded sound material by means of time delay
units opens up new fields of structural relationships. A computer
generated score is to be executed by a musician on a mixing
console. Since the effects of the prescribed manipulations become audible
only after a long delay, any kind of interaction, interpretation or
improvisation is prohibited by the nature of the piece. The temporal
fragmentation mechanism determined by the score is independent from the
input sound material and thus the result is undetermined but not
Arbeitsbericht (in German) at Karlheinz Essl's web site.
Composition Der Zufall geht
Vienna (Austria) 1986
Computer generated tape composition. Realized at the Institute for
Electroacoustic and Experimental Music (ELAC) of the
Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna on the
computer music system AKA 2000. The only sound material used to realize
this piece is the clicking sound of two colliding billiard balls lasting
for a few milliseconds. Derivates of the original sound were produced by
various sound tranformation techniques and the resulting sounds were
grouped in families. Markov processes were used to form "clouds of
sound" of different density and texture. On the formal level of the
piece, an articulation of macro and micro time structure was attempted
throught the use of (abstract) models of excitations and resonance. The
piece is recorded on the label "Classic Amadeo" on the disk
"Österreichische Musik der Gegenwart, Elektroakustische Musik 1, 30
Jahre Elektroakustische Musik" (472 039-1).
Composition Come una certa espressione parlante
Vienna (Austria) 1985
Assocication Kybernikos, Association for New Music and Multimedia
Vienna (Austria) 1985
Founded in 1985, together
with the composers Eugen Brochier, Karlheinz Essl, Gerhard Robert Hauser, Werner
Jauk, Hannes Heininger and Walter Schweiger. Sponsored by the
Austrian Ministry of Culture and the Austrian Section of the
International Association for New Music. Kybernikos' activities were
concentrated on the synergy of art and technology with special respect
to New Music and Multimedia Performance. Kybernikos organized several
concerts, seminars and workshops.
Vienna (Austria) 1984
Soundtrack for the animation film
Abanaleballade by the painter Gerlinde Thuma (Vienna). Realized
at the animation studio of the masterclass of the painter professor
Maria Lassnig, Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna. In this
film it was attempted to explore different possibilities of temporal
organization of a medium which combines visual art and music. Intense
experimentation work, also with other artists of the animation studio
(e.g. Hubert Silezky) had an important influence on the composition of
this soundtrack. The film has been shown at several international film