Exhibited at the 2013 Städelschule Rundgang in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the new magnetic audio tape series ‘pages‘ and ‘magnetophon diary‘ focuses on the historical, diaristic, and indexicality aspects of audio tape and its materiality through print, classic tape reel to reel recorder, and sound performance. The work is also part of an ongoing investigation into modernist painting and works of Ellsworth Kelly, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, and others. The focus of this series is particularly significant and special, in that its origins lie in early German sound technology of the 1920s to 1980s, as well as a regional importance of Hessen, Frankfurt am Main, and Bad Nauheim. The minimal and modernist A4 size black rectangles of the ‘pages‘ series are silk screen printed with a recordable magnetic pigment on paper, utilizing black iron oxide Fe304, in direct reference to the same formula of first iteration and patent of magnetic tape on paper in 1928 by Fritz Pfleumer. These prints, tested and proven, can in fact be recorded into with magnetic tape heads such as those found in various tape machines from studio reel to reel to cassette recorders. In the testing phase, cassette tape size strips were cut and run across the head in ‘record’ mode while speaking phrases, and played back with low yet decipherable fidelity. The ‘magnetophon diary‘ is a late 1960s early 1970s German made UHER reel to reel tape recorder, utilizing a BASF tape reel, dated from 1970s to 1980s, which is no longer manufactured. The regional significance of this series is important, as it was through 1945 post war findings in Bad Nauheim that American audio engineer Jack Mullin was able to recover two WWII German AEG Magnetophon recorders and 50 reels of tape to take back to the United States, thus introducing this never before seen German technology and developing the first American tape manufacturer, Ampex, which found its way into US studio, radio, and home use in later years. My enjoyment of youthful sound experimentation in the 1970s and teenage cassette mix tapes and early portastudio productions of the 1980s is directly linked to where all these years later, I now find myself furthering a practice in sound. It should also be noted that the IG Farben conglomerate, of which BASF was a founding company in 1925, also stood in the historic Hans Poelzig building, which is now the Goethe University Westend Campus in Frankfurt. The third element of this series, is the ‘treppenhaus‘ sound performances taking place once each day of Rundgang. These performances were recorded on the UHER / BASF, thus documenting and archiving a real time performative exhibition sound diary, and played back twice a day later as an ‘echo’ or ‘reverberation’ of a moment in time. The first day was a 25 minute performance, the second day was 25 minutes of silence (25 minutes of sound performed not recorded and replaced with silence), and the third day was 30 minutes of sound performance. These performances were developed using guitar, effects / loop pedal, and tube amplifier. My guest collaborator, Bernhard Schreiner, utilized a computer which was fed a microphone signal taken from my guitar amp, and treated with his processing and signal chain artistry. For me, this series is not only an investigation on various material, historical, and theoretical contexts, but also suitably unifies my various practices to date. Special note of thanks to Dr. Sabine Fabriz, Thomas Dreisoerner, Tony Hunt, and Bernhard Schreiner.
Currently in the Museum Für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, are 3 sound works on Otoacoustics as part of a sound installation that concentrates on psychoacoustic phenomena and explores the effects of auditory impressions. uni(psycho)acoustic was developed with students of the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule within the framework of Carsten Nicolai’s guest professorship.
‘i know now what no angel knows’ is a work that was created in Berlin and Frankfurt in the summer of 2011 and exhibited at the 2012 Städelschule Rundgang. The title, taken from the last line of the Wim Wenders film ‘Himmel Uber Berlin’, is a reference to states of grace, as well as communication between angels and mortals. The limited edition silkscreen print ‘grace’ postcards in silver metalic on white and white on white, represent two forms of angel/mortal communication as well as the corresponding black and white and color portions of the film. The silver represents angel to mortal forms (black and white) and the white represents mortal to angel forms (color). The postcards are a signed and numbered edition of 25 and 10 AP.
photos courtesy of Portikus
Friday, September 28, 2012 – Portikus performance of ‘theory of flight’, which is a 7 part sonic depiction of the text ‘Theory of Flight’ (Teoria Del Vuelo) by Jose De Jesus Martinez, translated by Micheal Stevenson, published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, and included in his Portikus exhibition ‘A Life of Crudity, Vulgarity, and Blindness’. Each segment of this work is an improvised response that depicts themes and narratives found in the reading, from the mechanics of a plane taking flight, landing, and in air activity, to contemplation of life on earth, and all that transpires from love and joy to loss and sorrow. Titled ‘theory of flight’ 1-7, these movements are also named after the themes they depict in extracted text. They are: (1) ’shaking off the lethargy’ (2) ‘a fragile universe’ (3) ‘moment without limits’ (4) ‘only their images and their memory remain’ (5) ‘the consciousness is an old battlefield, now empty’ (6) ‘navigating the heights’ (7) ‘the earth and me’.
For this work, I utilized guitars, effects / loop pedal, ipad with software synthesizer, and a moog LP (on which 8 patch sounds were created specifically for this performance). These instruments were routed into a mackie console which fed a 4 speaker sound system, thus creating an immersive soundscape. The console could then be also used as an instrument, with fades and transitions to assist in the aimed ‘filmic’ character.
Between these original performed segments, were interludes of music from Panama, during a height of cultural and musical activity in the 1960s and 70s. These tracks were also selected and compiled by their themes and congruences to the depicted text narratives.
hear excerpts from the ‘theory of flight’ performance
on Saturday June 23, I performed an improvised experimental sound / noise set with guest Bernhard Schreiner in the Crypt Bar at the Lüften Festival. His instrumentation was magnetic coils and computer processing, while mine was guitar, loop / effect pedals, glass slides, etc. Special thanks to Tim, Erik, and Nik for the invitation to perform and dj throughout the first two evenings of the event.
Regrettably, the performance was not recorded as planned. There are plans to reconvene with Bernhard, and record a track that is somewhat along the lines of what our performance entailed, which would then be released at a later time.
In preparation for Lüften, I recorded three tracks that were originally planned as part of a sound installation in the Crypt Bar (turbine 1, 2, and 3). Ultimately plans changed, and they went unused. They are now presented here at the link below as examples of the sonic and textural characteristics that were in mind and development in anticipation for the Saturday performance and after a month and a half of sound research purely for the sake of this performance.
The first complete stage of the RT60 project was exhibited at Städelschule Rundgang 2012. The installation consisted of three prints, a looping sound station, and a publication which included theory, discourse, and practical aspects of the project and its execution. Below is the introduction page text of this publication:
RT60 – the authenticity of space through sound
The RT60 project involves ongoing research, inquiry and artistic processes focusing on the notion of individualistic sonic identity within architecture. This is accomplished primarily through concentration on the inherent ‘sonic fingerprint’ of each individual structure, in accordance to its unique and specific design, dimensions, materials, and manifestation which is captured, examined, and expressed through impulse response technology, then mediated into various forms of abstraction.
Introduced in the winter 2010 of the Städelschule Forensic Aesthetics Seminar, this project began as a formal investigation of space and time. With support from the Dutch company Audio Ease, the industry leading impulse response and convolution technologists of the last several years, this series utilizes analytic processes and state of the art software to sample room acoustics and their frequency and decay characteristics via impulse response (a means of calculated measure). The software provides the ability to analyze via visual waterfall graphs, all of these characteristics as well as the opportunity to use this impulse response to reproduce or emulate these sonic characteristics. In essence, each space can be sampled and reapplied to any other sound sources at any later time, thus capturing, sustaining, and immortalizing a moment of specific and unique time and place.
As this investigation furthers, not only do varied and complex formal and analytical processes and notions emerge, but those of conceptual and philosophical nature do as well, specifically in regards to a modern / postmodern discourse. The complex tension between inherence, universality and isolated, contextualized, specific condition makes way for further consideration and examination. When applied to 20th century Modernist Architecture, this dialectic magnifies. What happens when a structure designed with utopian and universal means and method begins to demonstrate and prove that its own characteristics are unique to only itself? What happens when within this space, a myriad and potentially infinite number of characteristics are present, namely in impulse responses that change from subtle location, temperature, and material shifts? Does this undermine the whole notion of Modernism itself or does it bear a new breed? Does it push Modern / Postmodern discourse to a closer point of reconciliation, heading further towards hybridization? What does this mean for space and time, especially when re-producible? What could this mean regarding experience and action taken within our daily lives, and those that can be re-contextualized in such dramatic ways? These are only a handful of many of the continually emerging discoveries and branches of inquiry unveiled through this investigation.
Only now in this day and age of technology and computing, as well as deeper understanding of ourselves, and the world in which we live, can we utilize these new methods of measurement and analysis to consider and reframe our own existence and those we manifest.
In execution and demonstration of the RT60 project series, a parallel complex condition of artistic inquiry and investigation is taking place, namely that of painting and the notion of indexicality, modernism, minimalism, essence, and context as well as art and subjecthood. This is accomplished by integrating the abstracted graphic visual of the impulse response analysis with sound and reproduction. The culmination of these two means results in an experiential installation of print / paint and sound.
For the initial stage of this project, to exhibit at the Städelschule Rundgang 2012, I have sampled three spaces within the Städelschule: the rector office, the aula, and my shared atelier H7 (which is also the office of the ‘Institut für Kunstkritik’). This first stage provided the opportunity to explore and establish the processes of this investigation, and to examine the differences within one material structure utilizing small, medium, and large formal attributes, allowing for a strong and stable pedagogical base. Although chosen mostly for their formal attributes, these particular Städelschule spaces are also important, as they represent key points of power and socio-political order as ‘government / head’, ‘state / collective’, and ‘subject / individual’.
For the next stage, landmark modernist structures have been selected as locations in which to further carry out this investigation for a finished series and book publication. They are: Neue Nationalgalerie by Mies van der Rohe (Berlin, DE), Mies van der Rohe Pavillon (Barcelona, ES), Le Corbusier Haus, Weissenhofsiedlung Museum (Stuttgart, DE), Bauhaus School building by Walter Gropius (Dessau, DE), and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Frankfurter Küche in the Ernst May Haus (Frankfurt, DE). These important locations were chosen as they are notable and influential materializations of the grand modernist era aesthetic, in which Bauhaus and pre World War II Germany was its birthplace and epicenter and from which these key figures emerged, among others. Dependent on discovery, time, budget, access, and other allowances, other possible landmark locations may be added to this list. In addition, hyper focused investigations will continue to be carried out as well, under controlled conditions within the Städleschule, creating an archive of examined variables and recorded results.