Wednesday July 31 2013 16:00 – 20:00 | Day Program

NK PRESENTS at Berlin Atonal 2013

JAN THOBEN on “Optophonetics” / ROC JIMENEZ DE CISNEROS and STEPHEN SHARP on “Rave Synthesis” / MARISKA DE GROOT’s “Lumisonic Rotera”

NK presents: JAN THOBEN on “Optophonetics”

A lecture on early audio-visual practice within the spectrum of noise.

The first public presentations of the singing arc lamp and sound film technologies in Germany evoked a strong response from artists in the early 1920s. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Raoul Hausmann reflected the perceptual and cultural impact of optical sound and proclaimed an artistic practice entitled Optophonetics. What caught their attention was the technological potential to transform signals from the auditory into the visual domain and vice versa. Moholy-Nagy envisioned a system to compose music by means of visual inscriptions of waveforms on the soundtrack area of a film applying constructivist methods of analysis and synthesis.
The Dadaist Raoul Hausmann, devised in 1922, an Optophone based on his theories of tactilism. This apparatus has never been built, but its approximate function can be reconstructed with the help of archival sketches and texts. Hausmann’s Optophone represents a grotesque transformation of existing technologies and can be considered one of the earliest examples of audio-visual media art.

about Jan Thoben

Jan Thoben studied musicology and art history at Humboldt University in Berlin. Thoben was aresearch fellow at Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute in Linz and is co-editor of the print and onlinecompendium “See This Sound”, an interdisciplinary survey of audiovisual culture.
Optophonics takes place in the Kraftwerk Schaltraum at 1630 on Wednesday 31.07. No equipment is necessary, registration not required.


A presentation of the ideas and processes behind “computer music for hooligans”.

Roc JimĂ©nez de Cisneros and Stephen Sharp collaborate on a body of work they call Rave Synthesis, and describe as “computer music for hooligans”. Their work can be understood as an aesthetic exploration of algorithmic composition and a deconstruction of rave culture. Their music has been published on record labels like Entr’acte, Editions Mego, Presto!?, and their very own ALKU. Their work has been exhibited at numerous festivals, clubs, galleries and museums throughout the world. EVOL recordings, installations and performances display a radical and playful approach to audio synthesis, full of upward spirals, trance inducing patterns and challenging temporal structures, halfway between academia and psychedelia.

From obnoxious physical/chemical systems to imitate computer generated sounds, to resynthesized icons, ouroboric emulation, recursion, and so on, the two artist-musicians take us through the processes and ideas that underlie their working practice.

Rave Synthesis takes place in the Kraftwerk Schaltraum at 1745 on Wednesday 31.07. No equipment is necessary, registration not required.

MARISKA DE GROOT’s “Lumisonic Rotera”

A performative installation constructed/conducted by Mariska de Groot

Rediscovering optical sound, an invention of the 1920’s originating in film and employed in early synthesizers, Mariska de Groot provides the technology with a life of its own, creating machinery that openly reveals its functioning. The “Lumisonic Rotera’” is a comprehensive instrumentarium conducted by Mariska de Groot, generating a light-is-sound projection performance in space. Light is projected on spinning wheels holding perforated graphical patterns, so the light filtering through the wheels is picked up by optical sensors and converted into audible frequencies.

Physically re-placing and manipulating the objects in space, the constructivist forms of light and sound projected into the surrounding space are in a continuously changing composition. Seeing the sounds not used, the mind can try to grasp this full potential by drawing its own trajectories of sound and image, fuelled by the abundance of ‘left’ projection.

The instrument is fully analog and doesn’t use any computer or [digital] modulation.

Lumisonic Rotera takes place in the Kraftwerk Schaltraum at 1900 on Wednesday 31.07. No equipment is necessary, registration not required.

This day program has been curated by NK