October 12-13, 2018, MUMUTH, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria

Exploring Formats, Enriching Practice

Exploring Formats, Enriching Practice. A Research Event


Exploring Formats, Enriching Practice brings together artists and theoreticians to explore forms in which to share developments emerging from art practices. The event will address the following questions: Which forms of sharing are relevant and adequate for artistic practice? Which formats can we think of that afford access and engagement while not compromising what is artistically important? What are the alternatives to a knowledge production driven and constrained by economic valorisation? The participants of the event will present and discuss examples of sharing engaged in artistic research. The event seeks to highlight possibilities of transposing rather than transferring what is gained from one context to another.

Exploring Formats, Enriching Practice has been initiated by the team of artistic research project Transpositions [TP] Artistic Data Exploration (2014-17) and continues a series of research events that started in the context of the project The Choreography of Sound (2010-14) with On the Choreography of Sound (2012) and Mind the Gap (2013), both in Graz. Within TP two further research events took place, DA TA rush: Transposition not Exhibition (2016) in Vienna and Transpositions: From science to art (and back) (2017) in Stockholm. Artistic research events have been developed as experimental meeting formats combining artistic and academic contributions, aiming at articulating aesthetic experience and theoretical reflection. Following this tradition, Exploring Formats, Enriching Practice will also propose an unusual constellation of artistic and scholarly forms of presentation and participation.

Exploring Formats, Enriching Practice is a cooperation within the framework of the Knowledge Transfer Centre South (WTZ Süd) between the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics of the University of Music and Performing Arts, the Institute for Contemporary Art and the Institut für Architekturtheorie, Kunst- und Kulturwissen­schaften of the Graz University of Technology. It is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education Science and Research (BMBWF) and Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH (aws).

Attendance is free for everyone but we kindly ask you to register at andreas.pirchner at kug.ac.at


Janhavi Dhamankar (Pune)

Janhavi Dhamankar is an Odissi (Indian classical dance) performer and teacher, trained under the rigorous Guru-shishya tradition for over 20 years. She completed her Bachelors and Masters in Philosophy from Pune University and her MPhil from K. U. Leuven, Belgium. Building on the empathic performer from her MPhil, she will now explore the role of empathy in integration of minorities through her PhD at the University of Vienna. Having presented at many international conferences and been awarded residencies in India and Oxford, she explored the Philosophical underpinnings of Social Sculpture under Shelley Sacks, Head of Social Sculpture Research Unit, Oxford. Her recent publications include Empathy-in-Practice: A Method for Artistic Research? and a collectively authored piece What is Refugee, Performance Philosophy, special edition.

Florian Dombois (Zurich)

Florian Dombois ( *1966, Berlin ) is an artistwho has focused on time, labilities, wind and tectonic activity. 2003-2011 he was the founding director of Y (Institute for Transdisciplinarity) at Bern University of the Arts and since 2011 has been a professor at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. 2008-2010 he developed with Michael Schwab the concept of the Journal for Artistic Research. 2010 he received the German Sound Art Prize. 2017 he was shown in the Research Pavilion in Venice.

Recent books:
Florian Dombois, Valérie Knoll (eds.): "im Tun. Eine Geschichte der Künstler*innen", Zurich, 2018
Florian Dombois (ed.): "The Wind Tunnel Model. Transdisciplinary Encounters", Zurich, 2017

Gerhard Eckel (Graz)

Gerhard Eckel ( *1962, Vienna ) uses sound to explore deviant ways of world making. He aims at articulating aesthetic and epistemic formes of listening, engaging all senses and not only the auditory modality. His works are the result of research processes drawing on the practice and theory of music composition, sound art, choreography and dance, installation art, interaction design and digital instrument making. Gerhard works as professor of Computer Music and Multimedia at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. He also serves as affiliated professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and as visiting professor at the Royal College of Music, both in Stockholm. In addition to his artistic work and teaching, he directs publicly funded transdisciplinary research projects and supervises scholarly and artistic doctoral research. Together with Michael Schwab he led the project Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration from 2014-17. Since 2018 he collaborates with Artemis-Maria Gioti in his current project Inter_agency: Composing Sonic Human-Computer Agent Networks. Both projects are funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF in the context of the PEEK program.

Daniel Gethmann (Graz)

Daniel Gethmann is Associate Professor for Cultural Studies and Design Theory at the Institute of Architectural Theory, History of Art and Cultural Studies at Graz University of Technology. He is the Executive Editor of the Architecture Magazine GAM and Head of the OeNB research project: “Ferdinand Schuster (1920-1972): The Architectonic Works.” His research interests cover the fields of architecture as science from a cultural-studies perspective, media theory, auditive culture, history and theory of cultural techniques. His publications include: Feld. Modelle, Begriffe und architektonische Raumkonzepte. Berlin–Zürich 2019 (forthcoming); Die Enden des Kabels. Kleine Mediengeschichte der Übertragung. Berlin 2016 (with Florian Sprenger); Klangmaschinen zwischen Experiment und Medientechnik. Bielefeld 2010; Kulturtechnik Entwerfen. Praktiken, Konzepte und Medien in Architektur und Design Science. Bielefeld 2009 (with Susanne Hauser); Die Übertragung der Stimme. Vor- und Frühgeschichte des Sprechens im Radio. Berlin–Zürich 2006.

Cecile Malaspina (London)

Cecile Malaspina a philosopher based in London, affiliated with the CNRS lab SPHERE at Paris 7 Denis Diderot. She is the author of An Epistemology of Noise, Bloomsbury 2018 and official translator, with the collaboration of John Rogove, of Gilbert Simondon’s On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects, Univocal, Minnesota University Press.

Victor Jaschke (Vienna)

Filmmaker and cameraman in Jakarta and Vienna, born 1966 in Austria, studied camera and directing at the film academy in Vienna. Collaboration with the artist collectives Geschwister Odradek and Gelitin in Vienna and Berlin. Since 2007 working on documentaries and feature films with Ascan Breuer. Documentaries and Videotrainings for NGOs in Indonesia, documentaries and artistic film works for european art institutions. Installations and public interventions in art- and public spaces in Austria and Germany. Since 2017 Project developer for renewable energy in Indonesia.

David Pirrò (Graz)

David Pirrò is a sound artist and researcher based in Graz, Austria. His works include interactive compositions and sound installations as well as audiovisual and electroacoustic pieces in which aspects of performance and spatialisation of sound are central. Departing from a radical inclusive point of view, he seeks ways of composing by which the work of art is constructed through mutual interaction of the agents involved in its performance.

David studied Physics at the University of Trieste where in 2004 he obtained the Master of Science degree in theoretical physics. In 2007 he obtained the Master degree at the School of Music and New Technologies at the Conservatory "G. Tartini" in Trieste. Since 2007 David works as lecturer and researcher at the IEM (Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics) in Graz, Austria. He has been part of scientific and artistic research projects on sonification, sound spatialisation and interaction design. He holds a PhD in Computer Music from the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. Currently he is one of the principal investigators of the artistic research project "Algorithms that Matter".

Martin Rumori (Judenburg)

Martin Rumori is an artist-researcher in the field of sound installations, performance, and auditory environments. In his explorations, he frequently consults field recordings, semi-narrative speech, and anecdotal residues of everyday life. He studied musicology, computer science and philosophy at Humboldt and Technical Universities of Berlin and received his PhD at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria, with a work on the aesthetics and technology of binaural audio. Martin works at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics Graz and lives in the region of Styria, Austria.

Hanns Holger Rutz (Graz)

Hanns Holger Rutz is a sound artist, composer, performer, researcher and software developer in electronic art. He studied computer music and audio engineering at the Electronic Studio of the TU Berlin, and worked at the Studio for electroacoustic Music (SeaM) Weimar. He holds a PhD from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) in Plymouth (UK). He is currently post-doc researcher at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM), Graz, where he runs the artistic research project “Algorithms that Matter” (2017–2020). His artistic work, mainly comprised of sound and intermedia installation, live improvisation and electroacoustic composition, has been internationally exhibited, performed and awarded. In his works, the development and research on software and algorithms plays an important role. The central theme in the recent works is the materiality of writing processes. www.sciss.de

Michael Schwab (London)

Michael Schwab is a London-based artist and artistic researcher who investigates postconceptual uses of technology in a variety of media including photography, drawing, print-making, and installation art. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR), co-editor of Intellectual Birdhouse. Artistic Practice as Research. (2012), co-editor of The Exposition of Artistic Research: Publishing Art in Academia (2013), editor of the book Experimental Systems. Future Knowledge in Artistic Research (2015) as well as Transpositions. Aesthetico-Epistemic Operators in Artistic Research. (2018) Until the end of 2017 he was a senior researcher in the ERC funded project MusicExperiment21 as well as joint project-leader of Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration funded by the Austrian Science Fund.


Friday, October 12

12:00 Installations open

13:00 – 13:45 Performance
John Cage, Lecture on Nothing
Martin Rumori, Janhavi Dhamankar

Presentation and discussion session I
15:00 – 16:20 Transpositions: Project and Formats
16:40 – 18:00 Surveying the Context

19:00 Concert installation
TP team, Complexity and Complication
Gerhard Eckel, David Pirrò, Martin Rumori

Saturday, October 13

Presentation and discussion session II
10:00 – 11:20 Exposition and Transposition
11:40 – 13:00 Perspectives and Implications

18:00 Installations close


Wind Modelling (2018)
Florian Dombois

We say wind, as it is a substance or an activity. But it is both: it is tangible and it is a movement of particles at the same time. A wind tunnel is an architecture to form and guide the wind. When looking on its structure, we see the back of a mold, containing an invisible wind sculpture inside. Wind Modeling is a site specific installation, using wind to form and guide the discourse of the participants inside. It blows into the speech, letting the words act like models in a wind tunnel. Every human a wind tunnel. We all share the air. The vocal cords have been articulating meaning out of the wind for thousands and thousands of years. We need intelligent turbulences.

A good wind tunnel sucks.

Unbound (2018)
Gerhard Eckel

Unbound is an installation presenting the DA TA catalogue in a stage prior to its final transposition into a book. The 25 press sheets contaning the 400 pages of the catalogue have been shipped together with 200 bound copies from Ghent to Stockholm for the Transpositions research event that took place there last October. The Belgian book artist Luc Derycke who designed and produced the DA TA catalogue was planning to use the print sheets in the concert installation Compexity and Complication. In the end Luc used a bound copy instead, leaving the unbound and unused stack behind. Once unpacked, it turned out to be very challenging to handle the large sheets without damaging them. In their cut, folded and bound form as a book they are so much more robust. It was the fragility of this only unbound instance of the catalogue that triggered a series of reflections leading to this installation. A stable wooden box had to be built to ship the stack from Stockholm to Graz in order to present the unbound catalogue in form of an installtion. At the time of this writing, it is still open how this will turn out.

Illusion of Simultaneity (2017)
Sound installation
Gerhard Eckel, David Pirrò, Martin Rumori

The idea of someone on the other side of the globe doing something at the very same time as somebody else is doing something here and now relies on a certain notion of simultaneity. Such a notion most likely did not exist before Standard Time had been established only about a century ago. Global synchronisation at ever greater precision is required for global navigation, travel, and communication. But can there be an actual experience of simultaneity or does it remain an abstract idea? The installation The Illusion of Simultaneity explores this question. It has been created for the research event Transpositions: From science to art (and back) which took place October 4-6 2017 in Stockholm / Sweden. Acoustic signals were generated by reactive sound sculptures at each of the five Stockholm venues of the event. Simultaneously, five sculptures were gathered in one room at a central location where they interacted more directly, forming a local dynamical system. The question posed to the audience then was: “Will you allow your experience to construct a network spanning the city of Stockholm?”

2SD (2016)
Michael Schwab

Michael Schwab’s 2SD (Inflatable) (2016) is a 12m long inflatable sculpture. It models the probability space of two standard deviations around vertices calculated on the basis of hits registered in the detector array of the COMPASS experiment at CERN. The model is scaled up to allow for a more embodied experience of a space created by the experiment on a sub-atomic level. The elongated shape stems from the high velocity of the muons that are shot at a target creating substantial positional uncertainty along the direction of the beam.

Complexity and Complication (2017)
Concert installation
Gerhard Eckel, David Pirrò, Martin Rumori

Data analysis is about turning information into understanding and knowledge. Scientists use a large array of powerful tools to filter, sort, cluster, correlate, and contextualise data. Generally, they aim at reducing complexity which is considered an obstacle for the extraction of information, on the path towards knowledge. Artistic data exploration as practiced in the project Transpositions does not aim at reducing but at embracing complexity, and uses it as an instrument to search for the boundary regions between understanding and sensual experience. By having a complex body of data encounter a complex system of exploration designed according to aesthetic criteria, usually a situation is generated which retains (and maybe augments) complexity rather than diminishing it. The goal is not to answer existing questions or solving known problems but to generate new ones gaining different perspectives on the data, which would be otherwise out of reach. Complexity and Complication is a concert installation performed by Gerhard Eckel, David Pirrò, and Martin Rumori using the DA TA catalogue to aurally explore data from molecular biosciences, computational neuroscience, particle physics, and cosmology.

Reconfigurations (2016)
Video installation
Gerhard Eckel, Michael Schwab,
David Pirrò, Anders Lansner,
Pawel Herman

Reconfigurations is a transposition of neuronal activity patterns created in a super-computer simulation of memory processes in the brain. In the particular simulation used for Reconfigurations, the neurons reactivated memorised patterns spontaniously, i.e. without external stimulus, which provoked our curiosity. The neurons were grouped in 81 cortical modules and the correlation of the activities among all these groups have been calculated, forming a high-dimensional space. By means of a dynamical system this space has been projected onto 2 dimensions. Each point moving on the resulting plane corresponds to the activities of one group of neurons. The distances between the points are related to the correlations between the activities of the respective cortical modules. Points closer to each other show a higher correlation than points further apart. The visible behaviour of the points is the result of two dynamical systems: one that creates the behaviour of the neuronal network and the other one trying to negotiate the ever changing degree of correlation between the activities of the neuronal modules. In its attempt to reduce the complexity of the high-dimensional space to a plane, Reconfigurations reduces the spatial complexity at the expense of introducing temporal complexity.

Speaker Matrix (2016)
David Pirrò, Gerhard Eckel

A neural network is a compound of entangled objects. A convoluted collection of nodes and connections between them; an inextricable knot in which pulses spread from one point to the others in complicated patterns. Each single element contributes to the behaviour of the whole network: a vibration pulsating in a strange oscillation and appearing as an coherent phenomenon. Speaker Matrix uses data of a simulated neural network modelling how memory recall processes in our brains might function. The sound installation moulds this data, expands and stretches it in time and space, by slowing it down and, without breaking its internal connections, kneading it into a rectangularly shaped dough. Into this ”lump”, 30 probes are inserted, arranged in a matrix: these are auscultation points through which one loudspeaker makes audible what happens around each position. As all loudspeakers play at the same time, the Speaker Matrix transposes the behaviour of the neural network into a sound that, according to the intricate spreading of signals through the network, exhibits spatial movements, vibrations that travel through the loudspeaker arrangement and through the exhibition space.

Jackfield (2016)
Headphone installation
Gerhard Eckel, David Pirrò

The Jackfield exposes the dynamics of simulated neural activity as binaural soundscape. Different timbrical and spatial perspectives can be adopted by the listener through manually browsing the 81 transpositions layed out in a matrix of headphone jack sockets. Through different extents of filtering (arranged along one axis of the matrix) neuronal spikes (perceived as bright events in the foreground of the sound texture) can be separated to different degrees from the continuous changes in the cell potentials (audible as much duller background events). Acoustically, the cells are grouped in a binaural simulation of the Angewandte Innovation Laboratory (AIL) gallery spaces, for which the Jackfield was produced and has been exhibited in the context of the Transpositions research event DA TA rush: Transposition not Exhibition in May 2016. Different cell configurations and virtual listening positions (arranged along the other axis of the matrix) expose the complex temporal relationships among groups of cell. Whenever the listener inserts the headphone jack into a socket, the looped signal starts from an initial position, easing an exploration of the space of differences established by the Jackfield.

Killen (2016)
Video installation
Gerhard Eckel

Killen is the German term for luffing, which designates the flapping movement of a sail in the wind. When the continious airflow over the sail is disrupted, it starts to luff or flap in a seemingly erratic way. The video Killen is the result of an experiment performed in the context of Florian Dombois’ wind tunnel project at the Zurich University of the Arts. A piece of fine cloth, which Florian normally uses to polish wine glasses, was exposed to the laminar air flow in the test section of the wind tunnel and its motion has been recorded with a high-speed video camera. The image sequence has been heavily processed and is played back at a much slower rate than recorded. This exposes the particular dynamical behaviour of the flapping cloth, which appears unpredictable but plausible. More than the observed phenomenon itself, Killen addresses a certain way of looking at processes without restraining the observation by too many constraints, and by letting process and observation happen rather than making it happen. This relaxation of control in favour of emergence is specific to a transpositional attitude.

Zeitraum (2013)
Sound installation
Gerhard Eckel

Zeitraum is a sound environment exposing the interrelation of time and space in acoustic communication and the implications thereof for music and sound art. The environment is composed of many identical sound sources distributed over a large area, playing an aleatoric ostinato of percussive sounds. When listened to from a particular location, the pattern is perceived as an accented but isochronous beat. The ostinato is structured such that the sounds from all sources arrive at a regular time interval at one particular location (spot light on floor), compensating for the differences in propagation time. When walking away from that location, the regularity of the pulse gets more and more distorted as the distances to all sound sources change and with them the propagation delays. What starts as almost imperceptible deviations, and passes through various zones with different kinds of grooves, ends up in a rhythmically completely disrupted and apparently chaotic sequence of events when listened to from far off the reference location. By moving about, the audience explores a space literally made out of time, a time space (German: Zeitraum) resulting in a bewildering experience enacted through one’s locomotion, revealing the always baffling relativity of observation.

Rebody (2010)
Video installation
Gerhard Eckel, Michael Schwab, David Pirrò

Rebody is a video and installation piece in which the captured motion of a dancer is transformed into a dynamic drawing that informs a musical composition. The piece explores 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. Rebody is based on motion-capture data collected from Bodyscapes (2009), an intermedial solo dance performance by Valentina Moar (choreography/ dance), Gerhard Eckel and David Pirrò (composition). Rebody was premiered on 16 September 2010 as part of the Research Festival Unexpected Variations at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium. Rebody led to the research project Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration.

Video documentation
Victor Jaschke

Video documentation
Victor Jaschke

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing
Martin Rumori, Janhavi Dhamankar

John Cage‘s Lecture on Nothing (published 1959/61) was first performed by the author around 1950. It is an early example of a lecture-performance, although that term became widespread only recently. The text is meant to be performed and listened to, rather than just read silently. Cage‘s Lecture explicitly refers to various aspects of a musical piece that are exemplified at the same time, for example, with respect to material, rhythm, structure, repetition, or form. We are going to explore the Lecture on Nothing in a simultaneous bilingual presentation, which involves Ernst Jandl‘s congenial German translation. The format is further enriched by a spatial choreography that is inscribed into the venue‘s architecture. The chosen modalities of our lecture-performance aim to unearth philosophical components of the text, rather than providing a theatrical experience (cf. Robert Wilson‘s recent interpretation). This interpretation of Cage‘s Lecture on Nothing is an outcome of a BASE residency in Palani Hills, Kodaikanal, India between December 2017 and March 2018, where both performers explored the significance of silence in art, philosophy and contemporary forms of life.



Lichtenfelsgasse 14
8010 Graz


Andreas Pirchner
andreas.pirchner at kug.ac.at

Kunstuniversität Graz
IEM – Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik
Inffeldgasse 10/III, A-8010 Graz