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Area Composing: AudioVisual Installations


Image – Sound – Place

These are the three components of Area Composing. The image moves very slowly, a merging of motion-blurred and hyper-sharp photographs, a Liquid Image. The sound is everything ever heard, composed in a new way: a landscape of sounds, noises, voices, music, a Soundscape. Ideally, the place of performance is the place of origin of images and sound: a room, a building, an art object, onto which the image is exactly mapped. This creates interaction between image and sound and place – and audience.

Liquid Image

Photographs get into motion, communicate with each other, form a connection. The slow, seemingly imperceptible change deepens the view. The recognition of the single images is no longer important. Instead: associations, emotions, new perceptions.

Is there a script for an Area Composing?

Everything begins with the conception. It’s not a fixed script, but rather a content-related analysis, a first approach to the place. It offers me orientation, but also leaves a lot open. The act of photographing is a controlled, intentional process, but one that allows for the unintended and unforeseen, even challenges it. The camera becomes a part of me, an extended sense. In this way I feel and perceive the place and move within it.

What is special about your photographs?

In this movement, in this unique moment of photography, images are created with simultaneous sharpness and blurriness that the human eye would not be able to perceive without the camera’s gaze. This different way of seeing leads to a deepening of perception, which is continued in the composition of the Liquid Image.

How do you proceed with the composition?

When selecting the pictures and determining their sequence, I orientate myself on formal criteria that I define according to the concept. But this is only the basis. Composing is a kind of creative journey, on which I return inwardly to the place. It only ends when each picture has found its proper place. While viewing the photographs, it can happen that I discover completely new facets that have manifested themselves in the pictures. I have nothing to add.

Can the single images be seen at all in the Area Composing?

Not really. Through the technical process of cross-fading, the photographs communicate with each other, merge and create new images. They follow my composition and yet their interplay reveals completely new realities; controlled coincidence. It is a very exciting moment every time I see the raw version of the Liquid Image for the first time.

What is the effect of the cross-fading of the images?

The extremely slow merging of the images means that the eye cannot capture the seemingly imperceptible changes at once and is constantly discovering new details. The gaze wanders, cannot hold on to anything. It takes the viewer a few minutes to understand that this is not necessary. Then he can lean back and just let it happen; a deep moment of relaxation and deceleration, which could not come about without the sound of the Area Composing.

So a liquid image is not conceivable without sound?

No. In an Area Composing image and sound are inseparably linked. In the viewer’s mind, they merge into a sound image; his or her very personal perception of this unique moment. At each new viewing, new sound images are created, depending on what the eye and ear perceive and what is triggered in the viewer’s cognitive and emotional imagination.


Tones, melodies, noises, voices, sounds mix to the sound of the place, open it up in a new way. Visual and acoustic perception interweave inseparably. Only now, the place becomes entirely detectable. It opens itself to the viewer, lets him enter.

What does an Area Composing sound like?

Every area composing has its original sound, which is based on the sound characteristics of the respective place. The sound and the composition tell its sound story. For the listener, everything seems to come from the shapes and colors of the Liquid Image, even from the place itself. As if there were no composer. One could also say: an Area Composing sounds like the place.

How do you know what a place sounds like?

I deal with its history and with the people who live and have lived there. In this process, first sound imaginations and sound ideas are developed and finally a sound concept. With these ideas I go out and make audio scans, immediate snapshots of my on-site visit. The place becomes a large body of sound, which I explore and which surprises me with situational sounds. In this way the unexpected comes into play and transforms my concept.

Do you only use your own recordings?

No, historical sound documents and field recordings from sound archives can also be included. Sound has not only a spatial reference, but also a temporal one. Noises from the past can add a historical dimension to the Area Composing.

So mainly noises are to be heard?

Noises and voices are the source material of my composition. I use them like instruments, play with them and mix them. Some typical sound characteristics of a place are recognizable to the listener, for example a bell or the murmur of a stream. I combine these concrete sound references with abstract onomatopoeia: tones, melodies, instrumental improvisations, which develop into harmonic arcs and thematic sections and expand the place sonically ever further. Music.

What is the function of the music?

It gives voice to the forms and colors of an Area Composing, and something which has a voice, is living. Music enables the listener to detach himself from defined sensory impressions and to move into an artificial, abstract but emotionally authentic fiction. He can lean back and let his imagination run free. He hears what he sees and what he does not see. Sounds, sound documents, music – all sound sources interweave and create a kind of fantastic authenticity. Pictures are created in the mind in addition to the images of the Liquid Image: a subjectively emotional perception of this place.

How do you proceed with the composition?

The arrangement is based on the dramaturgy of the Liquid Image, whereby image and sound sequences are usually developed in parallel. I look intensively at the images, crawl into them, try to hear them and follow my intuition. Sound composition and image composition complement and reinforce each other. The goal is the absolute and inseparable unity of image and sound. Thereby everything is allowed. No melody is too sweet, no noise too hurtful, no silence too unbearable. Nothing is dissolved, everything remains mysterious.


Place – Interaction

If the image-sound composition returns to the place from which it has arisen, the Area Composing becomes complete. The mise-en-scène transforms the place, turns it and the audience into fellow players. Interaction becomes an experience.