Posts Tagged ‘Media In Motion’
Congress Hall Berlin

Research Project about unique “Solitaire Architecture and the Dream of Modernity”

Heiko Daxl and Ingeborg Fülepp ( since June 2011

The House of World Cultures works in a building of great architectural and historical interest. It was the USA’s contribution to the INTERBAU 1957 building exhibition in Berlin. For the exhibition, the designs of many renowned architects were constructed in the nearby Hansaviertel.

In 1955, Hugh Stubbins started work on a design for a building that would soon become a remarkable landmark in the cityscape of post-war Berlin. Stubbins, who had been Gropius’s assistant at Harvard before the Second World War, was familiar with Germany. Wanting to make a statement on that conflict between the systems commonly referred to the Cold War, Stubbins planned a building with a hall to hold cultural events and congresses. It was intended to serve as a symbol and beacon of freedom with its message reaching the East too. The former Zeltenplatz square was chosen as the site. To ensure its contours would be clearly seen from Communist-ruled East Berlin, the Congress Hall was erected on an artificial mound.
Stubbins described the symbolic value of his architectural design as ‘completely free’. The form of the curved roof bore a striking resemblance to that of wings. In Stubbins’s view, the roof upheld the promise that there would be no restrictions on the freedom of intellectual work – a political vision shared by the Benjamin Franklin Foundation, which commissioned the building.
Construction took only one year. On 19 September 1957, after the building had been completed, the US government gave the Congress Hall to the City of Berlin as a present. The artistic programme of the opening ceremony reflected the Congress Hall’s future programme: combining theatre, symposia and concerts, it brought together prominent artists, scientists and politicians engaged in an international dialogue between the New and Old Worlds.

From summer 2006 to August 2007, the House of World Cultures was a building site. In summer 2007, a major interdisciplinary festival on New York and the changes in the trans-Atlantic relations was held after the re-opening.

The restoration and repairs were being made possible through special financing by the State Minister at the Federal Chancellery for Media and Culture.

Suspended Memories – FORGOTTEN GODS

a music / video-project by Jorge Reyes, Steve Roach, Suso Saiz and Ingeborg Fülepp & Heiko Daxl ( MEX, USA, ES, AUS, D / 1992/93

music recorded in Tuscon, Arizona (USA), Video shot entirely in the Red Centre of Australia, edited in Berlin

It’s awfully nice to hear a live hand drummer playing against Steve Roach’s trademark sheets of synthesizer drone; though Mexican instrumentalist Jorge Reyes sometimes layers clay-pot and frame drum on top of drum-machine figures, his syncopated touch–rolls, flams, paradiddles–adds the organic quality Roach’s percussion tracks have often needed. Guitarist Suso Saiz blends in well with the general ambiance, contributing lightly distorted textures and lines that occasionally cry out for more body and warmth. Settling on a shamanic, paganesque theme for the project was a no-brainer–lots of Roach projects evoke the peyotian mysteries–but it seems particularly apt for a trio who first performed in a volcanic cave in the Canary Islands. –James Rotondi

different deserts [12:20] Meeting together on common ground with the shared desire to corroborate the latent power of music in the moment. Sampled and acoustic percussion, synths, sampled voice and guitar set the course across the great expanse.
snake song [5:44] A trance dance of power under a crimson sky. The old shaman dances with snakes firmly gripped in each fist. Electronic percussion, clay water pots, seedpod shakers, synth and guitar encircle spirit singing and prehspanic flutes.

night devotion [8:51] For those of the ncocturnal clan, the further into the night, the deeper into the devotion. A fluid, mercurial brew of guitar loops and synth textures support a clay pot rhythm that emerges for the night journey.

saguaro [5:23] Noble guardians of the eternal landscape, sentinels of the roaring silence — the towering cactus of the southwestern desert. Distant percussion, flutes, whistles, ocarinas mix in a heatwave of guitar loops and synths.

mutual tribes [7:06] The ritual continues. Electro-acoustic trance drums and percussion, mutated flute, voice, didgeridoo and synth textures amplify the hallucinations. Segues to…

suspended memories, forgotten gods [5:01] The broken icon of the past is pieced together, casting a reflection into the future. Chords of question, existential guitar, and the rustling of moth cocoon shakers…

ritual noise [3:48] The drum is always beating like the heart, keeping a steady focus at the peak of the ceremony. Perhispanic flutes, ocarnas, ritual drum and ghost synths convene.

distant look [7:39] From the hill at spiral rock, we see far and then farther and then beyond. Expansive guitars, synths, flute and percussion.

shaman’s dream [6:07] Return to shadow world of night visions, the one of half-formed dreams and fantastic creatures whispering in your ear. Rubbed stones, prehispanic flutes, percussion and voice drift on a mystic chord to the edge of forever.

- Review notes by Steve Roach

STEVE ROACH has earned his position in the international pantheon of major new music artists over the last decade through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation, open-minded artistic collaborations, and the psychological depth of his music.
He has recorded neary 20 albums since 1981, including Structures from Silence, the classic Dreamtime Return, Australia: Sound of the Earth, and World’s Edge. Roach’s collaborations with Robert Rich have generated international acclaim with the releases Strata and Soma, both on Hearts of Space.

From his base in Tucson, Arizona, Roach travels worldwide to present his music in concert, where he combines ancient and modern instruments in an atmosphere of ritualistic intensity.

His longstanding influences are not strictly musical. Roach receives much inspiration from regions in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, and the effect of his extensive travels in Australia and collaborations with aboriginal didgeridoo master David Hudson continue to weave their way into the fabric of his music, blurring the lines between the modern and the ancestral.​wiki/​Steve_Roach_(musician)

JORGE REYES, enigmatic Mexican multi-instrumentalist, draws from the diverse culture and history of his homeland as well as international travels through Turkey, Iran, India, Afganistan, and Pakistan, and time spent living and studying music in Hamburg, Germany.

Since the early ’80s, Reyes has been developing his musical concept of blending indigenous Mexican and world music elements with modern technology. He has been steadily building a strong following in Mexico and abroad with his compelling concert performances and numerous recordings, including the haunting Comala, Niérika, and his master work, Bajo El Sol Jaguar.

The Mexico City-based artist performs consistently for thousands of people throughout his country, often in the dramatic settings of Aztec and Mayan ruins. Combining pre-hispanic instruments, percussion ranging from clay water pots and snake rattles to his own body, guitar and synthesizers, Reyes evokes images of jungles, jaguars, and Aztec rites. With all his titles available only as imports for years, Forgotten Gods marks Reyes debut release in the United States.​wiki/​Jorge_Reyes_(musician)

SUSO SAIZ is a Madrid-based composer with an intense, restless, and probing spirit. His passionate approach to life and music are demonstrated in his vast and eclectic list of credits.

Beginning with studies of guitar at the Madrid Conservatory of Music, he went on to form numerous performing and recording groups, including Orquesta de Las Nubes (Orchestra of the Clouds) in 1980, an important Spanish group known for its innovative musical experiments.

Saiz is also a highly respected and sought after producer in the Spanish music arena, with projects ranging across jazz, pop, world, avant-garde, and new music. As a composer and performer, his solo work is a stunning culmination of influences and production techniques which deliver music defying categorization. He explores multi-cultural trance rhythms and the psychology of ambience while transforming the quintessentially Spanish instrument, the guitar, into a vehicle for electronic flight.

Saiz’s outstanding 1991 Spanish release, Simbolos, presents his textural, expansive guitar sound in an ever-changing, surreal world of cinematic proportion. Staying true to his music-as-art philosophy, Saiz has released a handful of limited edition works including Hypnotics, a CD of intense sound sculptures created from processed multitrack guitars and shortwave radio cuttings, revealing yet another side to a complex and multitalented musician.​wiki/​Suso_Saiz


Berlin / Germany

ConcentArt e.V.

„„A Space for Projects and Exhibitions“ in Berlin Kreuzberg:
ConcentArt e.V.(a non-profit art association) was founded with the aim of promoting and realizing specific projects.
The association’s primary objective is to enable the cost-effective and concrete realization of projects. In addition, the thematic content implicit in these projects will be thematized, encouraging debate and discussion of the social and moral values and issues addressed by individual works.

In lieu of statutes

This art association does not see itself as a clearly delineated group of artists dedicated to the „canonization of its members and constitutive rituals.

We do see ourselves as a fundamentally open group, similar in ethnological terms to a pack of animals, where those artists who feel called upon to do so can place their creative forces under the banner of a given topic. The sum of their artistic questions and answers forms the bedrock of an exhibition.

Art should be a „plumbline“—a „seismic discipline“ when it comes to the diverse possibilities of expression inherent in the various media at its disposal. We are interested not so much in the „objectives“ pursued by our association or individual exhibitions, but more in the methodology selected for individual projects. .

Strictly Berlin Videochannel

Strictly Berlin

also see​channels/​mim​channels/​mimdoc

“Our best ideas are often those that bridge between different worlds.” (Marvin Minsky)

This concept is as good or as bad as any other. But it follows the maxims of certain validities
established in the realm of history. Without getting tedious, let’s start from the very beginning: As
Aristotle said, when people wondered about things, they did so for the sake of knowledge, not utility.
That is not what curators are dream of; rather, it is the belief that the future is the only goal; it is the
confidence that we have been brought together for the sake of something larger than our differences:
vita brevis, ars longae. It is the acknowledgement of a wealth that exists only because we are different.
Let us play, but not because we want to win; rather, because we want to experience, enjoy, feel, learn
and know.
This exhibition brings together a plethora of parallel approaches that take different expressive forms. In
Berlin a formulation of similar concerns can be seen to pervade all spheres of art, be it music, the
visual arts, film, theater or performance. Artists from many countries, not just from Germany, have
made Berlin their home, at least for a time. Their goal is not the apparent reproduction of reality, but
rather to liberate the depicted reality from its usual temporal and semantic contexts and to give it
meaning in new combinations. Not the copy of reality, but concepts of reality, in which an
interpretation reveals itself to be only one of many possibilities. The option of retelling is rarely
applicable to these forms of expression, and identifying the recognizable usually does not get one very
far either. The viewer is forced to think about himself and his own experiences; only then does the
pleasure of viewing emerge, albeit without any guarantee that the enigma will be completely revealed.
In one way or another, within the vortex of media conversion, whether as producers or as consumers,
we are guinea pigs or beta testers of a process that is already underway. Unfortunately, in this situation
contemporary art is often left holding the bag. While information technologies are generously
subsidized and software engineers provide aesthetic guidelines to go along with their products, so to
speak, there are no provisions for exploring the basics of medial experience, artistic creation and
mediation. The artists whose work, whose contribution to the enrichment of our aesthetic and reflective
experience and thought is supposed to be at stake are often degraded to producers of the environments
or trends of the minute.
Today we are standing at the edge of the “worm hole”, the black hole, which sucks up all the energy
there is, stirring it up and rearranging it. Beyond the event horizon (the astronomical term for the
boundary of the dimensions), an accepted category may turn out to be merely one among many
possible ones which all have meaning and validity. Nam June Paik’s prophetic aphorism from the
year1970 would be one such possibility: “The next is the direct connection of electrodes and brain
cells, which will lead to electronic Zen”. And this takes us to the dream, which can take on whatever
personal note is desired with the aid of technology. The only question left is, who will provide the

This software will come from the wealth that transcends money.
That is this city’s capital!

Text Heiko Daxl, translation Isabel Fargo Cole





Heiko Daxl, August 1993 (first published in Ostranenie, Bauhaus Dessau, 11/1993)

Does anyone take an interest in art culture and the media in a financially bankrupt country such as Croatia when there is a state of war? Politicians are (by necessity) concerned with noncultural goals, yet in the personal lives of the people cultural matters play an important role in the search for perspectives on everyday problems, and also for distraction from these problems. And so, even while granades were exploding and bombs falling, exhibitions were shown, plays performed and concerts given. This is one way to find protection and a defence against barbarism. Political mechanisms which really had had their day began conflicts in order to sustain their power: they opened Pandora’s box, kindled mistrust and hatred of those who were thought to be different and triggered a war in which not they but people were the victims. For these people culture is perhaps the only way for ethical survival.

But let us turn back for a moment and look into the historical past. In doing so, we don’t want to look at film and video as isolated genres, a point of view which has become all to common, but rather to focus our attention on the relationship between the various media arts and on the way they influence each other. When we look at the history of Croatia, one of the youngest countries in Europe, we must consider the history of Yugoslavia as well. Yet, even so, events, names and trends can be related purely to Croatia and in particular to Zagreb, because each of the regions in Yugoslavia has its own cultural centre, its own historical background and its own approach to the arts.

The development of film after the Second World War was at first characterised by a glorification of partisan warfare and the socialist achievements of Tito’s Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia’s break with the political doctrine of the Soviet Union under Stalin in 1948 lead to a policy of moderate Communism, an opening to West and to block neutralism. In the same way, areas of freedom were created permitting the following generations to gather experience in the countries of Western Europe and North America. Film studies, which officially didn’t exist, consisted of endlessly watching films. The first important films of this time are documents of an uspurge from which many new things were to come.

From the mid-fifties studios in the various republics developed their own ideas and the directors (e.g. Mileti}, Tanhofer, Golik, Belan etc), were able to create some remarkable films. Especially in the field of animation films as a continuation of the work of the Neugebauer brothers, artists like Dusan Vukotic, Vatroslav Mimica, Vlado Kristl and others developed new forms which, turning away from the Disney style, found their stimulus in modern painting which, in contrast to the other East European countries, had a powerful abstract element. So it was born the famous Zagreb School of Animation.

Since the late fifties and early sixties, in addition to the local film productions, there have been many international coproductions (mainly spy, war and action films). As a location for international co-productions, Yugoslavia was in demand because of its highly specialised experts, its spectacular scenary (seen in the film version of Karl May´s Books for instance) and its large numbers of low-paid extras. But there were other kinds of film being made as well. As in most countries of Eastern Europe, there were many interesting activities in the so called cinema clubs. It was within these organizations that film enthusiasts were developing alternatives to the conventional forms of film outside the cinemas controlled or influences by the state.

At the beginning of the sixties the country opened its doors which had a vital influence on artistic creativity, music and short film. The time was ripe for a new approach to both art and criticism. New views were developed which stimulated thinking about the function, significance, place and role of art in modern society. As a part of the artist’s movement “Nove tendencije”, (New Trends) movement numerous events, exhibitions and festivals took place and Zagreb developed into one of the centres of modern art in Europe. The International Bienale of Contemporary Music founded in 1961 and still existing, the festival for experimental films GEFF which took place every two years from 1963 to 1969, the International Festival of Animated Films and many more such activities began in this period. Of considerable significance here is also Toso Dabac and his school of photography (Enes Midzic, Marija Braut and Pero Dabac).

Zagreb became a place where Conceptual Art was focused, so that artists, theoreticians, exhibitors and others came here from all over Yugoslavia and from abroad. An urge towards Modernism could be felt and the city brought together all those who had and still have status and reputation. The Music Bienale presented not only Penderecki and Ligeti but also John Cage and David Tudor. The films of Andy Warhol were shown at a very early stage, the art of Zero and Minimalism became recognizable. Experimental films, art happenings, alternative theatre performances flourished.

In 1969 Zagreb was first after London to take part in an international congress on computer art “Dialogue with the Machine” (Dijalog sa Strojem). In 1971 “Television Today” (Televizija danas) edited by Vera Horvat-Pintaric, attention was already being paid to experimental forms of the mass media. Already during this time, the film section of the Academy for Performing Arts was planned and opened in 1969. Furthermore, this time also saw the beginnings of process oriented video art in Yugoslavia, which, as in other European countries, which aimed to integrate art into daily life stimulated by the discussion going on in the aesthetic and theoretical environment.

After relatively liberal climate of the sixties, a transformation occured in the political scene of Yugoslavia in 1971-72. The state reacted with restrictive measures on the increase of tendencies towards free thought . Disciplinary actions were taken also against film-makers, writers, artists, critics and other intellectuals. Some were removed from their positions, some were sent to a prison. The protest aginst, the calls for a greater autonomy were brutally suppressed. After that, especially in Croatia (after so called “Zagreb Spring”), all cultural possibilities were so drastically limited that many left the country and the stagnation of artistic and intellectual activities spread across the country.

It wasn’t until the second half of the seventes, and especially after Tito’s death in 1980, that the scene became lively again. The significant initiatory influence for the development of video art were two video workshops organized by the Zagreb Gallery of Contemporary Art in the Croatian region Istria. The first workshop took place in a small mountain town Motovun and the second one in the village Brda. These workshops represented two of the rare opportunities for Yugoslav artists to realise their work in this new medium.

There were only few opportunities to work for the broadcasting system and technical equipment could be rarely found in privat hands. This was one of the reasons why many of the first video art tapes made by Yugoslav artists were produced outside the country. All of these artists like Sanja Ivekovic, Dalibor Martinis, Marina Abramovic, Goran Trbuljak, Nusa and Sreco Dragan, Boris Bucan and Tomislav Gotovac had a background in the visual arts of the sixties and integrated their experience with performance art, installations, photography, film and conceptual art into their work.

By the end of the decade, at the iniative of Ladislav Galeta and others, the MM Centar for film/video/performance was opened and quickly became one of the centres in Yugoslavia. To this day films, expanded cinema actions and video art is shown and discussed there. In Belgrade the Student Cultural Center (SKUC) became one of the most active centres in the same field. Biljana Tomic and Bojana Pejic had organized many media exhibitions and screenings of video art. In 1983 in Ljubljana the “CD Video Bienale” was organized for the first time. This video festival offered not just the opportunity to show tapes to an international audiece, but also to realize video projects using professional technology. Meetings and workshops of this kind were later organized in Sarajevo, Skopje and in Ohrid. As a result of this activities, more artists of the new generation showed an ever greater tendency to concentrate on video art: Marina Grzinic and Aina Smid, Max Osole, Neven Korda, Zemira Alaibegovic, Laibach, Borghesia, Breda Beban and Hrvoje Horvatic are only some of the best known.

During the eighties, Yugoslavia undoubtely achieved internationally a unique position in the field of video art, since many – including internationally recognized – works were produced with the help of one of the six Yugoslav television centers and were able to reach a potential audience of 20 million viewers during prime time. In this field Dunja Blazevic was a true pioneer with the “TV Gallery” she began at TV Belgrade, where she made a large number of video art projects possible between 1982 and 1990, which were realized by TV stations of Skopje, Zagreb, Sarajewo and Ljubljana.

Then, at the beginning of 1990, the first free democratic elections took place in Slovenia and Croatia, followed by a demand for greater autonomy for the republics from the central government in Belgrade. About a year later, at the end of June 1991, the Yugoslav Army first attacked Slovenia and shortly after the war started in Croatia, and less than a year later on Bosnia-and Herzegovina. Further events and the resulting tragedy from them are unfortunately all too well known.

Due to the war/postwar situation and the resulting catastrophic economics in Croatia at present, many cultural institutions such as museums, theatres, galleries, film studios, and archives are severely endangered or are on the edge to be closed.

Since large parts of Croatia are still occupied, and some places can only be reached by very roundabouts or by air, many of the direct cultural contacts and activities are interrupted. In the same time art works are still being made with a high quality which also demonstrates the commitment to the importance of art of its creators. This seems especially important at a time when a culture for democratic society has yet to develop, and when the state-owned media rarely permit the expression of critical attitudes, thereby closing themselves off from any other point of view – and showing consequently little interest in such works.

However, it is possible to see an advance, however slow, towards an alternative public vision. Privately produced periodicals and magazines, such as “Erasmus” are being established as an intellectual counterweight to the state-owned press; and already existing institutions such as OTV – Omladinska Televizija (Young People’s TV), and “Radio Jedan” are providing a forum for alternative news and alternative points of view.

The events of the past two years have done more than left many gaps in public life and aside from then bankcruptcy of official film production, forced some artists to leave the country. On the other side this time has also stimulated the emergence for the continuation of art and culture for a new generation of young artists, who are alongside Sanja Ivekovic, Dalibor Martinis and Ladislav Galeta, who still live and work in Zagreb, making interesting and high-level works in spite of unfavourable conditions. They are Simon Bogojevic-Narath, Milan Bukovac, Slobodan Jokic, Vladislav Knezevic, Igor Kuduz, Tatjana Tikulin and others who are working with film and video, or the group arround Zeljko Bozicevic, Ivica Franic, Aleksandar Ilic, Ivana Keser and Davor Pavelic, work somewhere between the field of visual art, video and media installations, between abstract associations and realistic reflections of the time in which they are forced to live. Since independent productions are almost never financed entirely by the state, these young artists are looking for opportunities in private video studios, find sponsors and are able to make some things possible even on conditions which are ar present seem to be impossible.