How to conceptualize communal musical experiences that listen to our socio-ecological needs, demanding transparency, sustainability and a more holistic thinking towards design and consumption?
The positive aspects of data-driven infrastructures making musical expression and distribution accessible are undeniable. However, the excess of sound as a consumable creative commodity does pose a significant material problem for the planet – especially today, when streaming is presented as an unlimited dematerialized listening experience, although in reality, cloud-based music platforms produce more emissions than all previous music storage formats combined.
In the MOTION EXPERIENCE LAB project “Sounds of Silence – Beyond Audible Dimensions of Sound” media artists Darsha Hewitt and Prof. Nina Juric creatively directed a team of 25 students from the Köln International Design School to investigate this question. They gave them a creative brief:
Team up to form political sound systems and build experimental karaoke machines which critically comment on this realm as performative conversational pieces.
In a collaborative 80s/90s media archaeology environment – where repair cafe meets karaoke bar –, the students took a bottom-up approach that remixes pre-existing artefacts, movements, trends and histories of music and sound. Through lo-fi material exploration and analogue production, they tried to imagine political sound design systems that encourage spatial performativity.
The five sound systems shown on the 3rd of June at NEW NOW are in an intermediate prototyping state and used to exhibit a status quo.
3.6.23 MXL PROJECT EXHIBITING AT NEWNOW FESTIVAL
Mischanlage, UNESCO-Welterbe Zollverein, Essen // Kokereiallee 71, 45141 Essen
Technically supported by Marko Bodenstein / Motion Experience Lab
To listen to the sound files, please click on the name of the sound system.
Witness the incredible transformation of an ordinary trash can into a visually stunning performance of sound. Our golden creation houses vintage speakers, a tube TV, an amplifier and a DVD player. As the LED strips dance to the rhythm, immerse yourself in the raw essence of the Golden Age of Hip Hop. This unique sound system captures the spirit of a bygone era and revives unpolished authenticity.
But our journey isn’t over yet. We challenge throwaway culture by transforming discarded “e-waste” into a symbol of innovation. Experience the harmonious fusion of art and technology as a simple trash can becomes a carrier of timeless melodies. Welcome to a world where innovation crosses boundaries and everyday objects are transformed into extraordinary creations. Dare to listen and be surprised by the extraordinary journey of our golden sound system and become part of it.
Welcome to B.A.P., a spatial installation inspired by the unregulated spaces that birthed Berlin’s techno revolution. Our immersive experience channels the freedom and audacity of youth, daring you to venture beyond the boundaries of ordinary existence. Prepare to be immersed in a sonic odyssey that defies convention.
At the heart of this awe-inspiring spectacle stands a monumental metal plate, a symbol of the void waiting to be filled. This colossal centrepiece amplifies voices, distorting and alienating them, freeing performers to unleash their creativity unhindered. As echoes reverberate through the atmosphere, the reverb effect transports you to the vacant landscapes of ’90s Berlin, brimming with life’s potential
Cyber Pierrettes Soundsystem
The Cyber Pierrettes are presenting a reinterpretation of the famous street organ. An analogue machine which serves as a sound body for songs that are played via smartphone. The lyrics of the songs can be read on the analogue screen of the machine and are manually controlled by the pierrettes.
The cyber pierrettes’ unique performance is entertaining and at the same time disrupts the audience. They are picking up the sound of juggalo pop, but adding distorting sound effects. The costumes refer to the playful clown aesthetic, but take it to a postmodern era, as they are mixing it with some contemporary attributes that you can currently find in the ‘clown core’ trend. A balancing act between funny and scary elements can be witnessed by the audience.
When the operators activate the machine, it stirs the dormant wisdom of old, gradually rousing it from slumber. As it springs into motion, it captivates the crowd with its mechanical yet comprehensible patterns. The audience is compelled to synchronise their movements, seamlessly merging with the machine. However, things start to subtly veer off course. Over time, the machine develops its own unique language, leaving us grappling to decipher its meaning, fearful of losing our grasp on it and clinging to the beauty of the components we still comprehend. Eventually, the machine spirals beyond control, assuming a singular existence.
In this project, we want to showcase the controversy and duality between the modern phenomenon of individualism. It refers to a cultural and societal shift towards placing greater emphasis on the value and agency of the individual.
Confessional Harmony – A Queer Goth Karaoke Machine by Garbage Hexen
We are introducing the “Confessional Harmony” a Queer Gothic Karaoke Machine — a captivating testament to artistic expression and a fervent rebellion against societal norms. Embracing the gothic ethos, this extraordinary device challenges the prevailing conception of the nuclear American family and champions the idea of queerness as the new normal.
At Confessional Harmony, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of recycling and sustainability. Our karaoke machine stands as a testament to this philosophy, as it incorporates repurposed objects, breathing new life into forgotten treasures. The sound of the machine is a testament to its gothic aesthetics. Evoking a sense of mystery and intrigue, its ethereal tones caress the air with whispered melodies. Accompanied by the subtle vibrations emanating from the subwoofer, the experience becomes a visceral encounter with the music, enveloping you in a world of sonic enchantment.