My interest in the work of Christina Kubisch goes back a few decades. Ever since the early Italian label recordings, I’ve been steadily adding to my library of audio and text (and in a recent case, DVD) and have frequently found her work to be on the level of people like Alvin Lucier and Maryanne Amacher. Based on the sound art works involving her interest in electromagnetic resonance, she clearly has a fantastic ear for sound. There was a wonderful variety of works that were being offered – pretty much in the following order as you entered and made your way through the Tabakfabrik: her film Wavecatcher; an installation consisting of numbered photos on a wall coupled to an audio guide called Ruhrlandschaften 2010; a multi-channel sound installation, Bewegungen nach entfernten Orten (50 seconds of video appear about 6 minutes into this slideshow) as well as the Electrical Walks tour through various electronically vibrant spaces. We were outfitted with specially created magnetic headphones that made audible the various electromagnetic fields that surrounded us while being personally guided through areas that normally would be closed to the public such as the inside rooms of the on-site power plant or warehouse basement areas as well as normally accessed areas amidst various technology-enhanced artworks on display. We also had the ability to borrow the specialized headphones and create our own walk through the city of Linz. A map was provided suggesting areas of interesting and particularly vibrant sound loci.
During an electrical walk, one of the first things that you notice is the overall change in the psychological dynamic of your physical position in relation to your aural perception. Not only is there no longer the one-to-one correspondence between what you see with what you hear, but the depth of it extends to where the normally unheard is now clearly present while the associated sounds have become just an underlying muffle – if heard at all. For me, this is a beautiful experience because it provides a new perspective that lies almost solely in the realm of what some may call contextual confusion, but what I like to think of as an auditory situational-event. Of the recordings that I’d made, the best was of the single electrical walk through Linz, but I still wish I had made at least one more that had followed a self-devised compositional scheme. This recording seems to present a kind of suite of movements that are not clearly deliniated – which I feel is a positive thing. There becomes a dominant sound that sets a mood as a movement, then slowly, you later find yourself mentally attached to a different kind of movement with a “ground” of sound that can easily lull you into a sense of complacency. For the following audio, you will hear something that lies in-between the above-mentioned compositional scheme and the mapped out version that you see above – something resembling more of an electromagnetic trace of a psychogeographical dérive where a world of security gates, induction loops, WLAN transmitters, ATMs, ticket vending machines, LED tickers, TV screens, and other assorted electrical field generating devices impinge on us in ways that we’ve yet to uncover.
(thanks to Christina Kubisch for the use of the headphones)