Wien / Berlin © 2007
Diskurs mediumorfeus07
Niklas Zimmer: CONCEPTS orfeus07 SOUTH AFRICA

) Short interview cuts (Video-Documentation), with questions like:
- „What do you think of when you hear Orpheus and Euridike?“
- „What is Opera?“

2) This becomes the raw material, basis for ...(teaser / introduction / titles /
index-page / ...)


) Ein ‚ Film’ aus (non-)linear abgreifbaren ‚Szenen,’ die in sich Kunstwerke
und/oder Musik(bruch)stücke sind, geschaffen (aufgeführt, aufgenommen) von
verschiedensten Kreativen (Kapstadts) in ihrer Begeisterung für die jeweilige
‚Stelle’ des Mythos/Materials. (Medien: alles, was digital aufnehmbar und ohne
immensen technischen Aufwand sichtbar/hörbar gut wiederzugeben ist
> Demokratie der low-tech Medien An- und Verwendung).

2) Bewusst abgreifbare Präsentation dieser ‚Szenen’ auf Website und/oder

3) Im Anschluss Ausstellung und Aufführung neuer Werke, die in Antwort
auf/Weiterführung der medialen Anstösse nun im Raum und in der Zeit

1) provide an open script for a collection of visual/sound recordings
2) find participants and select/workshop/perform/record sections of the script (nonlinear)


1) aim:
) A series of live videocuts as a sychronically accessible, contemporary
musical-visual (intermedial) interpretation of a (historical) work of music, relevant
to the theme-complex ‚Orpheus.’ Dimension (complexity) and location (virtual,
physical) of the installation(s) are variable.
b) One possibility for presenting the scripted, perfomed, filmed and edited
versions would be on a website (, either as a kind of game of
‚memory’ or ‚patience,’ where the various parts/tracks (>in this case it would be
more apt to talk of traces than tracks!) can be
revealed(=umuted)/concealed(=muted). This way, with only one/few activated
recording/s, the viewer/listener may become aware of the brittle beauty/terrible
blandness of a single voice ringing out in an environment that is relatively
indefferent to its presence, or alternatively, with many/all of the recordings
activated, the chaosmotic (Deleuze&Guattari) entirety, even: multitude (ditto) of
the piece with all its layered atmospheres, actions (and possibly various locations)
may become visible and audible.
c) For an installation in a physical space, composite projections offer a
variety of options, both for recompositing a single filmed location on a large single
picture plane/wall, as well as for constructing a new (for example: panoramic or
tryptich-) space out of different scenes:
I) for example, the musicians are filmed one by one on the side of a hill.
Each one of them takes up a different position, so that they (as the moving,
or not-still part of the image) do not overlap when the large-scale (re-)composition
projection is put together. The oppsite could also be done, which would result in a
dark knot of ‘musician,’ for example at the centre of the image, or moving into
different directions. The camera(s) could also be moving at the same time, which
would result in a background-movement, that, if controlled very carefully and
consistently, would result in a dramatic reversal of viewing expectations and
cinematic traditions. Many art theoretical and –historical points of reference may
be develop and be followed up on or departed from here, for example David
Hockney’s Polarid-cluster-Portraits or Gary Hill’s body-camera-journeys.
II) In the city one could work with the theme ‘opening,’ for example
doors, throughways, windows etc., and then puts together a panoramic projection
of these recordings, which would result in an emphasis on architecture and light,
and particularly the multitude of sonic, visual and situational ‘disturbances.’

2) procedure:
The separate parts of the composition work are recorded one after the
other using a videocamera and a unidirectional (gunshot-) microphone. This is
done either at a variety of locations, or at one location, with either exactly the
same camera position or by ‘tiling’ an image (circularly, rectangularly,
panoramically, …), furthermore, moving locations (e.g. car, motorbike, bicycle,
blue screen, …inside/outside) are possible. In effect, the musician sings/plays
his/her part (to a SMTP-sychronised backing-track/metronome/tonal centre
on earphone) on their own at a given location, and the entire work only
becomes meaningfully audible and visible after editing, producing and finally
interacting with the new medium of access. Several variations open up a
spectrum of possible interpretational planes in terms of the contentswise
referencing of the compositional material. One interpretation could be filmed
entirely in a/several car(s)/vehicle(s), driving/drifting through/across citytraffic/
countryside - in relation to/independent of the ‘meaning’ of a given
voice/part – or in a/several location(s) in the city/in nature. Close
consideration of what to ‘do’ with the pauses within the separate parts may
yeild chances for deeper ground in the final piece. Does the camera or the
performer get an opportunity/an impulse for stopping to move? Does the
image develop a life/movement of its own, because the camera starts to move
‘into the atmo(sphere?),’ so to speak? Depending on the piece, one further
option would be to use one and the same musician for all the parts (for
example, with Strauss‘ composition for 23 violins).

3) (intermediary) results:
Thanks to good musicians involved, as well as adequate technical
preconditions, the various parts should become relatively coherent in the postproductive
re-joining process, albeit with a ‘plus’ of different
‘Verfremdungseffeke.’ The atmo(sphere?) should be the most prominent of
these: despite the use of a directional microphone (in order to achieve sufficient
dynamics for each voice/part in the final mix), there will be – depending on the
number of the separate parts/voices/takes – a significant stratification of
background noise(s). Depending on the representation/installation plane, these
will develop a very spatially differentiated (in the case of a three-dimensional,
physical space) or a very two-dimensionally compressed (in the case of a
standard computer setup) life of their own.
interpretational points of departure:
This is about accessible, already-in-use media. No specialised, hard-to-get or
-understand soft- or hardware should be involved (unless absolutely unavoidable).
The viewer will come via channels they know well to something they do not know
at all yet. There is this basically democratic element of immediate learning through
shared, freely available experience. The ‘plus/extra/more’ developed here cannot
be achieved with (so-called traditional) live performance practices. Furthermore,
this use of common recording technologies and, to an extent -procedures would
never be pursued in the relevant industries (sound installation, PA, recording,
broadcasting, etc.) in posession of the means of production (including in particular
infrastructure, know-how etc.), since their agenda is subject to increasing
discreetness, i.e. to hiding their very presence. Making the dirt, the pause visible
(formerly hiss, nowadays resolution), particularly what lies behind it: the nothing
(a‚stupid‘/‚unintelligible‘ number as a value) will always be against their interests.
Terms such as ‚time-lock‘ and ‚jitter‘ will not find their way from the editing rooms
to the avalanching home-theatre market, although, creatively reconceived, they
can offer opportunities for the visualisation and audibilisation of general
phenomenae of time and space.

These work(ing)s might not be as aesthetically controlled to please by
essentially conceiling the real (>Lacan), like a Geo/arte/National Geographic timelapse
recording. They might well contradict the frictionless, affected effortlessness
of the ‚correct‘ use of ‚stable‘ hard- and software, which is set up to always
‚overwrite‘ or ‚underplay‘ itself. This project will therefore be going beyond merely
taking measurements of a given signal-to-noise ratio in setting out to actually make
the ‚recipient‘ (the constructor of his/her experience) aware of his/her own
symbolic processes, better: feats of suppression in relation to what is (usually)

This project does not want to be a self-referential media-art-machine,
which offers up the contents fed to it to a fetish-like adulation of chance(-
principles). On the contrary, the ‚subject‘ (music/theatre/opera) is ‚spiked‘ with
more than one layer of ‚white noise.‘ It is the artistic creation of ‚heavy water‘ or of
‚anti-matter.‘ A kind of essence is expecteable, since it is a, wholly material, work of
art (not ‚pure‘ thought, philosophy, etc). This ephemeral experienceing is what is
being fished for in the dark, by creating favorable conceptual, organisational and
technical conditions for the right kind of catch.

This work is as mythological in terms of its subject as it is utterly practical in
terms of its process, and thus reclaims the old question as to what art can actually
be today via its use of currently everyday media-technologies. What role does
singing and playing music have in this time? How can new interpretations be
ceonceptualised and executed? 400 years since Monteverdi’s Orpheus, the
medium of opera, those of music, theatre and art have gone through many
mythologised manifestations, which need to be studied in active practise, in newly
created networks and adequate structures and processes. As is common practise in
scholarship, pooling competences and setting up a portal for research and
communication (also on the internet) offer opportunities for the collaboration of
various international artists and the presentation of their divergent practices. All
this shall stand in opposition to the flood of other networks which create and
perpetuate stupidity, corruption, fear of globalisation, etc.

Music around the themes of Medium ORFEUS