Year :   1998
  Location :   Germany
  Worktype :   Exterior Installation
  Materials:   -
  Info :   Kunsthalle Krems

  Work Details  
  The electronic sounds are pulsing slowly in the nave of the former Minorite church in Stein. The long pauses between the darkened sounds are easily associated with the large gaps between the massive columns of the Gothic sacred building. When you enter the crypt, however, restless, organ-like sounds stream towards you – as if you were moving through water. Then again, there seems to be an acoustic dome when one steps between the speakers in the chapter of the church, which diffuse indistinguishable whispers and undulating sounds. On behalf of the Kunsthalle Krems [Museum of Arts of Krems], the Swiss sound artist Walter Fähndrich created a sound installation that will transform the church of Stein (secularized by the emperor Joseph II) into a sound-producing instrument until July 19. Fähndrich measured the Gothic building exactly in order to compose electronic sounds corresponding to its proportions. Their colors, tempos and pitches as well as the frequency of their occurrence are derived from the mathematical measures of the architecture. And yet, one never gets the impression of a purely formalistic construction, but rather of a very lively connection: the space becomes sound and in doing so, its visual perception is intensified as well. Fähndrich’s second music for spaces is even more spectacular, especially so since the Wunderburggraben castle grounds of Dürnstein form an impressive natural space with, on their western side, the ruins of the castle that King Richard Lionheart made famous. The bizarre crags, with names like Tom Thumb, Mule, Hippopotamus or Lorelei, are made to speak: ten small speakers in the same color as the granite are put up in the Wachau Valley and start to sound every day exactly at the time of the astronomical sunset – the singer Blondel has received an electronic lyre. The unusual project is scheduled to run through December. But the inhabitants of Dürnstein need not worry. Fähndrich, who is internationally known for his space-specific, subtly-tuned sound-space installations as well as for his improvisational work on the viola, does not want to drown the little town in loud electronic sounds. The speakers, hardly visible from a distance, diffuse very soft sine sounds that correspond to the twilight. Computer-controlled overlappings create a multi-dimensional spatial weave of sounds which varies every day and also changes for the listeners depending on their position. For fifteen minutes, the natural background noise of the dusk mixes with this fine electronic sound network whose junctions you can explore by wandering around – the natural space becomes a plastic sound sculpture. Reinhard Kager, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung