Year :   1987
  Location :   Germany
  Worktype :   Installation
  Materials:   Equipment: toilet bags, autoreverse walkmen, loudspeakers, slowly rotating electric motors; music: Swiss folk music; pedestal: tile and wood
  Info :   Academy of Fine Arts Hamburg -1990

Sound Object
  Work Details  
  The intention of this work is to point out the ambiguity of the term “culture”. It is derived from the Latin word “cultura”, meaning “care for body and soul” but is also implying agriculture; the term “colonia” (16th century) is closely related to “cultura” and means “estates, settlings”. In the domain of arts, “culture” generally stands for culture as an intellectual culture. I used the so-called “culture bags” to refer to the multiple meanings of the term “culture”. On a platform there are two small pedestals with two electric motors. A green toilet bag (“culture bag”) is placed on top of each pedestal. In each bag there is one loudspeaker and one walkman. An endless loop of a fragment of Swiss folk music is recorded on the tapes and can be heard through the loudspeakers. In allegory to the repetitive music, the motors are slowly and steadily turning the bags around their own axle. Since the walkmen are not synchronised, the combination of sounds is determined by the permanently changing phrases. (Please note that this effect created the genre of minimal-music) 1990 Jolanta Ciesielska THE SOUNDING WASHBAGS (DIE KLINGENDEN KULTURBEUTEL) The art of Tilman Küntzel belongs to the most interesting manifestations of art basing on the experiment - art that seeks its stimulus in music, literature, technics and the visual media. The character of his works is determined by the combination of compositional talent and the ability seldom to find in artists - to construct technical things (sound generators). The socialization (Tilman Küntzels father is musical teacher and conductor) in connection with an early interest in musique-concrete (first half of the eighties), the tradition of the Duchamps-thinking, the fluxus and the history of the ready-made - supported by the careful studying of composition and classical music - have made possible the varied forms, in which sound plays the leading role; compositions with classical preludes and utopian partiturs, experimental compositions and objects, up to room-filling sound and light installations. In his compositional work T.K. uses different sources of stimulus, like “The music of the Hamar”, a tribe from Ethopia, (art, poetry, ethnography), the natural sounds of the surroundings as well as sounds of the lodging, galleries, streets and nature. Sounds of concrete materials like metal sheet, water and sand, combined with clarinet, whistling, pianos and cello. Another chapter are his self-made instruments - made from waste materials and things thrown away. After processing by computer, T.K. widens the range of sounds and thus the space of his works. The presence of text serves as another stimulating source in T.K.’s recordings and objects - like a freely used human voice, for example. Some of his compositions are like phonological or expressive studies - more or less transformed melo-recitation. The musical evaluation of speech as an abstract arranging of tonic syllables of different pitch and different rhythms confirms the impression of intimacy. The music suggests another period of time and creates the impression of a constantly recurring déjà-vu. The will to ‘adress’ every single observer is shown in the carefully chosen traditional form: a hanging walkman with headphones, the interactivee construction of an installation (in which the source of the sounds - connected with a photoelectric cell - generates the sound only in a direct contact with the work) - mysterious objects. Metaphorical objects in which the sound is hidden underneath the form and creates an unexpected new semantic quality with it. Characteristic of Küntzel is the surprising combination of the usability of the ready-made with sound. For the first time no water flows from the shower or the tap (compare “Tarasp”); a loudspeaker instead of a bulb is put in a desk lamp (“Allegory of desk lamp”). (Another time the sound flows directly out of a post-constructivistic picture). Most of the objects and installations made by Tilman Künzel are endowed with eccentric wit and irony. Imbued with a caricatural shortening of form, equipped with selected, transferable titles that like in canon in the seriousness of the ‘puffed up’ drawing room art seem to be deceitful yet funny: “The good as well as the bad too often hide in the same soup”, “The one who laughs about his fate has chosen the better part”, “The gala of bad aftertaste” - these are only a few examples of the poetic-philosophical nature of the artist. (...)