farben berlin (2006)

Farben Berlin [soundinstallation| Sonambiente Berlin 06 |30.05. – 16.07.2006 | ruin Franziskaner church

farben / colors

The installation farben (colors) is a subtle interplay with the phenomena of the world around
us on the level of sensory experience. Its starting point is public space with its sounds and
noises, its architectonic, social, functional and rhythmic structures. These are the farben
(colors) – the characteristics from which Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl develop the language
of their composition for concrete space.

Ambient acoustic events and musical sequences recorded on site serve as the sound material.
They determine the composition’s spatial form and temporal course. The strategy of the
installation is to conduct a constant dialogue between reality and imagination and to
facilitate open interaction between the “outer” world and the world of “inner” images and
impressions. The sonic environment, which has very specific features and qualities in each
place, – it might be loud or quiet, light or dark, pulsing or fading, clear or diffuse – is
conceived of as an instrument.

Through direct contact, capturing the location’s moods and idiosyncrasies, and precise
analysis, its many variations are revealed. farben (colors) transforms the city’s pulse, the
“breath” of the place, into a poetic and musical space that foregrounds sensory perception.
The “aesthetic” space that is generated, “intoned” through intuition, emotion and bodily
states, becomes a natural part of the sonic ambience.

As tamtam puts it, “the sound environment becomes the instrument, the instrument becomes
the sound environment”. The great, apparently incommensurable contrasts of the urban
metropolis – here, the constant noise of passing autos, the roar of the busy main arteries
around Alexanderplatz that coexists alongside the ruins of a Franciscan monastery church, a
space of contemplation and remembrance – are combined so that they can be experienced in a
manner that is subjectively relevant without getting in the way of feelings of identity.

The place itself is brought into relationship with the “feeling of being present”. The city,
its history, architectural development, social functioning and its ensuing “pronouncements”
are brought into focus as a part of ourselves. The farben , the colors of our surroundings,
are not just abstract signs and signals that aid in orientation, nor a system to which we
would want to unconsciously submit. Colors, like the installation by Sam Auinger and Hannes

Melanie Uerlings