Darmstaedter Summer Courses


Lecture on strategies, techniques and mysteries of the series of works {kA} : Oblivious to Gravity {kA} : keine Ahnung von Schwerkraft“

Building Sound Compositions with vacant buildings in (half-)public spaces

Since 2009 the composer and sound artist gksh pursues a series of “building sound compositions”. Temporarily abandoned buildings in various European cities have been and will be used as sounding spaces and become an integral and tactile part of multi-channel sound compositions, presented to visitors after an extensive research and composition period in situ. Within {kA } electro-acoustical “studio art” is confronted with every-day life. But the objective is not to just try out an idea on electro-compositional theory in buildings, but rather to create grounds for successive research which will ultimately lead to the creation of a basic instrument in an area inspired by working with buildings and the effect it has on artistic composition while taking into account the differences in acoustics, architecture and history of the buildings. Thus the composition as well as the loudspeaker concert should not take place in a concert hall or studio designed for electronic music, but rather in a place that is normally meant for other purposes and whose architectural character is an integral part of or even the foundation of the composition and its presentation.



The socio-political aspect of abandoned buildings plays an important role in this series of compositions. Of course, there have always been abandoned buildings, but their numbers have been increasing in the inner and outer areas of cities in recent years. It seems some pedestrian shopping areas would be proper ghost towns were it not for the ground floor shops located in the otherwise empty buildings. Real estate agents used to advertise the availability of their objects, whereas now, for-rent signs advertising commission-free rental adorn buildings right next to the many construction sites one now sees so frequently for new office complexes. But the project is not about the superficial denunciation of tough speculative economic practice. However, the composer has decided to make a temporary dedication to vacancy – to vacant buildings, which are deemed worthless in economic terms and isolated from their surroundings, just waiting to be ripped apart, yet rich in their own history, architectural value and atmosphere. These aspects come to life through this artistic initiation. The one-sided and often pejorative way of looking at/hearing these empty places, sometimes considered ‘non-spaces’, in our neighborhoods can be altered through alternative interpretations. These non-spaces are a symbol of opportunity.



The instrument (issit: insitu sound installation toolkit) for this project consists of a mobile set up of 32 active speakers, as well as D/A converters, audio interface, laptop, tripods, cable reel, cases with wheels, an advanced multi-channel system that allows a maximum of flexibility while working inside a building.

After months of planning and testing, this instrument was designed and constructed by the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz in 2009.

More Projects