Karlheinz Essl


generative sound and landart environment for Berlin-Adlershof

Public Art Practice in Berlin (Christina Lanzl)
in: International Sculpture Center (Vol. 28 No. 9, Nov 2009)

The Humboldt University science campus in Berlin-Adlershof recently sited the sound installation AIR BORNE on its central lawn. A collaboration between Berlin artist Stefan Krüskemper and Viennese composer Karlheinz Essl, the work consists of 15 ellipsoid sound elements. Passing pedestrians experience individual units, each responding differently with a randomly triggered, rhythmic sequence. Essl wrote the software for what he calls “remembrance images” of the site and its associations—these aural fragments were taken from more than 1,000 audio files found in the German radio archive (Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv). Inspirational inscriptions engraved on the two-foot-high, bright-red speaker elements identify the compositions and offer moments of reflection during silent periods. The historic Modernist buildings surrounding the park provide a framework and counterpoint to the suite of brightly colored spheres. Their random placement on the green gives the cheerful appearance of mushrooms shooting out of the ground, adding an element of humor.

The Aerodynamischer Park in Adlershof (Richard Carter)
in: journeytoberlin.com (10 Sep 2011)

Dotted around in the grass of the Aerodynamic Park are these odd UFO-like objects. Every now and then, they'll start making UFO-like noises too. They are in fact an art installation called AIR BORNE, created by Stefan Krüskemper, with sound by Karlheinz Essl. It uses sounds from the Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (German Radio Archive) which have been processed using software programmed by Essl, to form a composition of what he and Krüskemper call 'remembrance images'. According to the project's website, because of both the distance between the ellipsoids (that is, the UFO-like objects) and the amount of silence between the sounds, hearing the entire composition would take many years. If you plan on staying to listen to the whole thing, it may be worth making a sizeable donation to the student café up front so they don't kick you out for hogging the chairs and taking all their coffee.

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Updated: 30 Dec 2017