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seismic energy

Nikola Lutz - electronics, composition
sampled voices - Hede Beck, Robert Atzlinger
Seismic Energy

In the past few years, Nikola Lutz’ work - particularly the experimental electronic and contemporary music of the Stuttgart-based composer - has drawn attention. Lutz provided the audio installation for choreographer Fabian Chyle’s performative installation MisplacedX at the Eclat Music Festival. The installation, conceptualized for four consecutive days, worked with the space, with cubes as well as anthropometrically formed glass showcases arranged in different constellations in the entrance hall and corridors in the Theaterhaus Stuttgart. Through their intimate and situation-based actions the performers of Misplaced X provoked the audience’s voyeuristic gaze from behind the individually designed showcases.

Isolated and spatially set off through the showroom of glass cases, the event of exhibiting the bodies and their acts communicated itself to the space.
The audio installations by Nikola Lutz dealt with the themes of the performers' actions in the glass showcases; they mirrored, thwarted or allowed them to contextually expand into the acoustic surrounding. These audio installations generated acoustic spaces for association directly linked to the performers’ concrete action material that contributed to constructing new and autonomous sonic spaces.

This edition includes a component of the sound installation from the second day of MisplacedX.

The acoustic base material Nikola Lutz applied here includes recordings of fictive biographies of the performers from day 2, which she looped and split up into single words and phonemes. These acoustic particles form the tracks that were mixed with audio effects and then computer edited.These pieces work toward acoustically canceling out and causing a rupture in the visual perception of the actions in the showcases. Nikola Lutz achieves this, for example, by switching around the acoustic spaces so that they no longer correspond with the original sounds of the showcases. Experiencing disruptions within visual and acoustic spaces provokes us to question our accustomed way of identifying perception. This irritating interplay between what we see and hear allows new associative spaces to unfold. 

Eat or die! (Friß oder stirb!)

This piece is composed of eating and drinking sounds combined with a text that tells a story of child abuse . The noises were looped, re-worked with effects and played backwards. The text recording attempts to deal with the consequences of childhood traumatizations through using a mode of speaking that employs loud slurping noises. This piece was premiered in the men’s bathroom  of the Theaterhaus Stuttgart. There, a woman in her underwear sitting inside a glass showcase filled with white men’s dress shirts, as she hesitantly puts on and takes off one shirt after another.

Seismic Energy

The sound material for Seismic Energy is based on the live audio recording of an operation on an artificial knee. The operation poses an intrusion on the body and infringes upon the natural limits between body and environment. Through opening up, changing and then closing the body again the operation alters the body’s individuality. It is an act of indiscretion, for it lays bare that which is self-consciously hidden.
In addition to audio recording of an operation, Lutz also employs three additional texts spoken with a man’s and a woman’s voice. These are: (1) a scientific text on the tectonic shifts and material transformations that occur when pressure is applied;  (2) expressions distinctly used by the Nazis in German and English; and (3) texts rendering  traumatic experiences.  Among other techniques implemented, the vowels and consonants were separated for the recording.

Seismic Energy was a component of a video installation, of an open showcase that members of the audience go inside one at a time. The ceiling displayed an indiscrete, live video-spection performed on a woman by a man in a white coat.

Dein Dwand*

A milling machine and a plastic bottle that was bashed around provide the basic sound material of Dein Dwand. Both sounds, audible in the continuous tracks, take on the character of having their “own voice.” These sounds are also complemented by a text that describes sexual arousal as experienced by the body desired. The serious speech impediment of the speaker, which makes each “s” and “sh” sound like a  “d,” turns the language of desire (object) against the desiring (subject) and opens up the acoustic space as well as the showcases to the voyeuristic gaze and the voyeuristic ear to the speaker’s sexual obsessions. Dein Dwand was performed with a cube-shaped showcase. Two-thirds of the cube were filled with newspapers. On top, with hardly any space to move, there was a man who seemed unable to escape the flood of the constantly growing mound of newspapers.

*In the German title the “d” has already replaced the “s” or “sch”. Dwand is the written form of the speech impediment that substitutes the “s” (or “z”) sounds in Schwanz (dick) with “d” sounds to produce Dwand.


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