Exhibition opening and live performance by Seppo Gründler and Rupert Lehofer: WED, 27 November 2013 at 7 pm
“As a child I was told very different stories about the same things. Due to the fact that part of my mother’s family was Slovenian and German, living in the southern part of Carinthia, there have been partisans and Nazis in the same family, even from the same father.
In contrast, my father’s family had a very rational and monolithic background in being communists or socialists and atheists and with all other relatives in this part of the family being apolitical or conservative. Nevertheless, all of them were happy to play cards together, to celebrate weddings and funerals.
Therefore it always captured my attention how in my family the same story would be told so differently by my Nazi aunt than by my partisan uncle, by my communist grandfather and his relatives. This led to an ongoing insecurity about the term ‘truth’ on my part, but I’ve always felt that I have no home but my partiality.
Based on this background, I wanted to develop an audio-video installation dealing with the above topics.”
Josef (Seppo) Gründler
In order to establish a better communication with his Slovenian relatives, and to experience their different viewpoint over facts and situations, Gründler lived and worked in Ljubljana from mid-April to mid-August 2013, and tried to learn the basics of Slovenian language.
In 2013, the artist scanned photographs and recorded interviews with relatives, friends and colleagues in Slovenia, Carinthia and the Slovenian-Austrian border regions. The time span of the interviews’ topics ranged from World War II up to contemporary events.
The idea of telling and inventing biographies was condemned, as he was feeling more and more uncomfortable in telling “family stories” or dealing with ancestry and stuff like that. For him, this is too much connected with dealing with heritage, claims, etc., and boosting ones selfhood. The conclusion was to deal with the simultaneity of events, how different life can be for different people at the same time, being in the same area. He focused on the difference resulting out of being a German, a Slovenian or a bilingual person, how memory is constructed based on the particular background of each person. Besides this, he looked at official material, dealing with the same topics, for differences in German and Slovenian, especially on Wikipedia and other sources of “knowledge” on the web. This material was also transformed into the audio domain by being read and recorded.
All the material was indexed, interviews cut, fed into a database and equipped with a keyword register. According to this, the material is transformed and recomposed in real time by a computer programme. Different stories are created during the exhibition, following semantic, linguistic and aesthetic rules.
As he’s a musician, the different intonations and soundings of the two languages were the main aesthetic and compositional criteria. The recordings have been analysed and rhythmical and timbre information has been extracted and used to create the sounds. The audio material is in German and Slovenian simultaneously, but it is not in synchrony. The languages’ immanent melodies and rhythms are cross-synthesised, forming a new hybrid language. Since he is also a guitarist, (transformed) guitar sounds will be the only allowed source besides the original recordings.
The multichannel audio-projections divide the gallery space into different German, Slovenian and transformed hybrid zones between the projected photographs. The visitors experience different aspects in different spots; due to the real-time reconstruction, they experience different stories every time they visit the gallery.
The installation consists of an 8-channel ambisonic surround audio installation with 2 video projections.
Josef (Seppo) Gründler. Born 1956, lives in Graz. He holds the position of Prof. Dr. Josef (Seppo) Gründler (AT), head of Media and Interaction Design, FH JOANNEUM. He is a sound and media artist, “tinkerer” of software and electronics. His main instruments are guitar, electronics and software. He is also head of the master’s degree programme “Media and Interaction Design” at the University of Applied Science FH JOANNEUM Graz, visiting professor of sound design at Donau-University Krems, member of the board of directors of the Institute for Media Archeology, president of the Society for Dissemination and Distribution of New Music. He has been working in the field of new media since 1982. He has composed music for computer games, music for theatre, film, media and sound installations. He has presented his works at Ars Electronica, Wiener Festwochen, Steirischer Herbst, the Knitting Factory New York, Sonambiente Berlin, Transmediale Berlin, “See the Sound”, City of Women Festival Ljubljana, Fine senca fine – Venice, Trentino, Budapest, Graz, etc. He is the creator of various CDs under vnm.mur.at and elise.or.at.