Lea Letzel, Pedro Oliveira, Alexander Tillegreen: INHABITING basis

Lea Letzel, Pedro Oliveira, Alexander Tillegreen: INHABITING basis

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics

Alexander Tillegreen, Untitled, 2020. Photo: Eike Walkenhorst.

October 23, 2020
Lea Letzel, Pedro Oliveira, Alexander Tillegreen
November 6–22, 2020
Opening: November 5, 3–8pm
basis e.V.
Gutleutstr. 8-12
60329 Frankfurt/Main
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Performances: November 5 & 19, 6:30–7:30pm
Hanabi-Fu by Lea Letzel with Akiko Ahrendt (violin) and Florian Zwißler (analogue synthesizer)

INHABITING basis is the first collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt am Main and the exhibition venue basis e.V.. Founded at the Institute in 2019, the artist-in-residence program INHABIT hosts three guest artists from different artistic disciplines for three months each year, during which time they develop work in dialogue with Institutes scientists and researchers. This joint exhibition features the artists of the first edition of INHABIT—Lea Letzel, Pedro Oliveira, and Alexander Tillegreen—and the works they created during their residencies. All three artists deal with the sound as both material and concept, but approach it from very different positions. Their works also manifest their different approaches to the scientific environment of the Institute and to aesthetic practice more generally, as informed by this encounter, dialogue, and cooperation.

Lea Letzel
In a performative sound installation using the medium of pyrotechnics Lea Letzel will deal with notations and their visual and auditory choreography in space raising the question of the connection between sounds and culturally determined mental images. The background of her project is the examination of the Hanabi-Fu notation by the chemist and firework artist Takeo Shimizu, which she discovered during a scholarship in Japan. Letzel's residency at the Max Planck Institute was dedicated to researching this notation, its prerequisites and possibilities. Together with Akiko Ahrendt (violin) and Florian Zwißler (analogue synthesizer) she arranged the fireworks score Hanabi - Fu as a concert performance, which will take place on two evenings in the exhibition.

Pedro Oliveira
Pedro Oliveira's sound and video installation deals with the use of accent recognition software in European asylum processes and examines sound for its political dimension and its inherent power structures. His work focuses on the human voice and the question of the materiality of sound archives in the field of political surveillance. The question of how machine listening can be instrumentalized as a violent and dehumanizing means when embedded in asylum procedures was the focus of his residency and has been translated into a poetic narrative for the exhibition. In addition, Oliveira shows a series of drawings that deal with acoustic biometric technologies as a visual reflection.

Alexander Tillegreen
At the centre of Alexander Tillegreen's work is an immersive sound installation that deals with psychoacoustics and the perception of language. Based on a phenomenon from music psychology, so-called "phantom words," Tillegreen creates a listening room in which every person is confronted with auditory illusions and perceives different word structures based on their own subjective situatedness. The material of the sound work and its artistic arrangement was developed in interdisciplinary cooperation and dialogue with scientists at the Max Planck Institute including an ongoing scientific experiment on psychoacoustics. Additionally Tillegreen shows sculptural work and a series of graphic prints which function as visual reflections of different modes and states related to sound and listening. The combination of these works constitute his ongoing investigation into the connections between the visual, sculptural, and the auditory.

Online conference: "Artistic Knowledge and the Sonic"
November 7, 2020, 11am–5pm

The exhibition will be accompanied by an online conference featuring discussions between INHABIT’s resident artists and internationally recognized scholars representing a range of disciplinary perspectives. Together with Holger Schulze (musicologist, University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Marie-France Rafael (art historian, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland), and Marie Thompson (sound researcher, Open University, UK), the artists will discuss their respective practices and approaches along with more theoretical and field-related questions.

Notation and Display
Conversation Between Marie-France Rafael and Lea Letzel

Forms of Precision, Forms of Imprecision: How To Investigate Psycho-Acoustic Phenomena As Artistic Research? 
Conversation between Holger Schulze and Alexander Tillegreen

Noise, Distortion, Perceptibility
Conversation between Marie Thompson and Pedro Oliveira

Detailed time schedule and more info here.

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Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
October 23, 2020

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