Presentation of the audio-visual composition “Untitled [Krenek]” by the Collective F.A.T. at Zeitimpuls 23 and Darkroom Festival
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, the audio-visual composition „Untitled [Krenek]” (2022) by the Collective F.A.T. will be presented within the program of Zeitimpuls 23 of the Tiroler Ensemble für Neue Musik at ORF Studio 3 Innsbruck.
In London the work will be screened on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at the Darkroom Festival.
The project was chosen for the Covid-19 project grant “Ernst-Fall” of the Ernst-Krenek-Institute-Private-Foundation in 2021.
Collective F.A.T. about „Untitled [Krenek]“
The audio-visual project “Untitled [Krenek]” is a poetical approach to the life and work of the Austrian composer Ernst Krenek. The initial point of the project is Krenek’s electro-acoustic composition „Spiritus Intelligentiae Sanctus“, op. 152 for solo voices and tape, written in 1956. In an interview Krenek spoke about the background of his composition and explained that the work is an artistic approach to hypnagogic perceptions. Krenek talked about knocking and rumbling noises, that he would perceive frequently when falling asleep. These noises were gradually accompanied by high gliding tones that Krenek compared to a violin coming from afar. The possibilities of electronic sound generation back then enabled Krenek to compositionally examine hypnagogic phenomena and realizing them on tape. „Untitled [Krenek]“ takes up Krenek‘s hypnagogic associations and spans a dreamlike, unreal world of images and sounds in which video material of Krenek and fragments of his music fluctuate.
The visual level of „Untitled [Krenek]“ is dedicated to the loss of a homeland, which plays a defining role in Krenek’s biography. Being an austrian composer with Bohemian roots, Krenek developed a deep connection to his home country. He collected further cultural influences in the course of longer stays in Switzerland and Paris before returning to Vienna around 1930.
The branding of his work as “degenerate art” by the Nazis, forced him to leave his home country in 1938, and he emigrated to the USA. He took up teaching jobs at colleges and universities there and obtained the American citizenship in 1945. In 1950, Krenek toured through Germany for a while and conducted many of his works there. He moved to Palm Springs (CA) in 1966, where he lived with his wife Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek until the end of his life.
In interviews and his texts, he addressed his torn existence between Austria, Germany and the USA and described his feeling of homelessness as a “position between the chairs”. „Untitled [Krenek]“ explores this cultural in-between position, processing old interview recordings and preserved footage of Krenek, his wife Gladys and their house in Palm Springs. These starting materials, which show significant traces of aging and partly poor picture quality, were enlarged and masked with AI based image processing technology. The area to be masked is defined manually at a specific frame and the AI independently calculates the subsequent frames in this area. During this masking process errors constantly occur, which however have special aesthetic qualities. The resulting images strongly remind of dreamlike states. The silhouettes and empty spaces in these surreal scenarios resemble a peculiarity of dream memories, in which many details are nebulous or even missing when looking at them closer. This results in overlapping images of Krenek’s life, that blur into each other, without ever stabilizing into a tangible moment. In this sea of distant memories Krenek floats around as a vague silhouette and is confronted with fragments of his life.
„Untitled [Krenek]“ takes up the compositional fluidity of styles in Krenek’s work and uses compositional techniques of former creative periods, inspired by Krenek's String Quartet No. 8, op. 233. In this string quartet he recalled his previous works for this instrumentation, including atonal, twelve-tone and neoclassical works, and throughout the piece intertwined quotations from all his earlier string quartets. The preserved sketches from this string quartet suggest that these quotes are not just excerpts but rather characteristics, that Krenek considered essential for each particular quartet. The essences of his seven string quartets merge into the course of the composition without protruding, like entering a station and leaving it. According to this citation method the composition of „Untitled [Krenek]“ processes excerpts of all eight string quartets and quotes from other selected works by Krenek. The basic tonal color of the composition orientates on the tonal peculiarity of “Spiritus Intelligentiae Sanctus“ and unfolds a sound scape of nostalgic synthetic sounds and alienated voices in which gradually essential excerpts of Krenek’s oeuvre are interwoven. Hence the stylistic variety of Ernst Krenek’s work is reflected and as part of a fluid compositional process merged to a homogenous sound compound.
The interplay of these two layers of „Untitled [Krenek]“ unfold a hazy stream of thoughts of images and sounds of Krenek’s life, that allows Krenek’s mind to float through a dream sequence full of memories.
Collective F.A.T. (Form Art and Time)
The Collective F.A.T. (Form Art and Time) operates in the field of time-based art and uses various art disciplines. The focus is on the exploration of time-based art itself. Contrary to common intermedial projects F.A.T. is not interested in the interaction between different media and different art forms. Instead F.A.T. concentrates on the essence which underlies time-based art forms; the shaping of artistic material in time.
Manuel Baumer, *1992 in Tirol, lives and works in Vienna
The work of Manuel Baumer is characterized by constant oscillation between musicological and compositional practice. His research focus is the music of the New York School, whose artistic problems are comprehensively explored and consistently further developed in the light of contemporary circumstances. In addition to classically notated instrumental compositions, he also works under the pseudonym MandelBaum on sampling-based works, which focus on the combination of hip-hop processing techniques and compositional techniques of European art music.
Manuel Baumer has been studying musicology at the University of Vienna since 2011.He received his compositional training in the course of private lessons with Günther Zechberger (2010-2014) and Christian Ofenbauer (2014-2018).
Magdalena Salner, *1987 in Tirol, lives and works in Vienna
The artistic focus of Magdalena Salner is on moving images.
Her interest lies in the creation of the form in time. Rhythm and tempo play an important role in the image, such as the composition of the picture and the camera work itself. In her work she deals intensively with the conflict between the meaning and the power, which is attached to the images, and the actual void of the images. The artworks that arise from this background provoke the viewer to question his or her perception of the moving image. The immersive aesthetics and the manipulation of the material plays a crucial part in her artworks. Magdalena's artworks consist of experimental short films, room filling video installations, experimental 3D films and music videos.