by Maikel Aarts in DVD Beaver , 2006
Granular Synthesis is a series of multimedia installations created by Kurt Hentschläger and Ulf Langheinrich, which began in 1991. In these installations, disorientating images are projected onto giant screens accompanied by a disorientating soundtrack, in order to completely destabilize the viewer’s senses. The only thing Hentschläger & Langheinrich seem interested in, is the search of the limits of human perception or (in their own words) ‘to probe certain aesthetics […] of an audio-visual aesthetic form’. How much can a person stand? What are the limits of our perception and where lies the point where our mind simply gives up and doesn’t register anything anymore? Their bludgeoning installations are so intense that one’s senses are completely disoriented. The term ‘sensory overload’ has been much applied to this kind of art and with good reason, for experiencing these works is stretching the outer limits of your perception.

Two films of the Granular Synthesis series (‘Modell 5’ and ‘Reset’) have been ‘remixed for single screen’ for this DVD. This effectively means that two of the original installations have been shortened somewhat and were adapted for the DVD medium. While obviously some of the effect of the huge installations is lost when scaled down, the intention and effect of these films very much comes across, even on a smaller TV-screen.

When you speak of films that aren’t for everyone’s tastes, you can have a relatively broad range of films in mind. Within this group of films however, Granular Synthesis occupies a very special position, for it represents the most extreme cinema/visual art can become. These films are designed to fuck with your brain and you can take it from me: they succeed gloriously. Personally I was very much taken in by these two films, but I just love these kinds of extreme aberrations. The presentation of these films is as good as can be, taking in consideration the limitations of the DVD in contrast with experiencing these things in their original environment. Also included are some liner notes and a short interview with the artists. I wholeheartedly recommend this DVD, but only for those who can stand these mind-altering experiences.
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