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GRANULAR SYNTHESIS - Remixes for Single Screen
by Brian Marley in The Wire , feb. 2005
 
The remixes in question are of the installation artworks ‚Modell 5’ and ‚Reset’, the first of which was made between 1994 and 1996. ‚The Modell’ series, begun in 1992 with version 3.0 and ending in 2001 with version 5.7, was the first major project undertaken by the German/Austrian duo Granular Synthesis (Kurt Hentschläger and Ulf Langheinrich).
‚Modell 5’ features Akemi Takeya’s vocal sounds and facial contortions. The installation images are projected onto four screens. Her utterances have been translated into, as Granular Synthesis put it, „a choir of cyborgian clones“ and her facial contortions go through a series of juddering, micro loop repetitions that turn her into a flesh-machine. The sounds that accompany this flickering transformation are raw and bludgeoning, and the high volume at which they are meant to be heard is matched by the gargantuan scale of the screened images. Even shrunk to the size of a television set, and in a version edited for single screen, this sound and image combination is forceful and affecting. At times, Takeya’s movements are so violently exaggerated they transcend what is humanly possible – if you attempted the same moves in real life you’d be sure to injure yourself.
The other installation piece on the DVD, ‚Reset’, is based entirely on computer generated images and sound, and it scales down well for domestic viewing. ‚Reset’ was made for the Austrian pavilion of the 2001 Venezia Biennale. The DVD version is an excerpt from one of two basic tracks that are meant to be played as a loop. It’s irregularly pulsed and granulated colours stepped fade-outs and bursts of fresh activity, tightly coordinated with throbbing bumps, hums and halos of electronic sound, offer a busy audio visual experience. ‚Modell 5’ is, from the outset, extreme and really scary, whereas ‚Reset’ becomes more machine-like and oppressive as it plays. Both demonstrate the possibilities offered to humans by machines, but they also indicate that in the near future our understanding of what it is to be human will almost certainly change.
Brian Marley
 
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