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[Photo Essay] Inventionen / SMC08 (Berlin)

Let the music begin
Let the music begin. Amen. Photo © Bildbändiger.

Inventionen 2008: Musik für mehr als einen Lautsprecher
23 July – 3 August 2008
Berlin, Germany: Technische Universität Berlin

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Concerts celebrating the 60th anniversary of musique concrète and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the GRM. The collaboration between Inventionen and the GRM is not the first: the GRM has been invited several times in previous years.

Venues for concert  performance of the works included the Kirche St. Elisabeth and the Wave Field Synthesis Hall, located in the main building of the Technische Universität Berlin. Installations were presented in the Villa St.-Elisabeth, next to the church.

The 5th Sound and Music Computing Conference merged with the Festival, taking place from 31 July – 3 August 2008. [See accompanying SMC08 Report by Peter Castine.]


Thomas Schneider and Philippe Dao
Thomas Schneider (TU Berlin) and Philippe Dao (GRM, Paris) spent many long days making sure the events went smoothly. Photo © jef chippewa.
Folkmar Hein
Folkmar Hein, one of the Inventionen coordinators and Director of the Electronic Music Studios of the TU Berlin. Photo © Bildbändiger.
Preparing a setup
André Bartetzki (m) and Philippe Dao (r) preparing a setup for Douglas Henderson (l). Photo © Bildbändiger.
Wilm Thoben
Wilm Thoben solving technical “issues”. Photo © Bildbändiger.
Philippe Dao and Gilles Gobeil
Philippe Dao (l) and Gilles Gobeil (r). Photo © Martin Bédard.
Folkmar Hein with “Team France
Folkmar Hein (l) with “Team France” — Daniel Teruggi (m), Philippe Dao (r) and François Bonnet (fr) — on the steps of the Kirche St. Elisabeth. Photo © Bildbändiger.
Folkmar Hein in a friendly discussion with Patrick Kosk
Folkmar Hein (l), in a friendly discussion with Patrick Kosk (r). Agostino Di Scipio in the background. Photo © Bildbändiger.
André Bartetzki, Gilles Gobeil and Thomas Schneider
André Bartetzki (l), Gilles Gobeil (m) and Thomas Schneider (r) setting up for Gobeil’s Castalie, commissioned by Inventionen for performance using the three available systems simultaneously: Wave Field Synthesis, KlangDom and the GRM’s Acousmonium. Photo © jef chippewa.
Hans Tutschku checking the Wave Field Synthesis system
Hans Tutschku checking the Wave Field Synthesis system during the rehearsal of Zwei Räume. Photo © Bildbändiger.


Kuhn solo
Kuhn solo. Kuhn trio. Photos © Martin Bédard.
Agostino Di Scipio, Untitled 2008
Agostino Di Scipio, Untitled 2008 (ecosystemic sound installation in abandoned or dismantled rooms). In Room 1, the acoustic signal resulting from a feedback loop created by one mic and two subwoofers is altered by the presence of visitors. Vibrations on various surfaces in the room — window, walls, doors — are captured by contact mics and are sent back into the system “as is” but delayed, and a transformed version is sent to loudspeakers in Room 2. The signal captured from mics in Room 2 is low-pass filtered and sent to the subwoofers, altering the feedback loop more. Commissioned by and premièred at the 2008 Inventionen festival (Berlin, July–August 2008). Photo © Roman Maerz. [See Owen Green’s article in this issue for a discussion of Di Scipio’s work.]
Hans Peter Kuhn — undefined landscape 2
Hans Peter Kuhn — undefined landscape 2 (2008), sound and light installation [speakers, electronics, carpet and lights]. Upstairs in the Villa Elisabeth, delicate sounds emanated from the numerous speakers spread around the floor. The best place to listen seemed to be lying on the floor, where you could follow the points where delicate percussive sounds appeared, or simulated movement as different point-sources faded in and out. Photos © Roman Maerz (top) and Martin Bédard (bottom).

Spatialisation Systems

Composers selected one or more of the three available systems for the diffusion of their work in concert: the Wave Field Synthesis system permanently installed in the Technische Universität Berlin, the GRM’s Acousmonium and the KlangDom, developed at ZKM. The Acousmonium was set up for the first five days of the festival at the Kirche St. Elisabeth before it, along with the KlangDom, was moved into the WFS hall for the remainder of the festival.

Wave Field Synthesis of the TU Berlin

View of entire stage
View of entire stage with the WFS panels along the back wall. The Acousmonium is spread around the stage. Photo © jef chippewa.
Computer screen showing the control system for the WFS
Computer screen showing the control system for the WFS. The small coloured dots in the middle of the room are programmable “sources” for the signal, and can be used individually or in in multiple configurations. Each point will be programmed in a different manner and can be assigned different sources, or the same source as the user desires. On the right, the x-ray-ish looking thing is what is seen by a camera mounted below a glass surface upon which sensors can be moved to allow manual control of programmed sources. The camera picks up the movement and this movement is translated into movement — spatialisation — over the WFS system. Automated movements can also be assigned to the sources, or trajectories can be programmed by “drawing” them manually using a mouse. Photo © Martin Bédard.
The WFS system is made up of 105 units containing 26 loudspeakers distributed over eight channels
The WFS system is made up of 105 units containing 26 loudspeakers distributed over eight channels, for a total of 840 channels and 2730 loudspeakers. Each unit is identical, and they surround the entire audience on all four sides, creating a continuum of point sources. (The black speaker is part of the Acousmonium.) Photo © Martin Bédard.

Acousmonium of the GRM

The GRM’s Acousmonium is a modular system that can be made smaller or larger according to the needs of the event or the limitations of the listening space. For Inventionen, a circle of 8 loudspeakers around the performance space and a smaller circle of four “trees” was complemented with a number of “specials” situated in the general front area of the performance space.

Stage-based elements of the Acousmonium
A view from the console of the performance space in the St. Elisabeth-Kirche (bottom) and a closer view of the stage-based elements of the Acousmonium (top). Photo © jef chippewa.
The “trees”
The “trees” of the Acousmonium are speaker units built by the GRM. Each of the four “showerhead-like” elements on each tree contains a speaker, and angle and position of each “branch” is adjusted to assure an irregular distribution of the sound. Photo © Bildbändiger.
Les Boules
“Les Boules” are also “special” components of the Acousmonium which were custom-made by the GRM. Photo © jef chippewa.

KlangDom of the ZKM

KlangDom. The small black speakers are set up as three concentric circles surrounding the listeners: the outer circle is made up of 8 UPL 1’s,the middle circle of 8 Meyer MM4’s and completed with an inner circle of 4 Meyer MM4 set up actually more or less as in quad. In the middle of the photo, one of the Acousmonium’s “trees” can be seen. Photo © jef chippewa.
Close-up of one of the KlangDom components
Close-up of one of the KlangDom components. Photo © Bildbändiger.


Late afternoon light in the Kirche St. Elisabeth. Photo © Bildbändiger.
At what point can we call it music…? Photo © jef chippewa.

Photo Series: Wilm

Disclaimer: no artists were harmed during the making of this photo series.

Wilm Thoben (top left) with (downwards) jef “Wilm” chippewa, Philippe “Wilm” Dao and Daniel “Wilm” Teruggi; in the middle Ricardo “Wilm” Climent, François “Wilm” Bonnet and Thomas “Wilm” Schneider; and on the right Fernando “Wilm” Lopez-Lezcano.


Inventionen Festival
Electronic Music Studios of the Technische Universität Berlin
GRM — Groupe de recherches musicales (Paris)
St. Elisabeth-Kirche | Villa St. Elisabeth

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