volkmar klien, sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey
volkmar klien, sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey
volkmar klien, sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey
volkmar klien, sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey
volkmar klien, sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey
volkmar klien, sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey
 

volkmar klien


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sound monuments of the art of civil engineering in austria. a temporary installation in the small baroque cellar of the melk abbey



The audiovisual installation Tondenkmäler der Tiefbaukunst (Sound Monuments of the Art of Civil Engineering) in the small Baroque cellar of the Melk Abbey consists of a twenty-minute-long film that is projected on four six-meter-long screens hung on the left and right walls, from the ceiling and at the end of the room . Six projectors and six speakers allow us to become immersed in a panorama that is also a "phonorama", as the artist calls it – a visual and acoustic representation of reality that Volkmar Klien documented from a slow-moving car. Through several cameras attached to the outside of the car, he was able to film the surroundings using a semi-spherical perspective. He also installed four microphones in the car’s interior to record the sound of the streets, bridges, and masts rushing past . The artist is particularly interested in old bridges, like the bridge over the Danube near Mautern, and the Reichsbrücke in Vienna. Through the changes in aerodynamic drag, these structures become acoustically perceivable when driving past them. Any attentive car driver is familiar with this phenomenon, but Volkmar Klien has amplified it in this work, adding: "It’s a kind of highly technical noise radar that records each mast, brick wall, guard rail, power pole, boundary wall, garden fence and parked car, making it audible." If we listen closely, we can hear how the acoustic quality of the noise changes, depending on what kind of construction is passing by.

"Beauty not only lies in the eyes of the beholder, but also in the ears of the listener", says Volkmar Klien. We can find beauty in the sound a refrigerator or street car if only we listen closely. It is the beauty of everyday sounds that he highlights in the installation in Melk Abbey. As a result, he questions notions of what is beautiful and what is not, as defined by society. The artist, who studied composition, experimental media, and philosophy, says he likes to explore multiple disciplines – ranging from "interactive installations and perception interventions, to instrumental and electronic music."

"Tondenkmäler der Tiefbaukunst" is a visual and acoustic land survey that allows the different roads we travel on to be experienced via the sound they make as we pass through them. By turning commercial structures into bodies of sound, Klien refers to aspects of our perception that define the relationship between seeing & hearing and our value system. He calls this method the "transplantation of reality". Reality becomes a virtual world through its being recorded and projected, visually and acoustically. Volkmar Klien lets us immerse ourselves in this virtual world, so that we can find out something about the real world. He challenges us to take a closer look and to expand our listening habits and our understanding of the relationship between seeing and hearing. He makes us reflect on our role as listeners and on the beauty that unfolds in the act of hearing.
(Cornelia Offergeld)


The project by Volkmar Klien was realized in cooperation with Hannes Köcher (technical and programing director) and ig:aufstieg (Verein zur Förderung hörbarer Kunst – Society for the Promotion of Audible Art).
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