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Celebraler Kurzschluss (2021)

audiovisual composition - 5 minutes

A typo? No! Celebraler Kurzschluss is a reference to a brain overload (literally: "ce(l/r)ebral short circuit"). It is a 5-minute "minimal" piece that works with the shifts in perception in our aural and visual senses. I consider it minimal because of the straightforward concept and the limited amount of materials: the composition consists of 11 sounds, 11 pictures, and a countdown clock.

The concept is quite simple. I gathered 11 audio samples of celebratory moments: cheering, bumping glasses, a party whistle… They were cut down to the smallest particles one could still perceive and arranged into a row. The row was then duplicated dozens of times. The resulting sonic material is played back at a very high tempo but slows down greatly as time evolves.

The visuals underwent a similar process: I took 11 stock photos that I associated with the sounds, wrote a code that played back the pictures at a very high speed, and made them gradually slow down.

Fairly clear so far, right? An interesting and surprising result of this process is the way our perception shifts while listening to the samples slow down and the question of how highly individual these shifts take place in different audience members’ brains. At the start, the music sounds very machine-like. As the tempo decreases, we can perceive specific timbres and later start distinguishing the sources of the samples. Similarly, the pictures start as quick flashes of colours, but later on, our brains begin to pick up more and more information and start puzzling the pieces together.

Additionally, due to the extensive copy-pasting and the extremely high-paced processing, errors occurred in both the human’s and the computer’s parts of the creation. I did not make mistakes on purpose, but I liked the ones that happened during the copy-pasting, adding some subtle sonic shifts into the mix. I decided to leave them. The computer also did not operate without faults; because of the high playback speed of the images, some photos stayed visible a bit longer than they should’ve, creating similar possible shifts in the spectator’s perception. In these aberrations, I see beauty.

Celebraler Kurzschluss was written for Mental processes for semi-intellectual beings, a streaming concert as part of Blurred Edges 2021 in Hamburg, Germany.

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