German/Engl., 216 p., numerous illustrations in colour and bw, 290 x 215 mm, softcover
ISBN 978-3-85160-188-6

Authors: Reinhard Braun, CONT3XT.NET (u.a. Birgit Rinagl, Franz Thalmair), Sandro Droschl, Petra Erdmann, Thomas Feuerstein, Joerg Franzbecker, Martin Fritz, Hildegard Fraueneder, Sønke Gau, Stefan Grissemann, Patricia Grzonka, Christian Höller, Matthias Klos, Franziska Leeb, Gabriele Mackert, Christian Muhr, Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Hortense Pisano, Andrea Pollach, Isabella Reicher, Marc Ries, Stella Rollig, Nina Schedlmayer, Roland Schöny, Dietmar Schwärzler, Claudia Slanar, Axel Stockburger, Franz Thalmair, Steven ten Thije, Gerald Weber, Luisa Ziaja.


Safe Navigation by Martin Fritz
When Attitude Becomes Content by Gabriele Mackert
Hieroglyphs Without Code by Christian Höller

Safe Navigation
Site Specifity and Space in the Works of Annja Krautgasser

Martin Fritz

Artists have to develop relationships to the locations of their work. The issue of the artwork’s relationship to the place of its production arises whether this is in the studio, travelling, or within the institutions. This relationship, which appeared to have become irrelevant through the various detachments of art from the depiction of its setting until, at the latest since the 1960s, was brought up to date as the formal demand of site-specifty and the social potential of context-orientation. Additional topicality was developed by the issues addressed in connection with the mobility that artistic activity demanded of its participants, i.e. that geographic spatial mobility which enabled them to act from a multiperspectival standpoint. Numerous residencies, grants bound to travel and transnational cooperations—especially also in a context of self-organisation—characterise the everyday lives of a generation of artists for whom the continual availability of information not bound to any specific location became as normal as did familiarity with the apparatus of its documentation and mediation.
Annja Krautgasser has found a way to handle these charged interrelationships convincingly in her work. Her training as an architect has possibly been of help here, as is the fact that as an artist she began by engaging more closely with virtual space, as shown in the work IP-III (2003), whose “space” was the product of the translation of IP addresses into abstract spatial coordinates. Despite the purist logic inherent to the media, the work contains the basic parameters of Krautgasser’s approach to existing locations, and in particular a way of looking—trained on abstraction and patterns—with a strong anchor in the abstract art of the early 20th century. Accordingly, the artist places value on distancing herself from an apparatus-dominated technoid “media art” emphasising her position in a long-term artistic development that goes beyond it.
A contemporary understanding of site-specifity can consist in overcoming those processes geared to tracing what is unique and instead developing artistic instruments with which the given realities of the location can be introduced into a broader context. This form of a kind of abstraction of the local is the prerequisite for embedding an artist’s practise in supra-local and longer-term developments without having to relinquish the potential for concrete local, spatial, and social relationships. When, then, Annja Krautgasser asks twelve people around the world about their memories of a space and for their descriptions, in the work Dashed II (2005), and then plays their responses back on the screens of mobile phones, the conclusion lies in the precision with which the interviewees’ accounts remain tied to concrete spaces and rooms. This, even though the form and format of the communication (in English, and with visual uniformity) emphasise the universally applicable and binding in the narratives. In this case, the formalisation of the protagonists’ concrete experiences leads personal memories to increasingly become descriptions of basic types of room (a playroom, an empty hall, a club, a car, etc.) as the element that emerges as forming the core of the work.
Annja Krautgasser’s method allows the works to “function” in two different directions. One direction in the reception leads to what is specific, while a second direction leads to patterns and structures that permit supra-individual communication and whose visual qualities allow them to dock onto current art discourses. Krautgasser frequently insists on stopping halfway, for example, with the careful use of blurred focus in a series of works that engage with movements in space. Accordingly, in Horizon/1 (2005) and Around and Around (2007) schematic landscapes or elements of urban space repeatedly move through the image. These Road Movie-like sequences, which would be identifiable played in slow motion and enlarged, develop their draw, though, as dream-like patterns. These ambivalent experiential possibilities are frequently underpinned by minimal techno soundtracks, such as the one by the Italian duo TU M’ for Horizon/1. So too, Zandvoort (2009), where observations, made during a day on a Dutch beach, are shown condensed into a 13-minute film from a fixed camera angle and counter the specificity of the location named in the title by an “impersonal” raised camera angle and subtle manipulation of the image. The beach becomes the pattern of a beach, and an art historical allusion is achieved with a choice of motif reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich or William Turner. In these works she achieves an oscillation that has, alongside formal sovereignty, an intrinsic potential for uncertainty and suspense as her sources and references are not revealed until the credits or the accompanying texts—if at all. Like this, the artist generates a vague basic tension that can abruptly tip concretely, for instance when the sounds of signals for the blind, installed in a Viennese NAZI building, overlaps with the memory of knocking signals as prison communication and forced labourers occupied on building sites (What Is My Position, 2004).
Precisely the example of this gain in significance—provided by the specific history of the installation’s venue—shows that site specifity encompasses far more than a reaction to obvious architectural features of the space. Spaces are information bearers—and urban spaces are in particular. Their surfaces and symbols allude to history and narratives. Logos and other signals lead from the buildings to the information and, at the same time, the information media command ever-improving possibilities for the representation of spatial architectural qualities. The transitions between the real spaces and their medial representation become more liquid, which in turn leads to a boom in the range of sitespecific information and the tools required. Paradoxically, prerequisite for the use of these tools in a mobile everyday life are standardisation and a universally applicable form as only familiar patterns that facilitate recognition and orientation. Annja Krautgasser is capable of using this situation well, as systems of organisation and their three-dimensional realisation have long been the basis of her practice. Accordingly, she increasingly frequently combines filmic or medial space with sculptural and installative solutions that aim to restore something physical and tangible to the ephemeral nature of the topics she addresses. This and her skill with formal reduction, in combination with the orientation on patterns and principles mentioned above, contribute to maintaining the legibility beyond the relevant context of production for those of her works that are bound to given locations and specific research. Road maps of Los Angeles become Perspex sculptures, and so convey general thoughts on orientation, memory, and space (Remember Me, 2005); poor screenshots from online sources are painstakingly translated back into aerial photographs—enhanced to become a high-end photographic work—and supplement the artist’s real topographical experiences of cruising (Perceiving L.A. Within 109 Days, 2006).
A further approach taken by Annja Krautgasser to engaging with the multiplicity of meaning of space and visual patterns lies in the production of different versions of the same work, and so in the associated extension of the possible allusions. This approach, too, permits her to engage with the relevant material both concretely, i.e. locally, as well as abstractly and so supralocally. Accordingly, her filmic excursion past the ornamented façade of an abandoned electricity works building exists in two versions: while in one version the pattern on the façade is shown almost exclusively in close-up and so isolated from its context (Innerer Monolog, 2008), the second version opens the view at the end to show a “making of” of the film—and so the local conditions of its production (Beyond, 2008).
The artist took a similar approach, albeit with stronger narrative potential, to her research into a number of neighbouring building complexes in Amsterdam that had been used by the major newspapers until recently. An almost documentary-style video opens the space up to the viewer with only isolated signs of its former use to be seen. Similarly, the continued existence of the logos stands for a very specific local media history. This is a history that Krautgasser initially shows in generalised terms with a view of the empty spaces, and follows with the historical context of the actual location in the end credits. So when she subsequently has a reconstruction of the (newspaper’s) logo made in Vienna, this sculpturalisation not only allows the topic to be transported outside its original context but also to be addressed in a more general manner—without which its reception would be hampered outside of the Netherlands (Trouw, and What Remains, 2009).
These and other—more recent—works show an extension of Krautgasser’s range, and again she brings apparent opposites into a productive balance: while on the one side of her development is an increased awareness of social processes and their formal organisation, she increasingly selects installative and object-orientated strategies to do justice to the heterogeneity of her subject matter. This, too, accords with a contemporary notion of site specifity: in the foreground is not a visual power game with locations and places, their proportions and volumes, but the attempt to do justice to the places’ history, and transfer existing references into suitable formats. In the final analysis, it is Annja Krautgasser’s sovereign treatment of the most varied of formats where the core of contemporary artistic competence is to be seen: navigating safely through the complexity of multiple references and allusions.


When Attitude Becomes Content

Gabriele Mackert

If somebody had told Annja Krautgasser five years ago that she would make a video in a guarded Roma and Sinti camp on the edge of Rome, she would probably have responded with great surprise. With hindsight, it is clear that her works have developed continuously over the last ten years, from minimalist usually technologically produced visual and acoustic abstractions to realistic film shots; from working on the computer in digital worlds to individuals and the organisational forms of their narratives of expression. At first glance, her more recent works—where protagonists structure scenarios, describe spaces, emotions or terms, or that address direct questions at visitors—show that in the broadest sense Krautgasser integrates the social space of the dialogue in her works. Following abstractly or architecturally inspired works, the most recent videos engage with situations and constellations of people, language, means of communication, and social parameters.
Due to her formal structural background, her focus came to lie on spatial experiences, forms of presentation, exhibition contexts, curators’ roles, and production conditions. She studied media art and architecture, completed works for and about the Internet and structural (music) videos, founded the label lanolin in 1999 that compiled an archive of music videos with minimalist imagery based on geometric structures, and initiated the producers’ network VIDOK—2000 to 2005, in collaboration with Dariusz Kowalski, Norbert Pfaffenbichler, and Timo Novotny. Accordingly, it should not be overlooked that she continues to be interested in structural narratives. Once again, the opposition “abstraction” = rejection of contents; documentation = authentic information is too simple an idea.
Krautgasser’s digital formalism has often refined structural compositions in the past. The association to (film) avant-gardes is close at hand here. Her modular constructivism repeatedly breaks down into its basic elements and to the boundary of pictorial emptiness where only the principle is realised—it appears almost timeless, endless. Her video Track 09 (2009) varies, for example, an orange coloured abstraction of a façade, dancing windows, stairs that move, and black bars. “Has an urban planning programme run out of control here, or is it just computer-designed architecture moving around blindly,” asked Christian Höller in 2000 confronted with this emergence “into façades of the future emptied of objects.” He sees Krautgasser’s style of pictorial composition as a reduced treatment with abstract geometric parameters that varies on simple, often organised structures. The result of which is a sound and image matrix of recursive digital procedures. For Höller, this visual counterpart to the crackling electronics of “illustrated” music is characterised by “an absence of image-morphing, no succession of special effects and no untamed fantasy animations.” Her style is marked by restraint.
In the video Rewind (2000), Krautgasser used the track rückenwind by Shabotinski as her starting point. It is very important to her that the visual level does not present itself as the visual element of the music, using editing synchronisation and plot, like it does in commercial music videos, but that the music itself delivers an interpretation of the images. The aimed for symbiosis between audio and visual material accordingly interprets the musical structure and the structure of the song as an even linear movement. The titles rückenwind and rewind also address confinement to time and direction. Acoustic inter-ference is paralleled by Krautgasser as visual impurities. For these, she filtered the visual interference directly via algorithms from the music and transferred these in recoded form onto the visual level. The elements of the system are intended to react to one another as directly as possible.
Stella Rollig associated the beginning of Krautgasser’s video Frame (2002) with the start of a drive in the city. The story runs only in the viewer’s mind and not before their eyes as the images showed almost nothing except pure movement orientated on spatial coordinates, driven by the pulsing soundtrack. For Rollig, the original views of a drive in the city have had so much of their “reality,” depictions, details, and colour removed by Krautgasser that only remnants and the basic structure remain in the video images.
In this way, it becomes clear how the reverse principle to “abstraction” (Lat. abstractus, literally “drawn away,” past participle of abstrahere, from ab- “from” + trahere “draw off”) functions: i.e. as abstraction is the process of leaving out individual elements or that of transferring to something more general or more simple, the recipient unavoidably adds. A specific status of the transitive is intrinsic to abstraction: even if a concrete allusion to an object is not entirely absent, abstractions are a kind of training camp for skills in perception and interpretation. Concretion presents them with a challenge.
The automatic or algorithmic are preferred methods, particularly in the field of audio and sound, generating synaesthesia and minimalist aesthetics reminiscent of mechanical rhythms. The apparent direct visualisations can be viewed as stage-managed versions of themselves, as merely calculated or technological processes because they address formal, not individual, principles of design. Precisely for this reason, apparently reductionist generative software art or code art frequently pushes the discourse on authorship. Not only since the avant-garde demand for the reintroduction of art into life, the issue has also been raised of the treatment of the factual of abstraction. In this context concretion does not relate simply to a naive politicisation of art in the sense of adopting an ideo-logical stance but to issues of a (documentary) visible rendering of the processes of the political (which can also be political issues but do not have to be), i.e. the conditions of social interaction.
For Romanes (2009), Krautgasser engaged in delegated production while taking a documentary approach. Romanes is based on 270 minutes of video footage produced during a three-day workshop with youths in the “Villaggio Attrezzato di Via dei Gordiani,” in the Centocelle district of Rome. In a kind of curatorial gesture, with the video cameras Krautgasser handed-over control of the aesthetic direction, subjective viewpoint/s, and political content of the images to the youths; her influence was limited to doing the editing, the German subtitles, and arranging the subsequent screening in the arts space. In doing this, Krautgasser cleverly avoided discussions of the legitimacy and content of the footage—also freeing the view for the paradox of an imagery that is simultaneously both mediated and unmediated, and that is constructed while participating in reality. The categories of the artistic and of the documentary are accordingly involved in a dialectical process.
Instead of doing the filming herself, Krautgasser handed over the HD video cameras for shooting the footage, and following the workshop the teenagers were then allowed to have them. Her offer to the youths, to exchange the cameras for an exploration of their everyday lives made by them using these cameras, constructs a situation of observing participation and avoids the position of participating observation. Documentaries often have the character of catalysts for actions because they actually produce the reality that is documented in them.
As the children and youths are amateur at filming, the footage has a moving naive quality. The everyday character of these images exists, however, only for the youths themselves. Their attempt to imitate stereotypes like the interview or the informative guided tour of the camp indicates that this was an exercise established in the workshop, but also that they are quite aware of the situation of an unsystematic social study. Involuntary information and deliberate representation melt accordingly into one another. The dominant wish, one without a realistic model, is to have a family, a house of their own, and (some kind of) work. With this, the youths often intuitively characterise the camp situation not only on the periphery of the city of Rome but also on the margins of society, and their own cultural, political, or social exclusion. They make no demands. They do not criticise.
The video Romanes gives the youths a public that they would normally be deprived of. It is unclear how aware they are of this. The shyness before the camera often appears to be broken by a playful pleasure in the situation. Occasional sidelong glances off camera briefly reveal their insecurity. Then they slip back into play mode. Sometimes there are long pauses for thought. Asked about her hobbies, a young Roma girl lists leaving the camp. When she is asked where she would go she turns her head to the side and asks what “hobbies” are. When the role is challenged, the filming becomes serious. Who are they filming for? Why?
The key intention, says Krautgasser, lies in the attempt to portrait a culture and a generation whose protagonists are born in Rome but who have no claim to Italian citizenship. The work was made for the exhibition Cella. Strukturen der Ausgrenzung und Disziplinierung by the art history institute at Innsbruck University for the Complesso Monumentale di San Michele a Ripa Grande in Trastevere in Rome. Krautgasser does not react to this thematic context, as was perhaps expected by the curators, with a structural animation of images but engages with the issue of an authentic expression of everyday marginalisation and exclusion. With her project, in a state camp for Sinti and Roma, she focuses on an ethnic and socially marginalised group whose participation in economic and social life remains discriminated against. Romanes is an offshoot of thinking about possible contents and statements about filmic representation and its admissibility. The work discourses on the artistic act, but beyond that also the evocative or shocking potential of information and the conditions of the ability to depict reality. The paradox of any filmic documentary that—at least in the art context can no longer be posited without reflecting on the inadequacy of its own apparent objectivity—represents an extremity within what is at first glance an almost contradictory artistic development.
A development that has shown a movement for a while in the direction of the intervention, to be seen, for example, in Le Madison, a call to a performance where Krautgasser sought protagonists in Amsterdam by means of a public announcement to study and perform the dance scene in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Bande à part (1964) via lessons available on the Internet. The title for the performance comes from the Madison which, being a line dance, requires a group. After La Sagra (2008), where as a chance visitor Krautgasser had filmed an Italian village fest where the locals of different generations carried out traditional (group) dances, for Le Madison she puts herself in the role of the director of a collective repetition of standardised movements. The re-enactment, based on a scene from a film by Godard that exudes the atmosphere of a spontaneous interlude with a trendy dance at an unexpected location, makes an externally initiated, produced, and controlled event out of the expression of a dynamic feeling for life that is captured in La Sagra.
Under the conditions of a professional film set, Krautgasser not only documents the dancers but also pursues an interest in the setting-up, the crew, and the audience. In doing so she goes beyond the horizon of the filmic original. Because she does not only observe the dance but also its organisation, she makes a reflective set out of the performance. The chosen venue, the W319 exhibition space in Amsterdam—left unaltered in her “readymade” approach—with the extreme exhibition design on view at the time, heightens this effect in an irritating manner: the dancers reproduce what they had studied via YouTube in a white hall divided into squares. The clinical sterility of this laboratory atmosphere heightens associations with a controlled experiment.
Dance, which also transports social emotion and individual aesthetics, looks almost pretentious on this formalist stage. The modular system of the dance steps encounters the given symmetrical structure of the hall. The intervention is accordingly unavoidably explicitly related to Krautgasser’s interest for rational minimal arrangements in series, her sense of system, the relationship to architecture and to the definition of the space, but also a (artificially created) social community. This makes Le Madison, not least, a formal investigation. The narrative-charged elements of this analysis of the social space remain until now exclusively the reserve of the participants and their memory. Whether and in what form images or other recordings of this performance are made public remains to be seen—apart from a handful of photographs already published.


Hieroglyphs Without Code

Christian Höller

According to Adorno, abstract artworks are like hieroglyphs for which the code has been lost. As is well-known, this apology for the non-identical and non-conceptual challenges the increasing degree of abstraction in the modern world, which appears to be increasingly dominated by instrumentality and exchange value. Abstract art, quasi the highpoint of a long historical development, competes with the increasing abstraction on the plan by opposing ex negativo every form of exchangeability and taxability. There, where exchange-ability freed from actual existence rules, a renewed insistence on an inalienable “non-identical” and thus a singularity should come into play.1
Like hieroglyphs without code. If one looks at the development of digital culture in the last twenty years, one may come to precisely the opposite conclusion. In contrast to singular manifestations that lack a systematic basis and thus a clearly definable readability, it is the reverse impression that dominates: everything from the most reduced graphic animation to the most expansive large-scale work of art seems almost without exception to be a “code”—and in the sense that nothing but the basis of production, the digital matrix, is the main point being exhibited and from now on is what marks the distinctive characteristic of the work. In contrast to the symbol analogous to language, which defeats the world’s degree of abstraction by remaining unreadable, in digital art an abstract foil comes to the fore whose universality begins to assert itself in place of the previously dominant singularity. Not that digital works of art would thereby in principle be exchangeable, but the relationship between expression and code, of sign and symbol, seems here to have fundamentally been turned on its head.
These kinds of “headstands” are also evident in Annja Krautgasser’s digital abstractions, which in the last ten years have produced a series of formidable results. Many of her pro-ductions start with code, such as in the systematic translation between image and sound, in order to allow something like erratic, hieroglyphic individual figures to emerge. It is three areas in particular in which Krautgasser’s abstractions explore the relationship between coding and decoding: initially the digital applications in which it is a case of forms of image generation—frequently in the context of installations—with material “alien to the field” often forming the basis; second, the analysis of complex “music video,” in which visualisations develop on the basis of existing pieces of music, on which the sound material is strangely inscribed but is never completely retraceable to it; finally her own small body of image-audio combinations, in which the visual and audio components develop as it were in parallel and balance one another in an unstable relationship.
In Krautgasser’s applications, the coded and the undecipherable enter into complex, even occasionally tricky mixed relationships with one another. was one of her first works in which the starting material, in this case sound of whatever provenance, led to outputs of a completely different complexion. And not just of another complexion, but of a totally different medium, in this case black-and-white digital graphics that develop on the basis of Fourier transformations. In, the audio signal is recorded as a mathematical function and then transformed according to particular random principles into another function, and then outputted as an image signal. The codes are pre-programmed and nevertheless do not permit the resulting black-and-white abstractions to be simply reduced to the one-off conversion key. Rather, the outputs themselves work like geometric codings in a state of flux—hieroglyphs indeed, in which in the end effect it is not a matter of what calculation steps in the arbitrary input sources they have come out of. The abstraction here is based on the fact of the convertibility itself,2 from sound to image, from frequency to geometric figure, from sound volume to greyscale and so on, and not in particular coding steps or schematic classifications: an in principle endless process, whose starting point remains just as multifold as its temporary, processual results.
The Web application Pedigree, too, turns the relationship between code and sign, between language system and expression on its head. Unlike formal operations, which lead to se-mantic results, the image-generating forms here are themselves already oversaturated with content. It is the Oedipus story that is incorporated into the program script and provides comparatively simple visual output—randomly generated animations in which three points (father, mother, child) behave differently towards one another on the picture surface. The actual artistic act lies in the infiltration of a classical, even the classical western narrative into the programming language used—thus into abstract formulae, which through the hybrid saturation with isolated verbal elements concerning the father-mother-child com-plex turn into something resembling an ancient-futuristic mystery writing.3 The images programmed in this way—completely free of meaning in an information-theory sense—find an “other,” as it were outsourced stage in the dynamic, again not a fixable three-point constellation. Similar to v.e.r.t.e.x., a Shockwave application in which an image repeatedly composes itself afresh, with prescribed directions for movement but each time differently, without getting any closer to a result, Pedigree also turns the abstraction process into a kind of picture puzzle: this time it is not a prescribed content that is resolved into syntactic forms through particular reductive steps, but content and form, code and narrative have already merged in weird interweavings at the level of the image programming. It is this unconventional algorithmic basis that short-circuits the hieroglyph and deciphering, code and decoding with one another even before the generation of each image.
There are more straightforward instructions in a series of “music clips” that Annja Kraut-gasser produced from 2000 to 2002 for existing electronic pieces. The pivotal—and thus abstracting—element at work in these sound visualisations is remodelling and reshaping. The process of digital image generation makes a decisive contribution here, converting sound qualities (such as frequency, timbre, dynamics) relatively directly into the visual. Although image and sound remain in a certain respect alien to each other as one neither reflects the other nor illustrates it in any other way. There is neither a coding of sound in the form of visual material, nor do the moving geometric abstractions go about decoding the given sound forms visually. What the continual point, line, and surface reshapings represent in relation to the underlying pieces of music, however, are again “hieroglyphs,”4 whose deciphering code is not clearly established. True, individual image parameters, such as density, rhythm, and overlayering of particles derive from the music used. But the tangential sound aspects are themselves far too erratic and “unsystematic” to be able to provide a meaning-generating or—guaranteeing coding.
The two clips on the works of the Shabotinski group, Rewind and Track 09, are impres-sive in this respect owing to their abstracting reshaping of—in contrast to depicting—the sound material. What is audible at the audio level as a subtle pulse, a quiet crack, or as “frequency thinning” is converted at the visual level into basic graphic elements (points, lines, windows, frames), with the resulting play of movement’s being decisive. Whereas in Rewind it is linear movements that are modulated horizontally and vertically, in Track 09, grid-shaped surface modules dominate, set to a beat by the rhythm of the music and con-stantly changing the way they appear. Like futuristic façades devoid of objects, which could just as easily be ruins of the digital age, like construction elements of a new, still unknown world. Rastering, framing, and a searching movement that is persistently breaking out also characterise the work of Frame (on the basis of a music piece by the Radian group), although the mode of perception here is more oriented to acceleration and silhouettes rushing past. Again the music sets the pulse, the texture, and the grain, all of which behaves at the level of the image less as a systemic code than as a drawing-like parallel text.
Parallel texts between image and sound also open up the works of the series void. The series, begun in 2005 with void.seqz 3, is distinguished among other things by the fact that sound and visualisation here develop as it were simultaneously and not in a way that one has priority or is subsidiary to the other. Visually, as the title suggests, it is about the recording of a void,5 a not already symbolic or otherwise occupied picture surface. In the process, a pre-prepared script is used whose parameters are set in such a way that they lead to unforeseeable results—which is also the reason for the serial nature of the work, which cannot really be brought to a conclusion. At the audio level, which is produced by Martin Siewert in all the void parts, there is a similar opening process: the finely granu-lated, usually guitar-loaded improvisations repeatedly open up new sound windows and as a whole head towards slowed-down, ambient-type poles of quiet without coming to a complete stop. What here indirectly links image and sound is their consistent self-referentiality—like two materials that relate to one another precisely because they have nothing in common. Again, both have the effect of hieroglyphic figures, neither of which taken by itself is really decipherable but which precisely in their strangeness form peculiar affinities and reflexes with each other.
Thus in the rastering already practised in the music clips, void.seqz 3 indulges in an ambience reduced to points, lines, and surfaces, with the focus being on the aspect of the penetration or disturbing infiltration of a found grid. void.seqz 5 uses a script, illustrated by a counter repeatedly running from one to a hundred, which throws the stair-shaped route backwards and forwards within the picture area, with the ever denser crosshatching being accompanied by increasingly darker timbres. Finally, void.seqz 1, the last work in the series so far, allows an area made up of tiny points to wander and grow from left to right, as a result of which varying degrees of intensity and brightness appear in the repeatedly overwritten areas. As the most subtle and fine-grained of the void works so far, void.seqz 1 shows what stubbornness, what self-assertiveness can be at work in the process of digital abstraction. Again, no deciphering code can be found either in the accompanying music or in the image-generating programme scripts.
In this way, the moving abstractions work on a coded digital image script that is not simply waiting to be cracked. If the works permitted complete deciphering this would only encourage their own abstractability and exchangeability (in Adorno’s sense). To counteract this they demonstrate a high degree of electronic independence. One might say that they celebrate the loss of any simplifying codes that might cut down the proliferation of electronic symbols.

1 Cf. Sven Lütticken, “Leben mit Abstraktion,”in: Texte zur Kunst, issue 69, March 2008, pp. 47-59, here primarily p. 48f
2 Cf. Lev Manovich, “Das nicht-erhabene Ideal in der Datenkunst,” in: Lev Manovich, Black Box – White Cube. Berlin 2005, p. 81ff. where the process of data mapping, i.e. the visualisation of data, is described as one of the main characteristics of more recent media art.
3 The software is here an object of reflection like part of the aesthetic material. Cf. Florian Cramer, Zehn Thesen zur Softwarekunst, (May 2010).
4 Cf. Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. R. Hullot-Kentor, London 2004, p. 165
5 VOID was also the title of a series of multimedia events from 2001 to 2003 in which Annja Krautgasser took part together with other graphics programmers; cf. my article “Love in a VOID, it’s so numb,” in: die melange, 02 (2003), pp. 80-85, (May 2010) and p. 112 in this catalogue.


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