Ars Electronica 1990
Festival-Program 1990
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Festival 1979-2007


Garden of Time-Dreaming

'Sam Auinger Sam Auinger / 'Bruce Odland Bruce Odland

Preface: In general we don't find our own explanations of time-dreaming all that interesting. Preferring instead the comments and experiences of any casual or careful visitor to the garden whose direct observations from personal exploration are much more important. It must be said that although we are the perpetrators of this sound installation, and along with our many collaborators, friends, supporters and helpers, we must take the blame or credit, it is clear that we are still learning about what we have done from those who visit the garden. It is their multiplicitous reactions that inform us of the many meanings of the work.

However, at the request of our friend Gottfried Hattinger, whose gentle logic persuades us that not everyone will be able to go and explore for himself, along with the assurance that anyone acquiring this volume surely has an interest in further knowledge and gleanings on the topic of electronic extensions of perceptual thinking, therefore, we proceed.

A cautionary note about words. Words tend to proceed from left to right, from past to future, leaving no possibility to do what this installation proposes to do, i.e. allow the imagination of the visitor to fall backwards and forwards in time. This is why verbal explanations have up till now been avoided.

Yes, but what is it?
A personal cosmology of time space and dreaming, dedicated to the life and work of Johannes Kepler and the people and history of Linz. A meditative space where the visitor explores and finds his own path through geometries of sound, suggestions of orbits of planets, shifting sound environments, and big-screen sound movies.
Time … sounds are programmed to change from dawn to night time from moon to moon and from spring to fall so the installation grows like a true garden.
Notes from a Time-Dreamer
This work was born one foggy night after the Ars Electronica 87 looking down on the Danube from the Schloss Linz, listening to stories of alchemy, understanding for the first time some radical difference in perception of history between the New World and the Old World. (In September 1987 America was still the New World. Now, of course, it has reversed.)

A desire was formed to make an installation that placed the visual history of the castle in a fresh sonic context to produce a more subtle and cohesive effect, that of allowing the visitor's imagination to travel easily through history, to slip across the perceptual border between alchemy and science, and to have a personal waking dream of fluid, shifting space and time.

This glimmer of an idea did not disappear. Events transpired to bring it into concrete reality. Sketches I had sent to Hattinger brought the response that there was interest in the project, the great visionary and scientist Johannes Kepler had worked in Linz, a 500-year anniversary was to take place in Linz in 1990 and it might be possible to use the castle grounds. I immediately invited my friend Sam Auinger to join me in a transatlantic collaboration and we set to work.

In the process of developing the initial idea into "Garden of Time-Dreaming" we had many life experiences which were included into the work. From the start we decided that the perspective must be from personal experience judged in relationship to nature. So we went to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico to visit the site of the Anasazi Ancient city. These people lived in the type of "Harmonica Mundi" where all the important events of their lives were related to the motions of the sun, moon and heavens, and the cities they left behind offer ample evidence. Recordings made at this time such as "Sunne", and "Narrend Mond", have completely different feelings of time and space than recordings made in New York and Europe. We came back determined to make the "Garten der Zeitträume" both a round-world project, and one that reflected a personal view of time and space.
We asked friends of ours to contribute sounds and music relating to the idea of time-dreaming. These are used in the installation to represent qualities of the planets.

We made many recordings at spots that to us were in the orbit of the installation. Such as the Bruckner organ of St. Florian for Jupiter. The sirens of NYC for earth. The Upper Austrian Military Band playing "Mars" the history of music warfare from the 30 years war to the modern advertizing jingle.

We created the "Brain", a digitally controlled analog matrix that sends any source sound to any combination of speakers at any time, and created the software which allows us to make and store multi-image sound paintings. The same system controls all the source machines, 2CD, 2DAT, 2 samplers and allows interactivity from the Kepler Room and the gardens.

We carefully studied the spaces of the castle in aspects of acoustics, architecture, history and used this to inform our choices of speaker positioning so that the speakers themselves became three-dimensional "points" connecting a larger whole.

We developed the "Cube", a cement pressure-zone speaker that could withstand a 6-month public space installation, and inscribed on them symbols and qualities of the planets.

We created the "Planet speakers" round ceramic speakers that send a beam of sound. They are used under the Alchemy Tree to transform the sounds of cars into a strange music, and in the Kepler room to make a vertical stereo beam.

We built the Kepler room, a place of interactive sound alchemy and radical vertical stereo imagery where the visitor can stand between the "prison" of earth, and dreams of the heavens.

We made a catalog of the collected writings of our friends on the topic of Time-Space Dreaming.

We are making a video documentation of all these things, which in true time-dreaming fashion began to function in the project like nightly news.

We invited the churches of Linz to participate in the lunar clock by ringing their bells on the nights of full moon.

We have invited Katsuya Yokoyama, renowned Shakuhatchi player from Tokyo to be the master of the garden during the Ars Electronica 1990 and to increase the Round-World thinking with his perspective.

We have striven with all these separate smaller parts to make something which itself is much larger and combines all the elements into a personal cosmology of sound, time, space, nature, history, architecture, borders and lack of borders, to give a feeling of a Round World.
At this point in time, with borders falling, roles reversing, technology exploding, nature besieged, human understanding overwhelmed, frailties exposed—we stand asking the same question Kepler asked. Can man find a harmonious way to live in the cosmos?
Time dreaming is slipping through
History Harmonices Mundi now
Now at a new similar Border
What is next?