Ars Electronica 1982
Festival-Program 1982
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Festival 1979-2007


Sound Square
Sound-Space-Installation by Bernhard Leitner

'Bernhard Leitner Bernhard Leitner

Saturday, September 25, 1982 till Monday, September 27, 1982
Brucknerhaus Medium Hall

SOUND SQUARE - Performed on:
Saturday, September 25, 1982, 6:00 p.m.: Opening
Sunday, September 26, 1982 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00 p.m.
Monday, September 27, 1982 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Bernhard Leitner's Sound-Spaces are spaces defined by acoustical material. Sounds are the elements of a new definition of space. Space is being developed with the vocabulary of the world of sounds (dynamics, frequency, volume, and timbre). Space is an event of time.

The 36 m2 square-like area for 30 persons is bounded by four towers and four walls. 16 loudspeakers are distributed on these scaffold-like structures. Between the 'sound places', Sound-Spaces are being developed in the course of the event, by means of an electronic control unit: semi-circular spaces in echelon, rhythmized spaces, amorphously wrought, flowing spaces, etc. A certain sound program is assigned to every spatial program. The two are complemented and conditioned by, but separated from each other. Thus, sound-space can be "built" with any input material, i.e., it can even be realized live with microphones.

With his sound-space projects Leitner wants to address, bring out, and refine the acoustic sense of space, which frequently has lost its perceptivity by arbitrary flooding with acoustical stimuli. He also wants to address, bring out, and refine the acoustic body senses, which have often been stunted by social rules and behaviour. Sound- Spaces are not only experienced through the ears but also bio- acoustically. Acoustic stimuli enter not only through the ears but also through the skin, they enter not only the sense of hearing but also certain cavities of the body, they continue through bone and other passages to seize acoustically the whole body.

So far, his work has mostly been shown in museums, though it was predominately conceived for individuals and was to be experienced individually. Since 1970, experiments have been made on a larger scale in a studio laboratory. SOUND SQUARE is the first opus of this group to be presented publicly. The first notations for SOUND SQUARE were made in the summer of 1981. In September 1981, first studies of the exact proportions of the architectural structure as well as the distribution of the 16 soundplaces were carried out. Distribution of the loudspeakers is in direct relation to the computer-controlled sound movements, thus work with the acoustic spaces was closely linked to the lay-out. Sound-Spaces are produced by means of a specially designed control unit (Computer Controlled Amplifier System). The sound-material which is fed into the spatial program defined exactly as to time, dynamics, and rhythm, shows itself no changes of dynamics nor of frequency. Part of the material has been produced with the Linz Fairlight Computer, and the rest are loop-like recordings of simple instrumental sounds.