‘As the boundaries of human research approach penetration of the quantum veil, the surfaces of biological machinery begin to reveal mysterious shapes and motions. Beyond the reach of our naked eyes, skin is a pulsating alien landscape in a state of continuous geological formation, where death is an apocalypse in slow motion. Inside the abstraction of closeness, the extra-terrestrial engulfs. ‘Studies of an Alien Skin’ is visual exploration of this terrain and a speculative sonic realization of its transmissions. Scanning across different sections of pulsating bodies of one of the earth’s very own alien organisms, the installation swirls through the visual instability of matter, the empathetic projection of emotion onto non-human life, the electricity of organicity, and the psychedelia of biology.’ (Andreas Greiner and Tyler Friedman)
Artist Andreas Greiner and composer Tyler Friedman present ‘Studies of an Alien Skin’, a visual and sound-based installation. Using biology as a basis for sculptural moments, Greiner and Friedman have created a visual and sonic work in collaboration based on film footage shot by the pair on a recent research trip to Namerikawa, located on Japan’s west coast about 350km northwest of Tokyo.
As the second sound-based commission in the TRAFO’s ‘Sound Systems’ series, the work evaluates the process of collaboration, musical composition, and presentation in connection to a living organism, in this case the firefly squid, known in Japan as ‘Hotaru-ika’. By day, the squid dwell in the depth of Tayoma Bay at around a depth of 300 meters. In the season of March to May each year they ascend to the surface to search for potential mates and lay their eggs. An evolutionary phenomenon called counter-illumination causes the biolomiscent squid to glow a shade of deep electric blue.
Presented in 5 parts on a self-playing Yamaha Disklavier, the sonic composition extends a question already posed by the visual presentation, namely what we might consider to be the machinery which makes up a being when we no longer recognize its parts. By focusing on various sections of the animal, the installation adds another layer of understanding to the little squid visually and sonically and in doing so, analyzes the interpretation of sound in relation to biology.
Andreas Greiner (b. 1979, Aachen) investigates attitudes of time and biology within visual art, often working with scientists, doctors, and engineers to realize his sculptures. He completed his master studies under artist Olafur Eliasson at the University of Art in Berlin.
Bioluminescent algae, bacterial cultures, and hatching flies are typical examples of the living elements in his works. He considers the final project to be co-authored by biological processes that unfold and determine the final result, allowing them to defy the static nature of traditional sculpture.
Tyler Friedman (b. 1983, San Diego) is a sound artist, composer and producer. His approach utilizes a blend of music theory, synthesis, sound design, analog/digital studio techniques and conceptual imagination. In addition to his own projects, he has been responsible for the sound and composition of multiple films and videos, most notably since 2010 with Turner Prize nominees the Otolith Group, whose films have been commissioned by Documenta 13 and Haus der Kunst in Munich. Recently, he has been developing a research around a notion of performative musicology involving the interpretation and misinterpretation of traditional music structures. Altogether, his practice is situated between art, creative engineering, musicology, club and theory.
‘Sound Systems’ Series
From June-December 2016, TRAFO presents a row of exhibitions titled ‘Sound Systems’ featuring installations and commissions by selected artists focused around the topic of sound. The series includes site-specific interventions from artists Janet Cardiff, Mateusz Chorobski, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Andreas Greiner, Tyler Friedman, and Konrad Smolenski. The schedule of the shows and accompanying events will be announced on an ongoing basis. The commissions, which receive their premiere in TRAFO, were created in collaboration with curator Marie-Eve Lafontaine.