Kalkül der Form
Max Eilbacher / Phillip Sollmann

Saturday 17 February 2024
7 — 11 PM

18 February — 24 March 2024


Opening: February 17, 2024, 7 pm
Duration: February 18 – March 24, 2024

Greeting: Dr. Werner Dohmen (Chairman of the Board NAK)
Introduction: Maurice Funken (Director NAK)

NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein is pleased to present the exhibition Kalkül der Form (Calculus of form) by artists and musicians Max Eilbacher and Phillip Sollmann. The exhibition will be initiated on February 17, 2024 with a performance by the them; the presentation can then be experienced at the Kunstverein until March 24.

Kalkül der Form consists of two corresponding compositions that sound simultaneously as long durational pieces and extend across the two exhibition spaces of the Kunstverein as an immersive installation.

The composition on the first floor can be experienced via eight loudspeaker columns arranged in a circle. The individual, precisely locatable musical voices interact to create a complex digital sound experience, which is also actively modulated by the movement of the audience in the room. In contrast, visitors on the second floor are enveloped by ephemeral, floating sounds that radiate outwards from the center of the room and directly address the acoustic reflections of the space.

With this work, Eilbacher and Sollmann create a sound system based on simple forms that moves along a minimal curve. The tangible material is created through the generation of geometric configurations and the perceptual fusion of the musical actors, which run against and next to each other in a constant morphology of different designs.

Specifically, their digital sound generator uses ten sine wave oscillators arranged evenly along a sine wave curve with slightly staggered time intervals. The sound sequences, the pitches and the temporal position at which each voice is heard are related to a geometric curve. The structure of the sequence and the relationship between the order of the individual voices and the speed at which the sounds are played are subject to complex formulas and the interventions of the two performers.

In a constant artistic dialog, the artists succeed in creating an elegant and at the same time hypermodern computer music environment in which the work always begins with very simple sequences that develop over time into extremely complex soundscapes. The interplay of these sequences and their superimposition, together with the discrete playback in space, make up the poetic character of the system and create the illusion of polyphony, changing texture and rhythmic complexity.

The use of multi-channel loudspeaker systems has repeatedly been an important part of Max Eilbacher and Phillip Sollmann’s artistic practice in recent years. Eilbacher has realized extensive live and tape works for four- and eight-channel systems. In artistic collaboration with Konrad Sprenger, Phillip Sollmann’s joint project Modular Organ System explores the theme of immersion and the spatial sound experience through modular, freely arranged sound generators.

With their new, jointly developed system, Eilbacher and Sollmann have succeeded in making completely new tonal and compositional discoveries that open up unknown territory and are unique as an immersive sound experience. The technical aspect of the discrete multi-channel system is central to this. Each individual loudspeaker is inextricably linked to the sonic events of the composition and installation and addresses the fluid boundary between individual and collective (sound) experience.

Max Eilbacher (*1991 in Baltimore, USA) is a sound artist who works with compositions, musical performances, conceptual systems, perceptual choreographies, installations and theoretical sculptures. Eilbacher studied film art, computer music and animation in his hometown of Baltimore. Together with his music project Horse Lords, but also as a solo artist, he has released on labels such as Editions Mego, Thrill Jockey, RVNG, Superpang, Catch Wave and Drag City. His compositions are performed in clubs as well as museums and galleries. Eilbacher lives and works in Berlin.

Phillip Sollmann (*1974 in Kassel) deals with numerous levels of sound in his work. He studied electro-acoustic music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He has been producing electronic music under the project name Efdemin since the late 1990s and is a resident DJ at Berlin’s Berghain club. Under his real name, he works as a sound artist and composer. Since 2017, he has been part of the Sollmann-Sprenger studio, which continuously develops hybrid sound concepts of a mechanical and digital nature that mainly deal with questions of sound in space. Sollmann lives and works in Berlin.

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