Die Landschaft zerfetzt, öde, kaputtMusic work, 2012
By Barblina Meierhans + Marcel Zaes
For an extended string quartet and an unconventional space, with four speakers, microphones, and custom-made, score-providing computer apps
5 hours duration
By adding a strong artificial sonic layer to the surroundings, Meierhans and Zaes introduce the idea of changing the perception of the specific place/space, which is neither an art nor concert space. The two collaborating sound artists place four string players in a big circle/square and let them act for an extreme and almost inhuman duration. They produce long-sustained tones, which get occasionally interrupted by some rhythmic patterns. Its separate speaker heavily amplifies each string instrument, like a sonic zoom that makes every little detail audible. Computer screens are used in order to synchronize the four string players. They act no longer as a traditional quartet, but as four quasi-autonomous sound producers since they can hardly make visual contact.
Clearly, the resulting sound landscape has a delicate but high significant influence on the perception of the specific place of performance with its own history, inhabitants, memories, architectural epoch etc. As the sound becomes part of that place, as the place becomes part of the sound work. DIE LANDSCHAFT ZERFETZT, ÖDE, KAPUTT calls the term of the “work of art” as well as the term of traditional music performance into question, being no longer music nor concert. Meierhans and Zaes, while doing this sound work of enormous dimensions, invite the spectator to linger in the space, confronting them with delicate and beautiful sounds and shifting their attention from the space to the soundscape and vice versa.