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© Tina Frank, 2018
© Tina Frank, 2018
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
© Tina Frank,Media Lu(n)z, 2018, Foto: Woessner
 

tina frank


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media lu(n)z



It all sounds so simple: MEDIA LU(N)Z is an artistic work made for the music festival wellenklænge’s second stage in the multipurpose hall, which also serves as a gym for the new middle school in Lunz am See. Inspired by the name of the festival and the natural scenery around the town, which is dominated by mountains, forest, and Lake Lunz, the artist chose waves as a theme and pictorial motif of this audiovisual composition. The installation consists of a network of programmable LED strips and a corresponding sound composition that highlights the close connection between electronically generated images and sounds.

On an abstract level, the wave symbolizes a wide range of physical processes – from the perception of colors, to hearing different pitches. At the same time, it is also a motif that represents nature. In this context, representation is especially important, because Tina Frank’s MEDIA LU(N)Z does not generate a true-to-life likeness of waves or a certain landscape. Instead, these are reduced to initiate a spatial transmission and translation. The “realistic” copy becomes an abstract pattern, while the panorama of the lake landscape is transferred from the outdoors to the indoors, where ultimately a multi-dimensional, synesthetic, experiential space has been superimposed on the readily comprehensible, measurable Cartesian space.
How does this process work in detail? The different elements of the landscape around Lunz have been translated into symbols, broken down into small signs that refer to the “landscape” as a visual system. Landscape, not just the image thereof, is thus constructed not only through the gaze of the author, but also the apparatus used to capture it – whether this be an easel and brush, a photographic camera, video camera, oscilloscope, or a computer program. Choosing a certain landscape as a starting point for an artistic work thus always means imagining its specific geological formation, its historical layers, and spatial concepts, as well as the changes that have occurred in the chosen medium’s recording and perception conditions. In the structural films of the 1960s and 1970s, for example, nature, landscape, and its qualities – like light, color, and texture – were shown in a process over a period of time as a way of reflecting on questions of representation and perception. These elements are being used again in films today about landscapes and “natural spaces” but are now associated with a reflection on the forms and consequences of human interventions. The two possible readings of the title – MEDIA LUNZ or MEDIA LUZ –oscillate between apparatus, natural phenomenon, and site-specificity, thereby making the construction of this approach obvious.
The second level of translation, which concerns the synesthetic experience of time and space and is thus connected to another notion of place, is the transfer of the perspective of the lake stage to the overall space of the gym. At first glance, this has the potential to generate tension, because the gym is dedicated to physical discipline and the increase of efficiency and productivity. This runs counter to the cliché of the free flowing wave. Does this mean that our gaze, which can wander so freely outdoors, is intended to be disciplined and immobilized? Audiovisual perception is another important aspect. The LED strips attached to the ceiling of the gym whose colored dots change from green to blue, from red to yellow to purple before finally turning white enable us to see the installation as an overall pattern as well as individual elements at the same time. The musical composition of MEDIA LU(N)Z follows a similar trajectory as the visual element but is able to work with a broader range of variations. As a result, sounds reminiscent of nature – croaking, chirping, and buzzing – and abstract drone sounds alternate with one another in waves that are reflected in the precisely planned light configurations. The sound is not bound to our gaze, but rather spreads throughout the gym, behaving differently in the corners and edges than in the middle of the room or near the seats. The blending of outer and inner space can thus only succeed through this multi-sensory experience.

Edgar Varèse, one of the pioneers of electronic music who is also indirectly quoted in Tina Frank’s work, wrote in 1959 that he always regarded music as spatial, as a body of intelligible sounds that can move freely in space. When technological progress finally caught up with Varèse’s ideas in the late 1950s, he was able to realize his ideas of a spatial music in the legendary Philips pavilion at the EXPO 58 in Brussels in which he used bands of magnetic tape, amplifiers, about 400 speakers, and not least projected images! This is only one example of the rich history of connections between images and sounds, both analogue and digital. The perception of such audiovisual artworks like Tina Frank’s MEDIA LU(N)Z has always aimed to emancipate the other senses from that of sight, which is so central to the history of art. Immersion into a different experience – also spatial – is the state of perception that is striven for here. This immersion is not the same as a “flood” that overwhelms the viewers and leaves them passive. The goal is rather to establish a state of alert contemplation in which the oscillation between the overall phenomenon and its elements, between figure and ground, can help us to transition from the abstract back to the concrete. MEDIA LU(N)Z could inspire us to ask a few questions, such as: What is the relationship between the individual and society? How has architecture shaped us in the past, and how is it shaping us now? How are we formed by constructed spaces, cultural as well natural? And finally: What does it mean when waves are disciplined, when an open, flowing, constantly re-configuring space becomes a solid body with fixed, rigid boundaries that are subject to strict control?
(Claudia Slanar)


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