Bill Fontana. Primal Energies

01.07.-04.10.2020


In cooperation with the University of Arts Graz, Ö1 Kunstradio (ORF), Radio Helsinki, mur.at, FunkFeuer and the ‘Kultur inklusiv’ Project 

Supported by AVL Cultural Foundation

Sonic Projections is a project of Graz Year of Culture 2020.

Venue: Space01

Curated by: Katrin Bucher Trantow
Assistant curator: Alexandra Trost


About the exhibition

Bill Fontana, the American sound artist active on the international stage for decades, comes to Graz with a solo exhibition and the re-enactment Sonic Projections. Fontana will show two live installations created for the location, one in Kunsthaus Graz, the other in the city – both focus on generating awareness for our environment. As a former student of John Cage, Dick Higgens and Alison Knowles, his work today stands for a continuation of radical concepts of the 1970s – apart from frequently pondering environmental concerns, his work is exemplary for the urge to leave the studio – and so links up with the exhibition CalArts that is showing parallel to this. In the domed room of Kunsthaus Graz, he enables the visitor to experience renewable energies in the room as a physical intervention, by means of multi-dimensional soundscapes and picture montages, while in the urban space the conciliatory tones of nature found in the re-enactment of Sonic Projections sound forth.

In 1988, with this sound work as part of the steirischer herbst festival, Fontana sent out into the city from the Schlossberg sounds from around the world, and their urban echo through all of Austria via the Ö1 Kunstradio (ORF). The re-enactment uses new technologies and is devoted to today’s city on the acoustic level. As a recurring sound it thus functions as a means of orientation to time and space, as a trigger of memory and deliberate perception, plumbing what is currently an ever-more delicate construct of urban needs and strains.

With a site specific and live audio-visual installation on renewable energies, the sound pioneer Bill Fontana dives into the acoustic and visual structures of water, wind and geothermal energy. Since the beginning of his artistic career, Fontana has been challenging environmental questions through the possibility of a holistic perception of the “overlooked”. As in the famous case of his early project Sonic Projections from Schloßberg in Graz (1988), Fontana uses the culturally defined environment as the source of his musical information that he offers through transmission and composition to a wider public. Beyond instrumented and composed music, his work centres on the activation of conscious listening and an awareness of sound qualities and harmonies in cultural production and everyday life. With the help of continuously evolving technical instruments and unfamiliar localization, he makes characteristics of landscapes, and manmade architecture and engineering perceivable, while creating site specific, and locally rooted immersive sound sculptures. In his most recent audio-visual work, acoustic and visual patterns overlap in mesmerizing harmony and make us “become fully present” (Fontana).

With a site specific and live audio-visual installation on renewable energies, the sound pioneer Bill Fontana dives into the acoustic and visual structures of water, wind and geothermal energy. Since the beginning of his artistic career, Fontana has been challenging environmental questions through the possibility of a holistic perception of the “overlooked”. As in the famous case of his early project Sonic Projections from Schloßberg in Graz (1988), Fontana uses the culturally defined environment as the source of his musical information that he offers through transmission and composition to a wider public.

Beyond instrumented and composed music, his work centres on the activation of conscious listening and an awareness of sound qualities and harmonies in cultural production and everyday life. With the help of continuously evolving technical instruments and unfamiliar localization, he makes characteristics of landscapes, and manmade architecture and engineering perceivable, while creating site specific, and locally rooted immersive sound sculptures. In his most recent audio-visual work, acoustic and visual patterns overlap in mesmerizing harmony "so as to become fully present" (Fontana).

On Bill Fontanas web page you can dive into the ambisonic recording of the exhibition and its different soundscapes. Tip: Please use headphones. 

Find out more about Sonic Projections

"Sonic Projections",
Project, Temporary installation

Bill Fontana. Sonic Projections

01.07.-04.10.2020 > Kunsthaus Graz, Öffentlicher Raum

Sonic Projections is a sound project for the urban space of Graz. more...

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