Christina Kubisch is a first generation sound artist of the highest order. Kubisch has been working with electrical induction since the late seventies and in 2003 she began her Electrical Walk installations. Listeners wear specially built headphones that reveal electro-magnetic radiation eminating from the technological world around us. 5 Electrical Walks is her first collection of compositions untilizing material recorded during Electrical Walks.
“Electrical Walks is a public walk with custom-made sensitive wireless headphones by which aboveground and underground electromagnetic fields are detected, amplified and made audible. The transmission of sound is accomplished by a built-in set of induction coils which respond to the electromagnetic waves in our environment. The palette of these noises, their timbre and volume vary from site to site and from country to country. They have one thing in common: they are ubiquitous, even where one would not expect them. Light systems, wireless communication systems, radar systems, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, cell phones, computers, streetcar cables, antennae, navigation systems, automated teller machines, wireless internet, neon advertising, public transportation networks, etc. create electrical fields that are as if hidden under cloaks of invisibility, but of incredible presence.
The sounds are much more musical than one could expect. There are complex layers of high and low frequencies, loops of rhythmic sequences, groups of tiny signals, long drones and many things which change constantly and are hard to describe. Some sounds are “global players”, they sound much alike all over the world. Others are specific for a city or country and cannot be found anywhere else.
Electrical Walks is an an invitation to a special kind of investigation of city centres (or other locations). With the magnetic headphone and a map of the environs, upon which the possible routes and especially interesting electrical fields are marked, the visitor can set off on his own or in a group. The perception of everyday reality changes when one listens to the electromagnetic fields; what is accustomed appears in a different context. Sound can transport you to different time areas, sound can transport you through your knowledge of space. Your brain is trying to get together what you hear and see in new ways. Nothing looks the way it sounds. And nothing sounds the way it looks.
The five compositions on the CD are based on numerous live recordings of electromagnetic fields, made between 2003 and 2007 in the cities of Birmingham, Chicago, Taipei, Paris, Bremen, Riga, Tokyo, Madrid, London, New York, Berlin and others. The sounds have not been altered electronically or by other means. “
- Christina Kubisch, July 2007
About Christina Kubisch:
Christina Kubisch belongs to the first generation of sound artists. Trained as a composer, she studied painting, music (flute and composition) and electronics in Hamburg, Graz, Zürich and Milano, where she graduated. Her work can be described as the “synthesis of arts” - the discovery of acoustic space and the dimension of time in the visual arts on the one hand, and a redefinition of relationships between material and form on the other. Kubisch is best known for artistically and innovatively using techniques such as magnetic induction and ultraviolet light to create and realise her work.Since the 1970’s Kubisch has been experimenting with electromagnetic induction and was one of the first to use this method for creating sound installations. Some of her most well know works include the Electrical Walks series, where audience wear magnetic headphones, specially designed by Kubisch, with built-in coils that respond to electrical fields in the environment. Tapping into the electrical fields that result from light systems, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, cell phones, computers, antennae, automated teller machines and other electric devices, she uses these visible sources to create unique and new sensory environmental experiences.
In the mid-1980s, Kubisch began to incorporate light as a compositional tool in many works, for example in the installation Skylines at the documenta 8, Kassel; the underground installation Klang Fluß Licht Quelle on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin and more recently Licht Himmel a permanent light sound installation at Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany. Since 2003 Kubisch has begun to work again as a performer and collaborates with various musicians and dancers, one of whom is Lotta Melin, with whom she will be co-facilitating the Lisbon workshop. An internationally recognised artist, Kubisch has shown work at major international exhibitions and festivals (Venice Benniale, documenta 8, Kassel, Ars Electronica, Linz, Sydney Benniale, Sonar, Barcelona and Sonic Boom, London) performing around the world she has received numerous grants and awards and her music has been realised on various labels such as Cramps Records and Edition RZ. Kubisch has been visiting professor in Maastricht, Paris and Berlin and since 1994, is currently the professor for sound art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Saarbrücken, Germany.