Sprache / language

engine room

a sound / video performance


The duo khmfn performs engine room. Here, mysteries are non-existent. The mystery is that which is openly visible. Sound engineer Frank Niehusmann distorts and collages industrial sounds and engine sounds, standing with his laptop computer in the beam of a video projection. He thus becomes part of the projection, reacts to, and acts in it. During the performance, the image mechanic (Karl-Heinz Mauermann) creates a kinetic installation, a constantly chifting world of images. Improvising, in the course of the performance he constantly re-builds this world of video projections. The images thus emerging are in unstable conditions. Minimal manipulations of the feedback system lead to aesthetically highly complex, partially chaotically developing processes.




Cascading metal constructions can be seen, within which the sound engineer sets motors howling and rammers thundering: real toys, and virtual fabric hall. The genesis of the images on stage is visible to the audience.

The projected series of images is based on double visual feedback, of live-recorded video pictures of simple home-made models of engines, opto-electronic parts and light reflections. The sound engineer becomes part of a constantly osscillating, apparently gigantic world of engines.

The performance is live, each single one unique and only repeatable within the framework of certain parameters forming the basic score. The piece exists in several versions between 10 and 60 minutes in length. Engine room is a work on the importance of sound for optical perception and the importance of images for acoustic perception. Engine room is a system for the testing of phenomena of perception.

Claudia Heinrich
Engine room is a concert for eyes and ears

A small red plastic heart, constructions built with a classical Meccano set, screws, wires, wind-up motors and a rotating hand-held miniature ventilator - these are some of the protagonists in a manifold miniature panopticum utilised in the image/sound performance 'engine room'. The image engineer takes up one object after the other, positions it on a rotating disc, moves it in front of the camera and puts it aside again. Monumentally enlarged - distorted in colour and shape by means of an intricate recording system from video cameras influencing each other - the objects, in their projection on the distant screen, reach unexpected dimensions.
Incessant metamorphosis is happening here: sometimes threatening phenomena generate themselves, sometimes airily playful ones, sometimes mere indefinable abstract structures which are pointedly, even dramatically exalted though the industrial noises and engine sounds played live be the second performer on his laptop compter.
Engine room is a concert for eyes and ears, a collage of objects, performers, images and sound sequences. "Image engineer" and "sound engineer" act like the members of a jazz combo, they play into each others hands and, in reacting to each other, develop a dramatic stance which, within the framework of an open composition, is permitted to branch out in improvisation during the performance process.

The audience are confronted with a reception experience on two simultanuous levels. From moment to moment they must decide which one of the two they want to perceive and follow. On the one hand, there is the art work: the images, the concert. On the other, there are the originators of image and sound in action: there is the "image engineer" controlling the progress of the visual happenings inmidst his seemingly chaotic equipment of table, camera, beamers, cable drums and boxes full of everyday objects; there is also the "sound engineer" in front of the projection screen, who keeps his eye on the sequence of images while simultaneously mixing and playing the sounds on his computer keyboard.
Not the least charm of the performance is this parallel view of cause and effect, the openly displayed discrepancy between the sources of image and sound and the aesthetic final result: miniature objects and minimal handling, with clean-cut hightech support, are contrasted with the giant projections within a martial tapestry of sound simulating a gigantic engine room.



 Info: Frank Niehusmann