THE OPENING OF THE UNIVERSE: An audio visual collaboration in morse code.

20 people, 10 days, 8 audio tracks, 8 installations, 1 exhibition

Schmiede, Hallein, Austria, September 2012

Status: CLOSED


Morse Code is the only language which directly translates to both sound and light. It is therefore the ground zero of multimedia communication - where the written word, audio and video can come together without any loss in translation. The invention of Morse Code led to the first inventions of electronic media, the electromagnetic telegraph, in Europe as early as 1832. In this way, it is understood as the precursor of all the digital materials and media we use today.

Schmiede is a playground of ideas. A place which provides a platform for artists working with multimedia. This combined with the this year's theme, Zero, is why Morse Code was selected as a common denominator of and platform for creation through collaboration.

We began with a text written in 628 AD by Indian mathematician, Brahmagupta titled Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta which translates to Correctly Established Doctrine of Brahma or The Opening of the Universe. In this text Brahmagupta wrote the first concrete ideas on the number Zero by outlining seven major properties of Zero. Some of these principles were later rewritten, but the importance of the original text and the power it had in changing the way we understood the entire universe was pivotal for math, science, physics and philosophy. It is this power of intention and understanding of Zero as a catalyst which we present in this work.

Brahmagupta's seven principles of Zero and the title of the project, The Opening of the Universe, were translated into Morse Code as written and audio sequences of dots and lines. Musicians were given the challenge to reinterpret the code as soundscapes, while using it as the basic rhythm of their composition - making their music a direct transfer rather than translation of the original text. Furthermore, a direct presentation of the first understanding of Zero.

The tracks were then integrated into mini installations, including 4 films, 2 light installations, and 1 invented object. These were placed in various locations around the Alte Saline during the Schmiede Werkshau 2012 and could be found using a map or by accident while walking through the building. 

The Opening of the Universe was art directed by Farida Amar (Boston, USA). Farida was assisted in the conceptual development, organization and implementation of these ideas by Henner Wöhler (Leipzig, Germany) and Elena Becker (Munich, Germany). Other participating artists include: Andreas Göstlinger (Salzburg, Austria), Bernhard Schabmayr (Linz, Austria), Christian Mairinger (Vienna, Austria) Christoph Haag (Augsburg, Germany), Hayli Chwang (Paris, France), Lenja Gathmann (Vienna, Austria), Lukas Rabe (Leipzig, Germany), Nils Medina (Paris, France), Panzerella (Freiburg, Germany), RIFA (Vienna, Austria), Ruediger Wasserbauer (Salzburg, Austria) & Thomas Stiermaier (Vienna, Austria). Special thank you to Judith Holzer (Berlin, Germany), Benjamin Hohnheiser (Berlin, Germany), Michael Hackl (Vienna, Austria), Jakob Barth (Vienna, Austria) & Tim Schenk (Berlin, Germany).

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