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).

Concept Film

Filmed by Judith Holzer, Elena Becker & Farida Amar

Music by Bernhard Schabmayr

Edited by Farida Amar

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Photo of Lenja Gathmann sitting on the entrance installation design.

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[ONE] The sum of zero and a negative number is negative

- .... . / ... ..- -- / --- ..-. / --.. . .-. --- / .- -. -.. / .- / -. . --. .- - .. ...- . / -. ..- -- -... . .-. / .. ... / -. . --. .- - .. ...- . 


Credits: 

Andreas Gröstlinger - Sound Design 

Ruediger Wassibauer - Performance 

Hayli Chwang - Post Production 

Elena Becker - Graphic Design

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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Andreas Gröstlinger - Sound Design 

Ruediger Wassibauer - Performance 

Hayli Chwang - Post Production 

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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[TWO] The sum of zero and a positive number is positive

- .... . / ... ..- -- / --- ..-. / --.. . .-. --- / .- -. -.. / .- / .--. --- ... .. - .. ...- . / -. ..- -- -... . .-. / .. ... / .--. --- ... .. - .. ...- .


Credits:

RIFA - Sound Design

Nils Medina - Performance

Elena Becker - Performance & Graphic Design 

Hayli Chwang - Post Production

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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RIFA - Sound Design

Nils Medina - Performance

Elena Becker - Performance 

Hayli Chwang - Post Production

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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[THREE] The sum of zero and zero is zero 

- .... . / ... ..- -- / --- ..-. / --.. . .-. --- / .- -. -.. / --.. . .-. --- / .. ... / --.. . .-. ---


Credits:

Bernhard Schabmayr - Sound Design 

Christian Mairinger - Engineering

Elena Becker - Graphic Design

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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The Optical Turntable is an instrument to convert a visual pattern into an analog electrical signal. An optical sensor is used to read a position on the record witch is illuminated by a laser. This signal is then interpreted as a audio signal and played back. This transforms the storage media which is sensible for the human visual perception to audible sounds. The Optical Turntable is capable of playing multiple tracks witch can modulate others.


In the Morse Code Music project/installation the Optical Turntable is used to play a repetitive Morse code sequence which is printed onto paper and than laminated onto the record. This Morse pattern is played by the Optical Turntable and used to reproduce the Morse code as a  sequence of light / no light. This is not the original purpose of the Optical Turntable as it was designed to reproduce a optical pattern as a audible pattern. Instead of storing the Morse code on a electrical or electronic storage the Optical Turntable is used to control the light. With this the same media is used for storage and play back of the Morse code. Both can be recognized with the visual perception.


The Optical Turntable was designed and built by Christian Mairinger (Vienna, Austria, 2012).

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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[FOUR] The sum of a positive and a negative is their difference; or, if they are equal, zero

- .... . / ... ..- -- / --- ..-. / .- / .--. --- ... .. - .. ...- . / .- -. -.. / .- / -. . --. .- - .. ...- . / .. ... / - .... . .. .-. / -.. .. ..-. ..-. . .-. . -. -.-. . / --- .-. --..-- / .. ..-. / - .... . -.-- / .- .-. . / . --.- ..- .- .-.. --..-- / --.. . .-. --- 


Credits:

Lenja Gathmann - Sound Design 

Hayli Chwang - Animation 

Elena Becker - Graphic Design

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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Lenja Gathmann - Sound Design 

Hayli Chwang - Animation 

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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[FIVE] A positive or negative number when divided by zero is a fraction with the zero as denominator

.- / .--. --- ... .. - .. ...- . / --- .-. / -. . --. .- - .. ...- . / -. ..- -- -... . .-. / .-- .... . -. / -.. .. ...- .. -.. . -.. / -... -.-- / --.. . .-. --- / .. ... / .- / ..-. .-. .- -.-. - .. --- -. / .-- .. - .... / - .... . / --.. . .-. --- / .- ... / -.. . -. --- -- .. -. .- - --- .-. 


Credits:

Thomas Stiermaier - Sound Design 

Christian Mairinger - Programming 

Christoph Haag - Programming

Elena Becker - Graphic Design

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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Installation placement outside the Alte Saline.

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[SIX] Zero divided by a negative or positive number is either zero or is expressed as a fraction with zero as numerator and the finite quantity as denominator

--.. . .-. --- / -.. .. ...- .. -.. . -.. / -... -.-- / .- / -. . --. .- - .. ...- . / --- .-. / .--. --- ... .. - .. ...- . / -. ..- -- -... . .-. / .. ... / . .. - .... . .-. / --.. . .-. --- / --- .-. / .. ... / . -..- .--. .-. . ... ... . -.. / .- ... / .- / ..-. .-. .- -.-. - .. --- -. / .-- .. - .... / --.. . .-. --- / .- ... / -. ..- -- . .-. .- - --- .-. / .- -. -.. / - .... . / ..-. .. -. .. - . / --.- ..- .- -. - .. - -.-- / .- ... / -.. . -. --- -- .. -. .- - --- .-.


Credits:

Lukas Rabe - Sound Design 

Christoph Haag - Programming 

Christian Mairinger - Programming 

Elena Becker - Graphic Design

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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Lukas Rabe checking out the installation.

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Close up of one of the morse code lights from the installation.

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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[SEVEN] Zero divided by zero is zero

--.. . .-. --- / -.. .. ...- .. -.. . -.. / -... -.-- / --.. . .-. --- / .. ... / --.. . .-. --- 


Credits:

Andreas Gröstlinger - Sound Design 

Panzerella - Performance

Hayli Chwang - Post Production

Elena Becker - Graphic Design

Farida Amar - Art Direction


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Andreas Gröstlinger - Sound Design 

Panzerella - Performance

Hayli Chwang - Post Production

Farida Amar - Art Direction

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Installation placement in the Alte Saline.

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Panzerella warming up on the set.

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Close up of Panzerella's tap shoes.

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Panzerella finishing the performance.

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Farida Amar's notes for the first official meeting with Cinema Vertigo.

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Notes from Thomas Stiermaier's notebook.

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Christian Mairinger programming his optical turntable.

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Christoph Haag programming some lights.

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Elena Becker's freshly printed and mounted exhibition signs.

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First person perspective of Elena Becker working on the graphics.

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