ALLUVIUM is a digitally generated sonic and visual landscape that Ulf Langheinrich describes as a resonating matrix of aesthetic matter. In ALLUVIUM, contexts, social settings and meanings are of no interest; Langheinrich’s focus is the aesthetic potential of media machines—software and hardware: the contradiction between the promise of the perfect illusion and the limits of a specific display apparatus. The friction between the desire for the absolute and the failures of hardware reveals the true nature of media setups. In exploring the limitations lies the potential; the failure is the truth.
Ulf Langheinrich first saw my AVIE installation when it shown at eLandscape in Shanghai in 2008. At Richard Castelli’s suggestion Ulf began to work on an abstract work for AVIE, which ultimately became Alluvium. Ulf had already experimented with multi-screen surround projection in Granular Synthesis’s <360> (2002). And in 2003 he created a work for my EVE installation based on PERM, which was shown at Richard Castelli’s Cinémas du Futur exhibition in Lille. Interestingly, he also made a dome work title HEMISPHERE(2006) which was somewhat inspired by my Cupola installation, so I feel that Ulf and I have had a artistically symbiotic relationship over the years. I also invited him to be a Visiting Professor at City University in Hong Kong a few years ago. In his media art practice Ulf has updated and transcended the rich traditions of ‘Op Art’ for the contemporary sensibility. Often using live-recorded video materials as his source, these are digitally deconstructed into a condition of hypnotic near-total abstraction. In Ulf words “...the remoulding of these materials in a computer processing environment destroys a great deal of the representation and creates ambiguity. The essence that I try to extract or bring to the surface is the evidence of life itself. I try to ... situate a kind of perceptual drowning (for the viewer).”The AVIE immersive projection environment is clearly an appropriate platform for Ulf to further these profound explorations of ‘perceptual drowning’.