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Sigune von Osten "ManMachine-SoundMachine"

- an audio-visual performance -  -film-

Sigune von Osten has been developing audio-visual performances for extraordinary venues: these can be factory floors, abandoned mines, industrial plants, stone quarries as well as unspoiled nature. It has always been her concern to arouse people's curiosity via the location and, thereby, open up their ears for new sounds and new music in a playful way.

?ManMachine ? SoundMachine? is, above all, a performance of sounds following in the footsteps of John Cage's philosophy. Whether it is about six million grinding balls in mill 6 of the cement works or about iron barrels being pounded by 40 percussionists, or about factory machines of the THW, which normally are used for catastrophes but, in this case, play a quintet with a tenor saxophone, or about a trio playing far apart on rails of the transfer station, where ships are unloaded, or the clinker silo of the bucket chain conveyor with a tuba on the Rhine.

It is about raising the awareness for the mulititude and the distinction of noises and sounds, in which, despite their peculiarity, pulsate a rhythm of their own. Because of the range of texts such as descriptions of work and materials, instruction manuals for electrical appliances and electronic devices in daily use, arises the question as food for thought: To what extent is each of us already trapped in the increasing permeation of technology and has become a slave of it? Is humanity in danger of making itself redundant?

Musically, experimental music merges with vocals, jazz, classical and non-European music.

Sigune von Osten, Singing/Voice

ART POINTensemble
Wu Wei, Sheng / Erhu / Bawu / Xun   Matthias Schubert, Tenorsaxophon
Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Tuba   Raymond Kaczynski, IT-struments / percussions
Frank Thomé, percussions  Hans van Koolwijk, sound machines

AG (Consortium) Neue Musik at Leininger Gymnasium Grünstadt / Silke Egeler-Wittmann, Leitung (management)
MM-Chor (Choir), Einstudierung (rehearsels) Sigune von Osten   THW Mainz, Ortsgruppenleiter (local team leader) Ralf Essmann
Höhenrettung (Rescue from Heights) Mainz, Leitung (management) Benjamin Schwarze

Riverline Ton & Licht GmbH, Licht und Ton (light and sound)
Corinna Janson, Assistenz / Organisation (assistance / organisation)
Demian von Osten, Inspizienz (stage management)
Krischan Kriesten, Produktionsleitung (production management)
Sigune von Osten, Idee / Text / Musik / Künstlerische Gesamtleitung (concept / text / music / averall artistic direction)
Michael Cypra, Technische Beratung / Durchführung / Werksleitung (technical advice / execution / plant management)
Frankfurter Hof Mainz, Veranstalter (host)
ART POINT, Produktion (production)

Media response

"ManMachine ?SoundMachine ?
a concert of humungous dimensions
Industry once in a totally different light: with the help of ManMachine ?SoundMachine the cement works in Weisenau transformed into a huge stage for a concert. Music, voice, light choreography, and performance were united for a big show....
?. An entire factory floor serves as a concert venue, a stage, protagonist and instrument at the same time... From the clicking and clacking of the entrance gate to the illumination after the acoustical ending, nothing is left to chance. No buzzing and droning, no clanking, no screeching noises stands outside the art??"

Rheinzeitung 01.07. 2008

"?. On the one hand, this performance was arranged by professionals, e.g. the renowned jazz saxophone player Matthias Schubert, who managed to squeeze all the possible but also impossible sounds out of his instrument, and also Sigune von Osten herself appeared as a singer. She deftly integrated Luigi Nono's gloomy compositon about an iron factory in Genoa - ?La fabrica illuminata? - into this permormance. That was definitely the absolute highlight of the night. Very intense! And that was the moment one could almost sense the magical charisma Sigune von Osten has as an artist and why, after all, composers such as Nono, Cage, or Messiaen have worked together with her.

?.. And an amateur choir on a steel frame chanted, over and over, texts out of instruction manuals for electrical devices or key words from business economics such as ?innovation? or ?rationalisation.?

This choir, by the way, mainly consisted of people seeking work, who were recruited on purpose for this project with the help of flyers that could be found at employment offices.?

?This questioning of the sense and nonsense of the technological progress, that was the crucial point. And this message, as regards content, has surely been conveyed....

? Musically, this night equalled the best promotion in the matter of New Music.

And I found it more important than anything to present this concept of unusual sounds at an unusual place and, thereby, probably addressing more members of the audience. That really worked! Because this really large hall was packed.

source: SWR2 Kultur / Journal am Morgen 31.05.08 (MP3)

??. Hence, it was not only a nostalgic ode to a key a figure of New Music that made Sigune von Osten decide to put Nono's ?La fabbrica illuminata,? 'Contemplating work conditions in the Italy of the 60s', into the centre of her audio-visual performance ?ManMachine ?SoundMachine? on the site of the cement works in Mainz-Weisenau.

In a conventional concert setting, the 17-minutes piece would at best take on the function of the teeth-grindingly tolerated alibi ???. Totally in virtue of the network New Music, in whose framework the factory event made the start, Sigune von Osten conceptualised the whole evening as a mediating approach to this one piece of work: 'The tube system of the passageway that was illuminated with colours and exposed to the sounds of Christoph Schläger's ?Sound Creatures? led the visitors to the open factory premises, where sound workers ? not without a certain rhythmic coordiation ? sampled the pleasures of the deafening contact of cement grinding machines with iron bars...

After another noise-grounded interval one arrived at the second floor of the former packing hall, that represented, audio-visually prepared at best, an ideal concert location for the little passage through the history of industrialisation, that Sigune von Osten arranged round Nono's compositions. Beside von Osten's striking interpretation of the magnus opus itself, the ?Bambuso Sonor? was fascinating, that sound work of art consisting of countless flutes, with which Hans van Koolwijk has been on the road for more than ten years, a real ?SoundMachine?, that is nonetheless depending on the coordinating efforts of the instrumentalist. Sheng-Soloist Wu Wie as well as percussionists Raymond Kaczynski and Frank Thomé made further first-class contributions; the Consortium 'Neue Musik des Leininger Gymnasiums Grünstadt', that was coordinated by Silke Egeler-Wittmann, and the 'MM-Choire', composed of work-seeking people, put their rhythmic raps (from instruction manuals among other things) and economic key words concisely and with striking precision into the open.
All these also visually appealing elements ? depending on the point of view ? sensitised for Nono's far more cumbersome ?Fabbrica?, his radical handling of text, voice and work noise seemed to develop almost naturally out of the afore listened to material...

nmz Magazin Juli / August

Opinions of participants and listeners

"?.. For all five of us it was really fun. The ?boys? proclaimed the very same friday night to participate again, if they were asked again.
All that remains is to express my own admiration for you. It was a great and extraordinary adventure for me to experience your performance. What you staged there is second to none. A special bravo from my side...?

D.E. THW Mainz

"?. Thanks a lot for your fantastic idea and great imagination. We all had great fun, it was again a unique performance of yours. I sincerely thank you for your huge effort. I think that the audience showed the same enthusiasm as we did...?

Wu Wei, Interpreter (musician)


"? I am also very happy to have participated in this event, and it will positively stick with me for a long time. Thanks!"

A. MM-Chor

"?. I also had a great time and I would join in again anytime??"

S. H. MM-Chor

"? It takes a while to digest so many impressions. The TV report showed pieces, of which, unfortunately, I didn't even see anything... My children were very proud of me and could probably understand why the rehearsals were so important to me. For both of them it took on an additional dimension. I am very interested in keeping in touch. I am open for pretty much anything that inspires and attracts?..?."

A. K-B, MM-Chor

"?many thanks for the very interesting eye-opening experience! It was my first project of this kind, and probably not my last. The world is sounds. Thanks again also for the willingness to work with laymen.?

M.S. Contributor MM-Chor

"--- ManMachine will reverberate in me for a long time. The whole thing was plenty of fun and it motivated me to get out of the daily routine and do something completely different. I found it so exciting to meet such interesting people, who, despite special talents and capacities, were so ?normal? and easy-going."

I.S. Mitwirkende MM-Chor

"?.. We were very impressed by all the people and machines that took part in it. We were thrilled by the multi-layered composition of the concert. The combination of enthusiastic laymen and brilliant professionals was spectacular, including the light sculptures. We can only begin to fathom the organisational time and effort behind the scenes??.."

S.P. listener

"? That you managed to bring together so many young and older people, who would engage and deal with such a project with commitment and discipline is a very promising impulse. For example, we spoke to a member of the MM-choir and we were very impressed that it was appealing to a person who is usually rather reserved when it comes to modern music, and that this person will probably remain curious."

W. K., listener

" ? A great choreography makes it possible to fascinate the audience with New Music even in the most unfeasible of halls... one couldn't come up with more difficulties!
And the music!!!!!!........ the saxophone...what a musician!!!!!, the bamboso sonore,
the xun !!! had incredibly interesting contributors ? in a dusty hall... you put a spell on us."

D. P. listener

"It was a very impressive evening ? the harmonious combination of the location, the introductory performances and the actual show!
- And then I wasn't sure ? did the crane move because it was part of the show, are the sounds from the corner an installation or are they simply regular daily noises (I wasn't aware, at first, that the production was still continuing): all the sounds became one single harmony and vitalised the buildings and halls.
??. Brilliant musicians, interesting sounds and ambience experiences, an outstanding technology and perfect execution - bravo!"

P.K. listener

Juli 2008 © ART POINT Trombacher Hof