Schleifmühlgasse 18 - 1040 Vienna 
+43-1-9207778 -

15.1.- 5.3.2016
opening: Thursday, 14.1., 6 pm
WHERE: Galerie Michaela Stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna

PATRICK BAUMÜLLER | Between Signal and Noise

How remarkable that sound, that acoustic noise, echo as a physical incident is usually linked to something visible. Thus, it almost seems to be a contradiction if we imagine sound to have a penetrating omnipresence. It is the phenomenon of the continued presence of the invisible manifesting itself as uproar, noise, voice or, perhaps, even as music. While other sensations can be shielded all together, the ear continues its work, ready for reception. A particular mode of perception, maybe, presenting itself to the other cognitive sensors only when this influx is blocked out.

The disappearance of the audible may trigger very different irritations. In experiments with long-lasting shielding of external impressions, it may lead to mind-expansion or hallucinations, while at the other end of the parable we find two manners of torture with the complete deprivation of any kind of stimulus and permanent isolation. What is less dramatic: the third way; pressing the stop- or the pause-button, symbolized by two parallels. A moment of pause, probably even raising the level of awareness, in the state of saturation.

Patrick Baumüller merges these symbols at such a moment. He has integrated the symbol of temporary suspension of the play-back process – »PAUSE« – into an imaginary object made of acoustic absorbers, foam plastic material as it is usually used for the reduction of noise and echo in a recording studio. The significant surface made of pyramid foam plastic reminds us of this typical pull-effect that is so close to silence, immediately manifesting itself when entering a recording studio. Irrespective of from what side one approaches this phenomenon, it soon becomes evident that the audible as an acoustic incident is located in field of interference with the visual. »The entire presence of echo and sound is, thus, made from a complex of references«, Jean-Luc Nancy concludes in an essay about the sense of hearing. He refers to more than a simple indexical-reference system of individual sound sequences with other, already existing ones when he alludes to the »simultaneity«. »There is the simultaneousness of the visual and the contemporaneousness of the audible«.

It is the interplay of these two elements, one entailing the other, that creates a field of resonance of meanings. The presence of the visual often turns into something magical. There is, for instance, the historical approach, when giant speakers placed next to the rock stage, resembling mythical obelisks in matte black, signalized the soon-about-to-come release of sound, the volume of which should drown out the rigid generation of parents. But already the sight, the spotting of membranes of a series of smaller speakers evokes the impression of immediate sound.

Even if the change in media has resulted in sounds coming from digital sources and radio receivers once accentuated kitchens or living rooms as small cult objects having assumed a rather design-like character, the speaker remains a technical source of sound. Patrick Baumüller's Sound Cloud, the imaginary object »Big Block« consists of a series of speakers distributed along the surface. In their current second-hand use, they remind us of their origin from another technical context made of old radio receivers or discarded speaker systems. They can hardly be properly recognized, but can be heard from a distance, humming in various qualities. Like a bolide rushing by or a swarm of bees coming from the small speakers working as an audio display, they may, however, also be used for different sound material.

This may touch upon sound, but on a different level, Patrick Baumüller also pursues the question of how it is possible to visualize what is hardly perceived in the visual field. He already did so in a previous artwork called »VENTILATO/ FAN-GEMEINDE (2010/14)«, where he explored the dynamics of air streams via the structure of ventilation shafts. In his oeuvre, Baumüller creates approximate values in an echo room of meanings by elevating the terms and translating them from one level to the other. This is also reflected in the series of drawings with chalk pastels, »TRAXX«. Via the picture, the street formation of a race circuit is imagined; both as a toy and in the original. The catchy noise almost imposes itself on the observer.
In a linguistically analytical way, Patrick Baumüller establishes approximate values in the field of the experimental. Just as the title of this exhibition with project character, "Between Signal and Noise", indicates, alluding to the deconstruction of an original signal by the subsequent noise.

Roland Schöny,
Contemporary Art Curator, 2016

transl. by Verena Seiser

Patrick Baumüller | RAUSCHABSTAND | press
Patrick Baumüller | press photo | Traxxx, 2015, chalk pastels on a wood panel
Patrick Baumüller

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