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Settings Kakolanmäki
 

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Finland 2015 | Photo Series

The series “Settings Kakolanmäki” shows impressions from Turku’s historic prison, which roots back to the 1840s and has been in use until 2007.

The nearly abstract photographs document traces of the building’s former usage – detailed views of the walls of individual cells that once were decorated by its former inhabitants in an attempt to personalise the space, then a pin board, a door to the staircase, and a hand-painted wall with a lamp in the prison’s former chapel.

The listed building recently has been sold to an investor and is currently awaiting redevelopment.

 
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On C. D. Friedrich
 

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On C. D. Friedrich #01: Drumming
Finland 2014 | » HD Video | Colour | Stereo | 03’55”

Concept & Realisation: David Muth, Drums: Veli-Matti Torkko, Sound Engineering: Erkka Kulmala, Special Thanks: Elina Ovaska

 
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On C. D. Friedrich #02: Dancing
Finland 2014 | » HD Video | Colour | Stereo | 03’09”

Concept & Realisation: David Muth, Dance: Mira Kautto, Sound Engineering: Erkka Kulmala, Special Thanks: Elina Ovaska

DAVID MUTH: ON C. D. FRIEDRICH

In a series of videos entitled “On C.D. Friedrich”, David Muth engages with the famous German painter and his particular approach to the depiction of landscape. In one video we are presented with a drummer sitting behind his kit who is working the drums, in another, a dancer performs moves, both of these scenes taking place in the Finnish woods. The framing of the shots has been chosen carefully according to the principles of pictorial compositions that where the landmark of German Romantic painting. Most importantly, the subjects are entirely subsumed by the landscape, as they are staged in the back of the open volume and therefore become compositional elements that are part of the wider ensemble generated by Muth’s visual selection.

In Casper David Friedrich’s universe, nature was posited as a mirror of the soul of individuals aiming to withdraw from the looming catastrophes of industrial alienation. But in a state of “transcendental homelessness”, as Georg Lukacs so adamantly put it, individuals increasingly seem to lack the capacity to experience the difference between subjects and environments as aesthetically pleasing. The protagonists in Muth’s videos don’t have the experience of the “sublime” that was so important for Romanticism, and they don’t admire the landscape – instead they appear to be caught up in their own universes, circulating around the suns of their own activities.

Text by Axel Stockburger

 
PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

The Collection of the Finnish State Art Commission, Helsinki, Finland

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Christmas Piece
 

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Finland/UK 2011 | » HD Video | Colour | Stereo | 03’58”

THE DELIRIUM OF THE RATIONALE:
ON DAVID MUTH’S CHRISTMAS PIECE

A traditional paradigm of economics lies in viewing the forces of capitalism as the laws of nature: be it the “invisible hand”, be it the centrifugal and centripetal forces of the market which regulate the production and circulation of goods according to Newton’s laws of inertia and centrifugal force. Laws of nature appear to be deliria, states of externalisation, either to be taken into account or to be ruled out. That’s never quite sure.

Using a fixed camera view, David Muth films a man who tampers with a strange installation between a garage and a red van in the deep snow of Finland. An engine that should propel a conifer requires his full attention. But it is still warming up, humming a little, whilst the tree appears to start moving by trembling slightly. Then another man joins in: the machine is tinkered with and hammered on, the drive belt is being helped manually, and finally the tree begins to turn.The men are watching, laughing, and gesticulating towards the camera and off stage. The tree is spinning faster and faster. The engine starts smoking. An attempt is made to save the process, but the tree itself lost balance through the rotation and seems to tilt at any moment. Or to fly. That’s it. One is fanning the smoke away, the other one switches off.

“Beneath all ratio lies delirium, divergence”, Deleuze and Guattari remark on capitalism, and that “the rational is always the rationality of the irrational”. They argue for the liberalisation of desire; for a desire that does not follow a capitalist social order. Since it carries the foundations of the repressive order of power already inscribed on itself, even in the moments of a utopia. “The capital has no exteriority, no other”, Lyotard writes in his reflections on Deleuze’s and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus. In this sense, Christmas Piece is not a pure allegory on turbo-capitalism and competition creating increasingly shorter cycles of commodity production and consumption. For the apparatus surrounding the rotating Christmas tree doesn’t function as optimisation machine of the productive forces, and the absurdity of the endeavour, as well as the ambiguity of the whole installation are more like sand in the gears of the circulation. The rational of the irrational becomes clear in these efforts of two engineers to win the competition for the fastest rotating Christmas tree. Or is even the cancellation of inertia held out in prospect through the rotation? A catapult that doesn’t deliver a flying tree accurately and on time, but that attacks it? For now the Finnish experiment appears to have failed, but the desire remains.

Text by Claudia Slanar

 
Concept & Realisation: David Muth, Mechanical Engineering: Pentti Aaltonen, Markku Österman, Special Thanks: Elina Ovaska, Jari Kallio, Tuire Ovaska, Kimmo Modig, Heidi Lind, Maarit Lehtola, Jouna Karsi, Hanna Seppänen, James Auger, Jaakko Aaltonen & Jaska Wigren

 
PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

The Collection of the Finnish State Art Commission, Helsinki, Finland

 
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Five Patterns
 

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UK 2008 | DVD | Colour | Stereo | 01’34 Min
Courtesy Edition Medienturm, Graz

The term “pattern” is little short of summing up a graphical and conceptual genre in new media – traditionally one might simply say swatch or ornament as well. In electronic arts the term describes a process driven by a structured formula, whereby a fluid matrix emerges through the repetitive assemblage of single elements.

David Muth breaks with this common practice, and he does so by working with this story in a pictorial and humorous fashion. Muth photographs patterns of industrially manufactured covers that adorn the seats of public transport and obviously don’t promise any additional artistic value – to a greater degree their masking abstracted compositions seem to be precondition for diverse usage, resistant against contaminants. In close-ups Muth zooms into the encountered graphical structures and blends them into each other, as if he would like to invoke a discursive massacre. Applied arts meets fine arts, abstraction meets the real life.

Text by Sandro Droschl

 
PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

ZKM, Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany

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Settings
 

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Exhibition Views 01 | 02

The poet Konrad Bayer, founding member of the Viennese Group, sees language as a place of convention – a place where the individual is subordinate to both permanent and unnoticed correction by society.

Expanding on this line of thought, one can look at other, non-verbal domains such as design, architecture or fashion as means of language-like expression. The photo series “Settings” seeks to explore such ideas focussing on housing, domestic landscapes and interiors.

The elements of a total “language” are being divided and connected simultaneously, so that an intensification effect can be evoked through subtle infringements, through encroachments on neighbouring units. The signs are then no longer being conceived within their representative dimension, they represent nothing more than nothingness, they don’t depict – to a greater degree they allow for “actions”, they function like transformers that consume natural and social energies in order to produce effects of highest intensities.

Jean-Francois Lyotard, Essays On Affirmative Aesthetics

 
PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Museum of Modern Art Salzburg, Austria

 
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A Matter Of Fact
 

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A Matter Of Fact – an exhibition curated by Eelco van der Lingen and David Muth, kindly supported by Stroom, Heden, and the Gemeente Den Haag.

The show is concerned with notions around space and reality and combines sculpture, video and sound works by 9 artists from the Netherlands, Austria, the United Kingdom and France.

Deconstruction allows for a kind of affirmation – a chastened non-triumphant one, to be sure, but an affirmation all the same. Human action, in the face of the realisation that access to the ultimate truth has been denied, is all the more admirable, all the more humane.

Note on Jacques Derrida by José Borghino

 
Participating Artists:

Frank Halmans, Tijmen Hauer, Annja Krautgasser, Eelco van der Lingen, Josh Müller, David Muth, Lynn Pook, Oscar Stegehuis and Edd Vossen.

17.11.2007 – 15.12.2007, DCR, The Hague, Netherlands

 
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You Are The Sony Of My Life
 

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David Muth (video) | GCTTCATT (music)

UK/NL 2007 | DVD | COLOUR | STEREO | 03’38 MIN

The video piece “You Are The Sony Of My Life” is an amalgam of concise visual language tightly fused with the whimsical, flickering soundtrack by GCTTCATT.

The piece starts with an image of a white plane, which subsequently becomes perforated with bursts of oblique linear elements. As the soundtrack moves on, these acoustically driven perforations merge into larger geometric shapes. A fine grid of interwoven horizontal and vertical stripes is revealed progressively over time.

In David Muth’s piece it seems to be the soundtrack that sculpts the image – by adding and removing visual material, filling certain image regions or dissecting the visual plane. In return, the film acts as a visual amplifier for the audio. “You Are the Sony of My Life” is an ‘Absolute Film’ in more than one sense: it is not only entirely abstract, but also rejects the illusionist principles of animation. There is no hint of a visual space populated by animated shapes. Constrained by the regime of the scan line, the visual organization of the piece remains entirely rhythmic.

Text by Dietmar Offenhuber

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Music For Bodies
 

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Music For Bodies is a NESTA funded research project initiated by Kaffe Matthews, focusing on the construction and exploration of new instruments in order to create sonic experiences for both body and ears.

A series of multidisciplinary think tank meetings has been taken place to identify possible directions for the project, with the core team consisting of architect Alex Haw, music artist Kaffe Matthews, and musician and programmer David Muth. One of the team’s main research strains focused on how to combine the experience of the body, space and sound, with the aim of establishing a compositional vocabulary for “Music For Bodies” instruments.

 
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371 ADV3
 

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David Muth (video) | Farmers Manual (music)

Video, August 2006

The animation 371 Adv3 visually explores rhythmic patterns through abstract minimalism. Specially written software generated the imagery.

Past screenings of the video include Ars Electronica‘s “Generative Animation” program in 2006, curated by Lia and Miguel Carvalhais.

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We Are Car
 

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We Are Car employs a running motorbike engine controlled via MIDI as a musical instrument in order to record and subvert selected rock classics, exploring parallels of emotional thrills induced by acceleration, speed and rock.

The project’s final outcome eventually manifested itself as a CD release, with each CD being accompanied by an especially commissioned perfume based on motor oil – the launch event took place at the ICA in September 2006.

We Are Car has been a collaboration with Chris Lum aka Xper.Xr, funded by the Arts Council England.

 
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Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis)
 

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AT 2006 | HD VIDEO | COLOUR | STEREO | 04’21 MIN

The video piece The Metamorphosis deals with the resonance of the eponymous Kafka text in different individuals. If language is a place of convention, where the individual is subordinate to both permanent and unnoticed correction by society, then this circumstance has to be investigated. The Metamorphosis seeks to explore the shift in meaning of the original text during the continuous exchange of reciters.

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Fairy Clocks
 

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Fairy Clocks is a generative animation based on a drawing by Peter Myers, an artist with Asperger’s Syndrome. The software investigates his method of drawing, often detailed, precise and repetitive, by the means of algorithms.

The piece was shown at the Tricks of the Psyche event at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre in London in 2006.

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Stoke Newington Media Arts School – Energy Project
 

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The permanent installation at Stoke Newington Media Arts School concludes a one year long research project carried out by the school’s pupils concerned with various aspects of the topic “Energy”. Forty-eight custom made light panels mounted onto the chimney of the school building are translating video and audio created by the pupils participating in the project into abstract patterns and animations of light.

The installation was a collaborative effort between Soda and the school’s pupils and staff, with additional electronics engineering undertaken by Shadowrobot. The launch event took place in October 2004.

The “Energy Project” was funded by ACE Creative Partnerships.

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Wels
 

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AT 2004 | PHOTO SERIES

Depending on what you are looking for, choose an area, a more or less densely populated town, a more or less lively street. Build a house. Furnish it. Make the best out of its appearance and its surrounding. Choose a season and an hour. Invite the most appropriate persons, provide music and alcoholic drinks. The lighting and the conversations should of course be in tune with the occasion, as should the weather or your memories.

If you made no mistake in your calculations, the outcome must be satisfactory for you.

The “Psychogeographic Game of the Week”, Guy Debord, first edition of the magazine ‘Potlatch’, Paris, June 22, 1954.

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Tryptichon
 

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Tryptichon was an audio-visual performance aiming to combine contemporary dance, psycho-geography and GPS technology. The project was realised in concert with Mukul Patel and Manu Luksch from AmbientTV.net.

Initial development of the project has been made possible by the Arts Council England, and in November 2003 Tryptichon was shown in its first version at the DMZ festival at Limehouse Town Hall, London.

The project’s framework then was extended, explored and further experimented with during a one-month residency at NIFCA (Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art) on the small Finnish island Suomenlinna. At the end of the residency the work was presented at the Pixelache 2004 festival, with a performance at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki.



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