You’re probably very familiar with the photographic work of German artist Wolfgang Tillmans. Earlier this year, the Tate Modern held a vast exhibition of the photographer’s work and in the year 2000, he was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize. You may not, however, be as familiar with his music or sound design displayed in a recently released record by the artist following his exhibition, There was 30 years between 1943 and 1973, 30 years from 1973 was the year 2003, at The Kunstverein in Hamburg.
The exhibition consisted of a 35-minute sound installation which took the exhibition’s inner-city context as its starting point. Operating in conjunction with several photographic and video works, the installation transformed the gallery space into a “single cinematic whole”.
Now that the exhibition is over, The Kunstverein has released the 35-minute sound work Hamburg Süd / Nee IYaow eow eow as a CD via Fragile Records, accompanied by a booklet featuring exhibition views and short snippets of text all designed by Wolfgang.
Hamburg Süd / Nee IYaow eow eow is an amalgamation of electronic manipulations of the photographer’s own voice, made to sound “choral, guttural and absurd which are mixed with a kind of sung evocation of the four directions of the compass – to which the exhibition hall is almost exactly aligned". Wolfgang’s “duet partner” is Hamburg-born singer Billie Ray Martin, who provides the counterpart voice. Throughout the track long periods of silence are embedded so listeners can hear the noise of two routes of traffic, Hamburg’s central railway station and Klosterwall one of the city’s main thoroughfares, between which The Kunstverein is located.
Further Listening, the second part of the CD, includes experimental solo pieces, collaborations and two works that were previously released last year: Make It Up As You Go Along and Device Control, which was included as a guest contribution on Endless, Frank Ocean’s 2016 visual album.
The first track from Further Listening, can be seen below in a video which switches between close-up shots of leaves moving slowly in a breeze and what appears to be tarpaulin attached to a scaffolding frame. An echoing voice can be heard making statements such as, “rebuild the future, rebuild the now”, which repeats again and again only changing its intonation every two or three sentences.
The CD and booklet were released last week (17 November) and you can listen to the full 35-minutes here.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.