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elevator music
by wolfgang temmel

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elevator music
by wolfgang temmel

elevator music & room to move (2001-2002)

I have an elevator and it is a sound machine. A simple elevator on the outside of the house where I live connects the top floor with the one below. I have neglected servicing it and so in the course of time its initially quiet operating sounds have evolved into sharp grating ones which become even louder at low temperatures. The speed at which the elevator moves up and down slows to a crawl at temperatures below freezing, and so the sounds also slow to long screeching noises. Weather-dependent slow motion music and what is more, unplugged. Two sound pieces - elevator up and elevator down - are the point of departure, the raw material for the piece elevator music.

elevator music is not, however, just an acoustic piece. To complement the sounds, there are images - a visual track to the sound track, as it were - , video recordings of the 4 walls of the elevator shaft, of the vertical movement during the elevator ride, a recorded vertical cut through the house. And then there are images from video recordings of car rides through road tunnels from my project tunnel, which I have been working on since 1994 - tunnels as places in whose interiors the same light and temperatures always prevail.

Elevators and tunnels have one thing in common: they exist to get us from A to B and vice versa. In both these spaces speed is of immanent significance and to come to a standstill inside them is the last thing we want.

Wolfgang Temmel, who was born in 1953, has worked in a wide variety of media and art forms; he has spent much time in New York and London, and now lives in Wies, Styria.

With and through diverse projects, - such as "A Collection of Angels", New York 1980, "Heartbeats", Ars Electronica Linz, 1989, the production of the CD "Stille Post no.1", 1991, "Am Arsch der Welt" (At the Back of Beyond), Radio ORF 1995 and several soundworks of the group E.A.R. (Ensemble Acoustic Resource) which Temmel founded 1991, such as "Symphony Nr.1 - Albertina" , Grafische Sammlung Albertina & ORF Kunstradio, Vienna 1991, or "The Judenburg Project" , Judenburg, Austria 1999 (with Norbert Math), - "works" staggered in time and space have recurrently emerged via distributed or interlinked authorship processes. Rather than as objects of art, these works are intended to reflect the very processes which are their respective points of focus. In producing these works, Temmel creates temporary systems based on these contexts and mechanisms, which he then takes up, retraces and incorporates into each work: the resulting art "spaces" are not reproducible and are only partially deducible from the finished "product" (video, book, installation, radio piece, CD, etc.). The forms of dialogue, the interplay of intentions and coincidences, and the events themselves are what give each project its own framework without fully defining it.