Re-Play. Timo Kahlen: 21 'vanished' works of net art, 2005-2023. © Timo Kahlen / VG Bild-Kunst 2023. All rights reserved.
Re-Play: 21 vanished works of net art
Timo Kahlens interactive film & interactive sound
February 1 - July 31, 2023
From 2005 to 2020, sound sculptor and media artist Timo Kahlen (born 1966, based in Berlin) published 21 works of net art: interactive,
thrillingly tangible film and sound projections on the world wide web. All of these 21 works have vanished, have become muted and blind,
invisible and inaudible with the end of browser support for Flash on January 1, 2021.
They have now been revived: recoded and made visible, audible and tangible once again with some glitches and drop-outs, and a bit
of sonic tumult and difference to the originals Refurbished archaeological objects of interactive media art if you will restored for
Press Release / Descriptions of 21 works (PDF download)
Experience the works - always live and always different, in real time -
with your mouse cursor, at your own pace and with your own timing.
Please, turn on your speakers or put on your headphones.
All of the interactive film & sound projections are generated absolutely live: reacting to the position,
the direction and/or speed of your cursor hovering above, clicking at or pausing on the touch-sensitive,
tangible visual surface as you explore and trigger invisible, complex and multiple layers of sound,
noise and vibration embedded in the objects. Allowing for subtle sonic and visual experiences,
and individual compositions, as you become part of the work.
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/sounddrift/ (Sound Drift, 2005 in collaboration with Ian Andrews)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/audiodust/ (Audio Dust, 2011)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/in-medias-res/ (in medias res, 2020)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/source/ (source (postfactual), 2017)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/numbers/ (Numbers, 2011 or 2013)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/compatible/ (YesNo, 2011; re-released 2016)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/drama/ (Drama, 2011)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/mistakes/ (The Essence of Art, 2016)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/dioden/ (Diodenzwitschern, 2006)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/rohschnitt/ (Rohschnitt, 2016)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/signal/ (Signal-To-Noise, 2011)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/insignificant/ (insignificant, 2020)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/articulate/ (articulate, 2018)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/unstable/ (unstable, 2017)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/delete/ (Undo/Delete, 2011)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/fromscratch/ (From Scratch, 2011)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/ping/ (ping tschä tschä, 2005)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/carpe/ (Carpe Diem, 2011)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/ur/ (UR, 2006)
http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/error/ (error, 2020)
All works documented here collection and courtesy of ZKM I Karlsruhe,
Cornell University, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Ruine der Künste Berlin,
and the artist. Revived with Ruffle.rs. Sound Drift (2005) created in collaboration
with Sydney-based artist Ian Andrews. © Timo Kahlen/ VG Bild-Kunst 2005 - 2023.
For your interest: A documentary video of
Kahlens works of Net Art 2005 - 2020 (24:24 min,
stereo) is available at https://vimeo.com/441602551
Sound Drift, 2005
Generative sound and film projection in collaboration
with Ian Andrews, Sydney
Sound Drift (2005) by Timo Kahlen (Berlin) and Ian Andrews (Sydney) allows the viewer to meander through
a series of exhibition spaces that contain floating, drifting, interactive clouds filled with the pulsing, twittering,
hissing, dirty static noise of interfering radio waves. Each of the interactive clouds - when clicked at - leads to
one of the next rooms. Conceived as a site-specific work for the gallery space at the Ruine der Künste Berlin
- roughly re-modelled by Kahlen from recycled cardboard and photographed, then embedded with Andrews
complex sound and graphic clusters in Sydney, and re-transferred to the exhibition space in Berlin, via internet
and modem - and simultaneously published online as a generative work of net art, Sound Drift shows the
transparent volume of air of the assumingly empty exhibition space to be already full of information, full of
data and sound. The interactive work is generated - always different and live - as the viewers mouse cursor
navigates across, pauses or clicks at the responsive surface of the visual projections.
Architektur durchdringende Klangwolken
gurgelnder, zwitschernder, knirschender, singender Klang interferierender Radiowellen
Audio Dust, 2011
Interactive film and
The interactive film and sound projection Audio Dust (2011) addresses the difficult technical process of
recording sounds. Dusty, scratchy, only partially decipherable noise and acoustic fragments directly linked to
the recording process have become entangled in the furry windshield of a microphone, have left multiple sonic
traces in its tentacles. Static and moving fragments of sound embedded in the object form humming, whirring,
buzzing and rustling microcosms that the viewer triggers by touching, hovering above or clicking on the soft,
furry surface with the mouse cursor. Windjammer, poodle or deadcat: the windbreak made of long-haired fur,
which allows microphone recordings even in extreme wind conditions, has many names in the jargon of
sound engineers. Timo Kahlen takes the image of filtering noise as the starting point for his interactive sound
work. Audio Dust makes audible all the ambient and background noise that a windbreak usually absorbs.
Our attention shifts from the microphone to the residues ofnoise caught in the thicket of the fur (Julia Gerlach,
ZKM Karlsruhe 2012).
The soft, round fur object whirs, hums and crackles. As soon as the viewers mouse cursor touches the sounds
embedded in the interactive surface of the image projection, it creates a composition of seductively beautiful
incidental and disturbing noise: generated by the viewer at that moment, always live and always different,
depending on the position, speed and direction of the cursors movements, or intentional pauses, with which
the viewer chooses to interact with the object.
Installation view at Sound Art: Sound as a Medium of Art,
ZKM Karlsruhe 2012. Photo: Steffen Harms
© ZKM I Karlsruhe
In the reconstructed version on view in 2023, due to glitch, drop-outs and incompatibility, some elements of fine(r)
graphic detail in the center of the object have been lost - irrevocably.
in medias res, 2020
Interactive film and
Digital warmth, emotion and closeness are deceptive. Right there, in the midst of everything thats currently happening,
virtually in medias res, and yet at the verge, physically isolated and distant. Created in times of pandemic lockdown,
of home office and social distancing. The interactive work of net art was generated live, as the viewers own cursor explored
visual clusters of other cursors, paused or clicked at the touch-sensitive surface of the visual projection embedding sound
and unexpected movement. Timo Kahlens interactive sound / net art work in medias res (2020) was visible and audible
at www.staubrauschen.de/in-medias-res/ during times of lockdown due to the spread of the Covid pandemic. In 2021 and 2022,
the work became invisible due to the end of browser support for Flash on January 1, 2021.
/source/ (postfactual), 2017
Interactive film and
Change of values ? /source/ (postfactual), 2017 invites the viewer to search for reliable sources, for valid facts and
nodes of information on the Internet. A seemingly void, monochrome white surface is all it shows; and frustrates the viewer
with a mouse cursor, which is difficult to locate, to control and to direct, as isolated potential facts pop up in interaction
with the cursor: appearing but distorted, head-over and uncomfortably remote, as if projected onto the reverse side
of the computer screen. The alternating objects are accompanied by outbursts of sound and bustle, only to be quenched
and extinguished shortly afterwards. The interactive work of net art is composed of multiple embedded layers of sound
woven into a touch-sensitive visual projection. It is generated by the viewer live, and always different -, depending on
the relative position, movement and speed, on eventual pauses or on changes in direction of the mouse cursor, as
the viewers attention meanders across the touch-sensitive visual projection. Search, roll over, pause or click at the
empty white surface of the computer display with the mouse cursor, to discover and discard potential facts in real-time.
Released on January 20, 2017 or later. According to rumors, however, the work was already visible and audible before.
This is alternatively true. Published on Digital America. Honorary mention at the prize question Whats the Net Listening To ?
(Junge Akademie Berlin, Leopoldina and ZKM I Karlsruhe), 2017.
Numbers, 2011 or 2013
projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/numbers/
Thank God! At least, in the midst of all the financial crisis and accelerating digital change, its numbers
that we can rely on, numbers that will be safe and sound. The interactive work of net art Numbers was created
in 2011, or possibly in 2013. In fact, numbers seem to lose their rigidity and integrity in this interactive work of net art,
as they twitch and dissolve when touched by the cursor.
of frozen net art at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/compatible/
Are we still compatible with the technological and political systems we live in ? Or in need of a change ?
Yes. No. Maybe. Search, investigate, roll over and click at the seemingly indifferent, inactive, frozen
monochrome surface of the monitor with the mouse cursor to generate multiple layers of embedded
sound and text. A carefully designed, stuck webpage. Reluctant and with no answers provided.
Interactive film loop
A virtual reanimation of an insect - lying on its back. A miniature Drama (2011), an emotional visual metaphor:
the individuals struggle at the borderline of life and death, with various and chance-generated endings, triggered by
the viewers, as they play the interactive film loop again and again. The silent interactive film, approximately twelve seconds
long, is closely related to Kahlens kinetic sound sculptures Tanz für zwei Fliegen (Dance for Two Flies, 2005) and
Tanz für Insekten (Dance for Insects, 2010): here, several insects - found dead (objets trouvés) - pulse, float and dance
on the membranes of loudspeakers.
The Essence of Art, 2016
Interactive film and sound projection
The essence of art is to make mistakes. Trust me, Im an artist. A conceptual and personal exploration of
the essence of art. Explore the handwritten text, touch and investigate objects with the cursor, click at, roll-over or pause
to generate your individual and interactive, live reading of the work. Take your time. The interactive sound and film projection
The Essence of Art (2016) is generated from multiple layers of embedded sound and visual notations.
m i g r t a i o n, 2016
Interactive text and sound
projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/migrtaion/
m i g r t a i o n (2016) is an interactive text and sound projection RFLCTEING MIGRTAION. It is based on
the disrupted, broken melodic sound of a merry-go-round music box - and the isolated letters of a short text,
that dissolves and replaces itself, generating new meaning, as the mouse cursor rolls over or clicks at the
hand-written, transitive letters. Roll over and/or click with the mouse cursor to generate the sound of displacement,
and to read between the lines. First published on Digital America.
Interactive proposal for site-specific sound installation,
Nominated for the German Sound Art Prize 2006,
Diodenzwitschern is Kahlens proposal for a permanent sound installation in public space: consisting of a site-specific
four channel audio composition with sculptural, ring-shaped speaker elements encircling the stems and branches of trees
in proximity to the Skulpturenmuseum in Marl. Intimate sounds, based on the utterances of a nightingale recorded directly
on site, permutate from speaker to speaker, from tree to tree. The song of the local nightingale - a bird known for its
amazing ability to imitate complex sounds of its immediate environment - has been dissected, reorganized and carefully
reshaped, creating a soundscape that seems synthetic and mechanic, yet strangely represents and refers to its origin
in nature. The proposal, presented to the jury of the German Sound Art Prize 2006, is a generative, virtual model of
the installation. Its variable acoustic composition is generated - always live and differing - as the mouse cursor
moves across, pauses or clicks at the touch-sensitive surface of the consecutive visual projections. Originally
published at http://www.staubrauschen.de/dioden/
Nachtigall (Luscinia magarh.): Unscheinbar braunes Gefieder. Gesang aus schmetternden, schluchzenden,
ziehenden Strophen, streng gegliedert
Interactive sound and film
projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/rohschnitt/
Rohschnitt (Rough Cut, 2016) is a virtual and hybrid, rough cut cardboard model of an exhibition space filled with
an interactive, complex archive of sound, noise and vibration. The sounds embedded in the room represent sounds
recorded when constructing the model from scratch, from cardboard and paper, and when reworking the model and
sounds on the computer: raw, rough sounds of drawing, cutting, creasing, folding, ripping, copying, pasting and reediting;
acoustic fragments of an artists work in progress. The online work was specifically created for the sound art exhibition
Hörschwelle at the project space of Deutscher Künstlerbund in Berlin. Base to the interactive work is the small-scale
cardboard model, approximately equivalent to the specific exhibition space and its sequence of rooms; photographed
and filled with (analog and digital) acoustic and material debris, with the tools and sculptural studio work still in place.
Rohschnitt is a site-specific conceptual work of sound art, short-listed for the Schloss-Post web residency #2
at Schloss Solitude, Germany 2016; and first exhibited at Hörschwelle, Deutscher Künstlerbund, Berlin 2016.
The generative film projection embeds multiple layers of hidden, static and moving interfaces. Touch and explore
objects with the cursor, click at or pause to generate your individual composition of noise and beauty written into
the exhibition space.
Schneiden, falzen, kleben, reißen. Ein Raum und der Klang seiner Entstehung
Interactive film and sound
projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/signal/
The interactive work Signal-To-Noise (2011) relates to the history of recording media, to the Vinyl LP. An analog
object, covered with scratches, with dirt, and embedded fragments of sound is seen rotating in space. The work
emphasizes the unintentional mistake, the glitches, the deviation from the technical norm, in the difficult process
of recording and playing back acoustic signals. What can be heard, as the viewer generates multiple layers of sound
from invisible interfaces hidden beneath the flash projection of the scratched and ruptured rotating surface, is a grinding,
dirty, dusty static noise, which leaves little room for the desired acoustic signal itself. The unbalanced signal-to-noise-ratio
of what is desired and what is recorded, is the works main principle of design.
In the reconstructed version on view in 2023, three essential graphic layers in the center of the object have
been lost - irrevocably.
Interactive text and sound
projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/insignificant/
insignificant (2020) presents objects too small and too insignificant to be noticed. Yet all decisive.
Unexpected buzzing, humming, whirring, rising and dying layers of tangible sound and vibration are
generated as viewers touch the hand-written text with the cursor.
Interactive text and
sound projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/articulate/
Articulate (2018) presents an uncensored dialogue. Pure sound. Enter the dialogue. Go play, and value your freedom
of speech. In fact, its quite difficult to be articulate. The work is generated as viewers move their mouse cursor, roll over,
pause or click at the sensitive surface of the hand-written letters on the screen, thereby activating multiple embedded
layers of generative fragments of sound. Meaningful. Unintelligible. Poetic.
Due to error, glitch and incompatibility, in the reconstructed version on view in 2023, the sounds generated
now seem to pile up, to loop and to get out of control a bit too quickly.
Interactive film and
sound projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/unstable/
An exploration of unstable media, in 2017. The viewers cursor seems to lose control of the game that is being played.
No obvious rules seem to persist. The viewer does generate minimal visual marks and acoustic incidents, yet these seem to
avoid and flee the presence of the cursor on a blank and void white monitor. The frustrating and interactive work of net art
is generated - always live - as the viewers modified cursor moves across, pauses or clicks at the responsive surface of
the monochrome visual projection.
interactive net art
Create and save - or discard and delete ? In Undo / Delete (2011), the viewers interaction, once again, triggers but minimalistic,
short-lived visual marks and acoustic incidents on a white webpage: generating virtual objects that seem to flee and to avoid
the presence of the mouse cursor, popping up in the wrong places, and immediately vanishing thereafter, with a bustle of harsh
sounds - acoustic traces of an analog process of undoing and revising, of erasing, ripping and crumbling, of deleting and discarding
bits and pieces of information, of concepts and visions sketched down on paper, archived and hidden on the blank monitor page,
invisible to the eye.
The reconstructed version on view in 2023 differs significantly from the monochrome white, blank original.
From Scratch, 2011
and sound projection
The artist once again walking and recording on thin ice: as an homage to the fragility and frailty of all life. The fragility
of a ruptured, frozen surface of water, its acoustic and sensual quality (and short-lived existence) has inspired a number
of the artists works (who, himself, was shipwrecked near the Galapagos islands in the Pacific in 1980): including
sound installations like Breaking Ground (2008, in Orvieto, Italy), the photographic series of Schmelze (Melting, 2011),
the audio miniature Bits & Pieces for Radius (Chicago, 2011) and the interactive film and sound projection From Scratch,
published at www.staubrauschen.de/fromscratch/ in 2011. In the interactive work of net art, viewers encounter splintering,
crunching, slushing, cascading sequences of sound and vibration as their own mouse cursor meanders across a touch-
sensitive visual projection of a fragile, ruptured surface of thin ice.
Due to error, glitch, incompatibility and the fragility of the original file, in the reconstructed version on view in 2023,
the sounds and images generated have been chosen to be a variation of the original work.
ping tschä tschä, 2005
Interactive sound and
film projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/ping/
In ping tschä tschä we hear birds chirping and singing, are immersed in the natural soundscape of the work
- until we slowly realize the setting to be strangely distorted, fragmented and manipulated, somehow mechanical
and remote. Kahlens early interactive film and sound projection ping tschä tschä (2005) embeds scientific,
ornithological descriptions and digital, synthetic sounds closely imitating birds voices in the image of a wood.
Viewers generate their individual and live composition of natural sound as they explore the image, move their
cursor across, hover or click at the visual projection. ping tschae tschae was installed at the Ruine der Künste
Berlin, and simultaneously published online, in 2005. The work alludes to a process of a scientific and exact,
mimetic, yet strangely abstract and fragmentary acoustic re-creation of nature. The utterances of birds and
their descriptions have been of interest to the artist ever since his very first works of sound art in 1988.
zewidewit zizidäh - dü hüitt - trijet tret tret tret - ping tschä tschä - dschü - tschjak - tetui tic tic tic - hiiüp
Carpe Diem, 2011
Interactive sound and
film projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/carpe/
An image of vanitas, a ripe yellow fruit (a quince), showing the first signs of deterioration, decomposition
and mold, is at the base of the work Carpe Diem (2011). The soft, fragile surface of the object embeds
and encloses particles of organic noise and vibration: activated by the viewer as he maneuvers the mouse
cursor across the resonant object. The soundscape and acoustic composition of the work is generated
- always different and live - at the pace chosen by the individual viewer: as the mouse rolls over, hesitates
and hovers above, or clicks at the responsive surface of the visual projection. The interactive work of net
art is closely related to Emission (2009 - 2020), a series of digital photographs of a quince with first signs
of mold and minimal graphic inscriptions.
die Quitte rauscht und knistert eingebetteter Klang
and film projection at http://www.staubrauschen.de/re-play/ur/
In UR (2006) surfaces and vessels become the containers for unwanted noise and dirt
generated by technological media and communication. Bits and pieces of grinding, creaking,
humming sounds and white noise create complex microcosms, generated by viewers when
they touch or click, hover and pause, approach or roll over the given visual containers with
their mouse cursor. The multi-part interactive film and sound projection is based on an
extensive archive of Noise & Beauty: of recordings of ephemeral, interfering radio waves
in between radio stations, of audio dust, of static and noise, which the artist has
been compiling since 1987 until today.
/ error /, 2020
Interactive film and sound projection
Only for a small moment in time, at the end of the first pandemic year of Covid-19, in times of home office
and social distancing , of sluggish screen work and accelerated digitalization, of video conferences, online
lectures and virtual meetings avoiding all personal contact or physical closeness, in times of temporary setups
and breakdowns, of server overload, of transmission errors and time delays, of broken personal links and
denied accesses to shared files, Timo Kahlens interactive net art work / error / (2020) marked a critical reflection
of our current use of new online media: focussing on the susceptibility to errors and to technological failure, and on
our personal isolation and loss of control. It was a subtle (and short-lived) generative work of art that could be seen
and heard and touched only with the mouse cursor (our dominant tool in these times of remote contact) and was,
in fact: as frustrating and as difficult to grasp as reality itself.
The conceptual, time-specific work error (2020) could be seen only for one day: on December 31, 2020
before the end of browser support for Flash on January 1, 2021 made it unreadable forever, invisible and inaudible
like all of Timo Kahlens other works of net art. Four weeks later, all works created by using the Flash program
had virtually disappeared from the web. An offline version of /error/ was presented to the ZKM Center for
Art and Media in Karlsruhe, but on the internet itself it left a blank space, an absence.
This should not happen. Error 404.
media archaeological artefacts
Objekte der Medienarchäologie
© Timo Kahlen / VG Bild-Kunst 2023. All rights reserved.