Kontraste 2013

Kontraste presents cutting-edge sonic and audiovisual experiments, contemporary music and related art forms in a thematic, historical and interdisciplinary context. The comprehensive programme offers a unique festival experience with unconventional concerts, live performances, installations, lectures, screenings and presentations that explore a broad range of fields and practices. Kontraste benefits from its special regional setting and location, and presents a strong international line-up. The festival highlights the characteristics of its main venue, the medieval church, Minoritenkirche Krems. The Kontraste festival Dark As Light took place from 10 to 13 October 2013 in and around Krems with a compelling programme of cutting-edge films, concerts, installations, an illustrated lecture, and a publication.

With Dark As Light Kontraste aspired to the heavens and directed our gaze upward, from the dark to the light, in full contrast. The vertical architecture and the high narrow windows of the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche – the main venue of Kontraste – was the perfect venue for the world première of Vertical Cinema. Ten groups of avant-garde filmmakers, musicians and visual artists were commissioned to make a new film for a new format. The films were printed on 35 mm celluloid and projected vertically by means of a specially developed projection set-up. Vertical Cinema was site-specific cinema, cinema attuned to the architecture of the church. The films re-imagined what cinema can be when conventions such as horizontal orientation are discarded. Vertical Cinema takes its inspiration from the legacy of experimental film, which has always been a driving force for new artistic forms and content. It rotates cinema 90 degrees, deliberately going against prevailing trends in contemporary film. It not only breaks with the horizontal orientation of film but also with the fact that film is now all-digital and should be easy to consume on as many different platforms as possible. Vertical Cinema proposes a beyond-digital, transversal future for film. Other facets of the programme also emphasise ‘the vertical’; rising up from the dark into the light. Spire is a programme that combines the church organ, the emperor of all instruments, with electronic music. The organ is pre-eminently the instrument to praise the higher powers; its long pipes guiding our gaze upwards. It was also by far the loudest and most powerful instrument prior to electrical amplification. In its technical complexity the organ is a forerunner of the synthesiser and electronic music. With a mix of new and old, composed and improvised pieces spire renews this age-old organ tradition in the church St. Stephan in Mautern. The installation Volume by Franz Pomassl (Kraftwerk Theiß) connects to resonance of a specific space. OFF - 3Hz by Finnbogi Petursson (Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche) refers to the state of mind when body and brain wake up from non-REM sleep into a new day. Morton Subotnick and Thomas Ankersmit put the analogue synthesiser in the spotlight. The pioneering synthesiser composer Subotnick takes us on a journey From Silver Apples of the Moon to a Sky of Cloudless Sulphur. Ankersmit’s sound explorations are set against the almost imperceptibly oscillating drones of Phill Niblock, which ascend unto “big clouds of sound”. Catherine Christer Hennix & The Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage create a truly transcendental listening experience. The subtle microtonal drone, meticulously tuned to the performing space, opens a portal to a different space and time, rising up out to the stars, from which we are made.

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