+42.60 | Space in Space

Published by Akademie Schloss Solitude, Mutations journal, 2021


Concept: Lucas Gutierrez and Robert Lippok
Video: Lucas Gutierrez
Composition: Robert Lippok
Text: Natalie Koerner


+42.60 is an artistic reading of an architectural project by Lucas Gutierrez and Robert Lippok. Digital artist Lucas Gutierrez and sound artist Robert Lippok imagine further mutations and transformations of a tower that used to house the former GDR graphite factory, EB Elektrokohle Lichtenberg. Parts of this building complex have already been transformed by the architect Arno Brandlhuber in collaboration with Georg Diez, Nikolai von Rosen, and Christopher Roth. Their project San Gimignano Lichtenberg converts the remaining industrial towers into studios to generate an architectural catalyst for the surrounding urban fabric.


Space in Space 

Graphite in Space
Apparently, graphite has a greasy feel. Greasy like billions of years of history, whose traces you cannot quite wash off. Graphite is literally used in lubricants. It’s one of the three most ancient minerals in the universe. Far beyond our temporal horizon, graphite emerged from the explosion cloud of a supernova or from the discarded outer layers of near-death, small- to average-sized stars. Then at some point it must have been swirling about in a giant interstellar molecular cloud out of which, following gravitational collapse, our solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. During the Big Bang and its aftermath, graphite made its way onto Planet Earth, and more recently settled into pencils and electrodes. Under high pressure and exposure to heat, the mineral transforms into diamond. So, if some of the epic energy events that shaped our planet had mutated in slightly alternate ways, our (now) blue planet might have been – or maybe it is still becoming – a sparkling one. Or, thinking in the opposite direction of minimum pressure, it might have been an interstellar cloud.

Space like waterfall
Now the soundscape changes and begins to rush through the void like a waterfall. Spatially, this tower could contain a waterfall. Around forty meters is also the height of the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at Singapore airport, the Rain Vortex. It looks like a rain hurricane stopped in its tracks, forced to stand still. The space taken up by a waterfall is as inaccessible as a void (or an empty tower), unless
you can defy gravity, like a salmon with its unstoppable reproduction instincts. For the salmon, the river is a kind of extended threshold: the ocean at one end, and at the other, the place where the salmon hatched, will spawn, and will die. It’s not a threshold that begins in one place and ends in another. Instead, it’s rather like a loop.
Similarly, as I am immersing myself further in the digital tower, I am guided along several loops–up- and downward, past coils of neon light, through foliage, and into a grassy patch with thin long leaves that emerge from the black bottom of the void in looping squiggles.

Space like a ghost
There it is, the tower object, closed up and complete, as if it were finished and final. Just like the beech leaves we encountered on our way down through the void, which were absolute and sealed, in contrast to the permeable point cloud perimeters. The tower’s inner life of light tails, surreally tall beech trees and grass breaking through mossy rock, now seems like an imaginary memory. From this new distant view, the tower might be like a ghost coagulating around a point cloud of phantom graphite particles, workers, political realities, objects we no longer know, and unimaginable energy events billions of years ago. Some of these traces leave persistent marks, like graphite powder that nestles firmly into the finest pores.

Performance, modular synthesizers, percussion instruments, fog machine 

Group show, Festival of Futures Nows, Institut für Raumexperimente, Hamburger Bahnhof, 2017
Choreographed by Sven Beckstette, Natalie Keppler, Christina Werner

Robert Lippok’s artistic practice includes working with found objects to create sound. For the performance Varieties of Impact, Lippok collected plant material, stones and building material in the immediate vicinity of Hamburger Bahnhof. These were combined with a modular synthesizer and a fog machine to create a dense sound field. The fog machine was recorded with a microphone and the sound created by the pressure on the outlet nozzle was amplified and manipulated.
Using techniques such as granular synthesis – combining the smallest sound particles with large formal structures were layered and condensed into clusters. The altered sounds were played through a four-channel sound system located above the playing area.


Festival of Future Nows

‘The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.’ (James A. Baldwin)

The second edition of the Festival of Future Nows is taking place during Berlin Art Week 2017 at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. This year’s cooperation between the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Olafur Eliasson and his Institut für Raumexperimente e.V. – as with the festival’s first edition in 2014 – brings together different works by over 100 international artists.

Over a four-day period, a dense cloud of creative energy and spontaneity will erupt and break free like a Berlin punk-opera-weather-condition, passing by and hovering over Hamburger Bahnhof. The festival program invites a young and diverse crowd to engage with the unpredictable nature of performance, action, music, interventions, dance, experiments, movement and perception exercises. Spontaneous choreographies, musical disruptions and overlooked encounters invite various forms of audience participation happening at flash-mob-like speed. Individual projects take place in parallel or overlap. The deliberate abundance forces visitors to take a nonlinear route through the festival. The principle of ‘density and diversity’ is applied purposefully. The Festival of Future Nows 2017 brings together an experimental and inspiring mix of emerging practitioners interspersed with some more renowned artists under the banner of ‘The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.’