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Open Frequency

Open Frequency is a curated online programme presenting new developments in contemporary art. Selected artists are nominated by key curators, writers and artists from across the UK. Recently profiled Scotland-based artists include Katy Dove, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, Camilla Low, Toby Paterson and Hayley Tompkins.

Open Frequency is a programme area of Axis, the arts council funded leading online resource for the contemporary art community.

Torsten Lauschmann

Torsten Lauschmann's The dust has come to stay, Photo: Torsten Lauschmann As an artist, filmmaker and live performer, Torsten Lauschmann celebrates glitches and out-takes, bits in between and images that might be easy to ignore.

Born in Bad Soden, Germany (1970), and now based in Glasgow, over the past decade his work has evolved beyond straight photography and film works to investigate the mechanics of digital processes, software creation, experimental editing, approaches to performance and the sculptural potential of video installation. He creates new software for mixing AV freely available to all, holds workshops and screenings on video art practices, and produces sites specifically for other new media practices.

His recent World Jump Day scam (as Professor Hans Peter Niesward from the Institute for Gravitational Physics in Munich) was the most talked about viral jam of 2005, encouraging scientists and bloggers from around the world to discuss the physics of World Jump Day's plan to shift the earth's orbit and reverse global warming.' Torsten Lauschmann's World Jump Day Website, Photo: Torsten Lauschmann

Neil Mulholland, Reader in Contemporary Theory at Edinburgh College of Art comments, 'Lauschmann is long overdue wider recognition for a diverse range of work reprocessed for a bewildering variety of venues and audiences. He has a playful approach to the use and misuse of digital technology in his practice which has been highly influential on his peers in Scotland. His great generosity has galvanized the Glasgow art world for many years.

Misshapen Pearl, 2003

Lauschmann is perhaps most widely known for his film 'Misshapen Pearl' (2003) - 'a phenomenological investigation of the streetlamp's function in our consumer society' - his contribution to Zenomap (2003), the premiere of Scotland's independent participation at the Venice Biennale.

'What is a Streetlamp? I only pay her my attention if she bugs me, or if her light is too intense, or defective, or missing, or like now, if I give her my attention by breaking through the accepted everyday. In every other situation the streetlamp is for me just part of that disrespected environment, which I take for granted and which was created to be disrespected'. (Lauschmann).

'Misshapen Pearl' (2003)', Sarah Lowndes writes, 'uses the conceit of filming street lights and neon signs in both daylight and under the cover of darkness as a metaphor for the way that consumerism shapes society. Adapted from Vileem Flusser's book Dinge und Undinge, the film creates a melancholic and strangely beautiful meditation on life in the city.

However, this is not to imply that Lauschmann advocates going back to nature, rather most of his work seems to explore the borders between technology and timelessness. For example, in his Transmission Gallery (Glasgow) installation 'Suburbia in 3D: Chasing Butterflies' (2004), a film of a park was projected on to a wall. Leafy branches were roughly taped to the gallery's pillars, and blown by a fan, generating rustling sounds to accompany a soundtrack of the real sounds of the park.

Torsten Lauschmann's Mother and child, Photo: Torsten Lauschmann

Similarly, Lauschmann's digital portrait of his sleeping partner and baby, 'Mother and Child' (2004) is a contradiction in terms: a moving still life. The religious symbolism of the image is undercut by the minute stirrings of the woman and child, breathing and blinking. (Lowndes, 2005).

Slender Whiteman, 2002

In summer 2002 Lauschmann embarked on a one-man trans-European busking tour and launched his solar powered dub system, under the guise of Slender Whiteman, his music-alter ego.

Lauschmann: 'I constructed a portable solar powered sound system influenced by Jamaican dancehall sound systems; it also powers a laptop, keyboard and midi-controller. This system was produced without public or private funding and money that is immediately generated by using it is done so in a relatively simple way. Torsten Lauschmann's Slender Whiteman live at the Matterhorn, Photo: Torsten Lauschmann

The aim is to travel around Europe playing the sound system to bring my own music (made with Absynth, Abelton Live, MAX/MSP) and other music which doesn't get supported by mainstream media into real public places, amongst people. Sometimes the system works more like a barrel organ, playing downloaded or recorded music; sometimes it is an instrument on which I play live compositions.'

Having overcome the various challenges set by creating a portable solar sound system (working out which parts are cheap, light and powerful enough to make enough noise, and finding the right gold paint for the speakers), one of the principle aims, he explains, was 'an attempt to bring music which the commercial media doesn't play in public places: I think the mainstream media totally underestimates peoples tastes in music. So I find it sad that even the majority of (professional) buskers play only Beatles and Oasis.

I performed my own tracks which are influenced by many genres like Dub, Glitch, Electro, Punk Rock, Bastard Pop and I also played recorded music by people which for me are total Pop Stars (this is meant as a compliment) like Pole, Hey O Hanson, Schlammpeitziger, Toots and the Maytals, Farben and Akufen... Torsten Lauschmann's Postcard for Slender Whiteman Project, Photo: Torsten Lauschmann

In general, people reacted very positive about the music and especially about the fact that it was solar powered. At times I had two people in front of me listening and, what is a common laptop problem, twenty people behind me watching what was happening on the screen.'

An online version of the tour, Slenderville, developed in collaboration with NIFCA, enabled visitors to communicate with him throughout the tour. From this, Lauschmann continually fed back and offered a stream of updated information.

Cold Water Quartet, 2003

Audio-visual live quartet founded in 2003 by Lauschmann and three cold water fish. 'Single Fish' on Bass, 'Special Fish' on Piano, 'Animal' on drums and additional sounds and beats by Lauschmann.

Torsten Lauschmann's Cold Water Quartet, Photo: Torsten Lauschmann The Quartet has been performing alongside distinctive composers and bands like Pete Dowling, Uncle John & Whitelock and My Latest Novel. At the 51st Venice Biennale the Quartet performed in front of a perplexed crowd on a Bloomer and Keogh's 'Binboat', a boat made out of bins, a washing machine and a bath.

Egoburger, 2005

A quarterly online magazine, featuring the sweetest Egos in art, music and film from Scotland and beyond. The first issue was launched in December 2005. Originally commissioned by the CCA, Glasgow and published by Torsten Lauschmann.


Torsten Lauschmann studied Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art and Media Art at HfG Karlsruhe (ZKM). Since graduating in 1997 he has been exhibiting and performing his artwork/videos/music/software in the UK and internationally

Torsten Lauscmann's WUNST, Phot: Torsten Lauschmann This includes regular music/DJ collaborative projects in Glasgow (Idealhome, Elbowwobble, Horseplay, Das Booty), and is a founding member of the German Club/Art Organisation Vene Hammerschlag.

Solo shows and performances include Transmission Gallery, Glasgow and Independent Studio, Glasgow (2004), Repetition/Nonsense 1997-2002, Wackerfabrik, Darmstadt and Pistolas Sexuales, Catalyst Gallery, Glasgow (2002).

Recent group shows including Radio Days, De Appel, Amsterdam, Festival Video, Parisud Gallery, Paris Risk, CCA, Glasgow, Frieze Art Fair (2005) and Electric Earth, a British Council touring exhibition in South America, Chile, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Russia throughout 2004.

In 2003 he was selected for Zenomap, the Scottish Participation at the Venice Biennale. In 2000 Lauschmann undertook a New Media Scotland Moving Image Commission. The resulting work, 01game+01 application, was shortlisted for the Archibald Campbell and Harley Photography Prize, and he received a BAFTA nomination for his video work 'Remember things before they happen'.

His film and video work has been exhibited in many places, including Kunstadapter Wiesbaden, Germany 2000;B16, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 1999; Belfast Film Festival, 2000; Frankfurt Art Fair, 2001; Gallery De March-Solbiati, Milan, 2001; Recontres Film Festival, France, 2001; Transmediale, Berlin, 2002; South London Gallery, Pro Forma, London and Pilot, London, 2004.

Torsten Lauschmann was also nominated for Open Frequency by Chris Evans and Sarah Lowndes.

Related Links
* Open Frequency
* World Jump Day
* Transmission Gallery
* Egoburger Magazine
* Glasgow School of Art
* Fruitmarket Gallery
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