Jetzt is a chronological deconstruction of Max Bense’s poem with the same title. Meaning “in the now”, it may also be translated as “so far”, “up to now”, “but now”, “hence” and so on. Bense refers to the fact that the spoken word JETZT never reaches the point of what is denominated with “in the now” – the moment you say it out loud, it is already gone. The poem is a play on words as well as an acute insight on the structure of German language. The work uses Markov chains to generate text strings that are smashed into sound particles. They are stretched and shrunk on a time axis and enter into a relationship with each other – “in the now” – performed by a synthetic artificial female voice. Jetzt is published in an audio-only format and as an audiovisual piece.
The audiovisual version of Jetzt is a one-take recording performed at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology of the Zurich University of the Arts. The connection between music and visuals progresses through different relationships, with control parameters for sound synthesis occasionally affecting the image generation, and spoken words becoming periodic attractors for the moving graphical elements.