General description

“Arnulf Rainer for digital performers” is an installation that reenact the Peter Kubelka's film: Arnulf Rainer. This experimental film is based on a composition of black and white frames that creates a stroboscopic rhythm formed by the essence of the cinematic image: light and its variations. In order to achieve his aesthetic intention, Peter Kubelka designed a score that was impressed on the film to be executed by the cinematograph. “Arnulf Rainer for digital performers” is based on a software that analyzes and remakes the Kubelka's composition in the real time, in order to extract the color (black or white) for each frame. After this process, that is ran on the main computer (director), the status is sent to a devices ensemble (players) to perform the composition. As well as in a concert, each of these digital systems interprets the commands suggested by the director, by means of its own technical qualities. The aesthetic properties of each medium emerges, underlining its own identity, in opposition to their usual function of contents provider.

Conceptual framework

Arnulf Rainer made by Peter Kubelka is one of the most significant film in the context of experimental cinema and particularly of the Structural Film. The aesthetic achieved by this film deconstructs the potential representational quality. For this reason the technical essence of the medium emerges. There is no content, the film just represents itself. Indeed, in the minimal image composed by monochromatic white and black frames, it is possible to observe some physical impurities on the film, like scratches and dust. These elements emphasize the identity of the cinematographic medium: the film itself and the cinematograph that run the process.
Peter Kubelka designed the frames sequence as a composition spread in the time, like musical scores are made. This suggest the performative nature of mechanical as well as electronic and digital systems. Media are actors that perform the fiction of representation. As every performer, they carry out an interpretation of a composition, but they can never avoid to show their own technical, and therefore aesthetic qualities. However the development of media technologies, is going in the opposite direction. The urge to increase the quality of the representation, attempts to hide the presence and identity of the medium, in order to achieve a more real fiction.

Arnulf Rainer for digital performers, concert version

“Arnulf Rainer for digital performers” aims to underline the performative aspect of digital systems, and the differences that emerge from the execution of the same process/score by various devices. The formal differences with the original, analog version of Peter Kubelka come out, as well as the different interpretation of diverse technical systems does. For instance, various models of monitors will have a different behavior, considering their specificities: brightness, refresh rate, etc. “Arnulf Rainer for digital performers” does not represent any given content, it just express the performative process, where a computer analyzes a score and suggest the execution to others devices. The concert is a metaphor of a heterogeneous ensemble of instruments that are playing the same music.
The conceptual core of this project is the software process. More in detail: The main computer (director) runs a software that analyzes an image where the frames sequence is depicted. Meanwhile, the result of the reading process is broadcasted to the players that perform in real time the instructions provided. It is the software that given the devices their role, and that permit them to express their formal identity.

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