Outer City

Audiovisual Composition, Fixed Media

2.0 Stereo Audio, Video

Duration: 12’16“

World premiere:
ZKM Karlsruhe (Germany)
ne(x)t_generation 8.5
Streaming festival of electronic university studios
June 25, 2021

Outer City
is clear and yet blurred
is concrete and yet abstract
is static and yet moving
is transparent and yet opaque
is natural and yet artificial
is outside and yet inside
is contrast and yet convergence

Piece info

As one can already gather from this text, „Outer City“ plays with opposites. Especially the visual level is an interplay of concrete and abstract images, a play with sharpness and blur, with clarity (in terms of resolution) and pixelated character, with opacity and transparency, with static and dynamic, and in terms of material with photo and film.

The visual material is mostly photo material; only towards the end is additional video footage used.
The photographic material are shots of various plants. The video was created from a shot of snowflakes.

What does the title mean?

„Outer City“ is the third piece in a series of audio-visual works. The first of these is „A23“ and shows cars, while the second piece „Lockdown“ focuses on skyscraper facades. Both are, in a sense, urban content.

In contrast, the recordings of „Outer City“ are nature recordings. Since nature shots are rather less associated with urbanity, the title is deliberately meant to draw the focus back to the city, since there is also nature within the city – and on top of that, in a kind of habitat that separates nature – the plants – from the natural habitat (hence ‚outer‘), but is nevertheless just as much a part of the city. This is also what is meant by the lyric line:
„Outer City is outside and yet inside.“

For those particularly interested

The movement in the picture scene is created as follows:
Several photos have been arranged next to each other and by shifting the section, zooming, rotating, stretching, tilting, etc., the impression of a camera movement is created.
Last but not least, there are again additional color, contrast and opacity transitions, as well as the superimposition of several layers.

The audio material is purely synthetically generated using the SuperCollider programming language.
The core element of the SynthDefinition is a TBall-UGen, which physically models the behavior of jumping or bouncing objects.
The formal musical sequence is generated by a routine with a total of 18 sections. Per section 12 synths with different parameters sound.