Georg Klein - Sound | Video | Media Artist and Composer - lives in Berlin.
"Georg Klein’s work is highly unusual in both sound and new media art. In sound art there is no other artistic position that deals so intensively and rigorously with social reality and public urban space. While these themes are more widespread in new media art, one finds no other artists in that field who have given the musical and the auditory the same precedence, nor is there the same kind of connection to place that Klein has developed. These two aspects constitute the unique quality of this artist’s aesthetic thinking: The precision and sensitivity with which he chooses sounds, noises, images, poems and text compositions for a given project are as unusual as the site-specificity that forms the core of his aesthetic." (Prof. Sabine Sanio, University of Arts, UdK Berlin)
He studied sound engineering, acoustics and digital communication at the Technical University in Munich and Berlin, later philosophy of religion and cultural studies at Free University of Berlin. From 1991-94 assistant in a project on the visualizing of sound for deaf people at the Technical University of Berlin. Lecturer at the FU Berlin in 1999 and 2000 on music & religion.
Since 1996 he has worked freelance as composer, with film music („amor fati“, International Film Festival Berlin 1997), solo works with live electronics, pieces for ensembles (International Gustav-Mahler-Composition Prize 1999, Austria), and also music for theatre (Peer Gynt with Peter Zadek / Berliner Ensemble, 2004).
In 2000 founding of coma berlin - production of inter-medial art. With his first installation transition - berlin junction (2001-2002) in a sculpture of Richard Serra at the Philharmonie Concert Hall in Berlin he developed an origin concept of site-specific art in public space („sound situation“) with sound, light and texts. This installation was based on the form and material of Serra's sculpture but also on the historical aspects of this site (NS-Euthanasia, fall of the Berlin Wall). Klein's concept based on site-specific research in a psychogeographic manner (International Situationists of the 60ies) has 3 layers: a social-situative layer, a formal-material layer, a historical-political layer. In 2002 he got for his work Ortsklang Marl Mitte the first German Sound Art Award by the Skulpturenmuseum Marl (NRW). This work used graffiti phrases by young people of the city of Marl transforming the whole station into an audiovisual sculpture. With his installation Imperial News (2003) on surfaces and sounds of television news on the Iraq War he integrated the first time video in his work.
Between 2001 and 2005 he was chairman of the Berlin Society of New Music (bgnm) organizing discussion series on theoretical aspects of contemporary art and music at staatsbank berlin: music|politics (2002), reflex zones (2003), migration (2004), video concerts (2005). He is publishing several texts and lectures on political aspects of sound art and the transformation of space by time-based media (see list of publications).
In 2003 founding of „KlangQuadrat / Sound Square - office for sound and media art berlin“ with Julia Gerlach for organizing and producing sound and media projects at home and abroad, especially in public space (concept, financing, production management). He created new concepts of interaction and participation in sound art and visual art („interactive variation“). With his audiovisual live project „TRASA - A bi-medial space of contact“ (2004/2006) he extended public space by connecting two cities in an inter-medial way by an internet live stream between Germany and Poland. Two entrance stairways of subway stations were turned into a public stage where communication between Berlin and Warsaw was possible in a specific interactive way. Like in transition (2001) this installation had not a fixed but an open form, working with a process by involving passers-by interactively.
Since 2005 he is also working together with the suisse performance artist Steffi Weismann, developing dialogical, interactive installations and interventions in public space („pickup“ 2005 in Suisse, „takeaway“ SONAMBIENTE 2006 in Berlin, „venture doll“ 2008 in Los Angeles). In the last intervention a self-constructed robot doll is used as a shopping guide for american super markets (see promotion video at www.savvy-shopping.info)
In 2006 he got the MEDIA-SPACE-Award (NRW) and started his TOWER TRLOGY as an artistic discourse on the meaning of towers as symbols of power in our society. The first part (turmlaute.1 : starvation tower, 2006) in Rome was worked out during a residency at Villa Massimo / Casa Baldi. The second part turmlaute.2: watch tower (2007) in an former GDR watch tower in Berlin was working with a fake by founding a new organisation (EUROPEAN BORDER WATCH) for private surveillance of the European borders against illegal migration. By emailing, a fake website (www.europeanborderwatch.org) and invitations to visitors and the press a public relations strategie was developed as part of the artistic work, which provoked strong reactions.
In the mobile installation meta.stasis (2007) in Dresden a complete tram wagon was transformed into an sound-light installation using news on the global ideology of growth. Ideological economic aspects also led to the video installation sonic parole (2008), which uses pseudo-revolutionary advertisment slogans on a media facade (O2-world arena in Berlin). In 2009 two of his most delicate works were realized: „Sprich mit mir“ in the Red-Light-District of Braunschweig
with interviews of costumers of prostitutes audible at the entrance of the district. RamallahTours (2009) was dealing again with a fake in public space and the internet (www.ramallahtours.info) by installing a palestinian collective taxi in Israel offering a booking service for travels to Ramallah for all people: "safe & easy".
In 2010 he got a 6 months art residency in Istanbul and showed a mirror installation at a prison in Turkey (mirrorsongs) and his dual audio-visual installation Cuts and Creeds on oriental and occidental assassins: western gunmen and muslim martyrs, using self-manifestations of young, male assassins out of the internet. Borders and their violation – politically and mentally – were also the central topic in his solo exhibition borderlines at the European Media Art Festival (EMAF) 2011 including his work Make me wild – Godwin (2011) with an illegal immigrant from Nigeria appearing in the streets of Osnabrück.
The mix of the real, physical public space and the medial public space, which gets stronger and stronger in our times, is one of the central aspects in Klein's work, independentely of the used media weather sound, video, photo, internet or others. His works are generating specific situations of communication, transforming public space in an aesthetic way and charging it in a political way.
Klein's sound and light installation Der gelbe Klang2 / The yellow sound2 (2012), produced for the comprehensive exhibition SOUND ART at ZKM Karlsruhe is a reminiscence on the historic origins of sound art, on Wassili Kandinsky's text „On Stage Composition / The Yellow Sound“ from 1912, postulating a new connection between the arts on an abstract base.
With his two-parts installation GNADE / MERCY in summer 2012 he worked out a new quality of this term 'Gnade' for a diagnosis of our age and the current financial crisis.
Klein continued his work on the global financial system with the audiovisual installation UNzuRECHT | UNorJUSTNESS (Switzerland, 2013) in coop. with Steffi Weismann, showing three different ways of making money in the global commodities trading. With his permanent sound walk toposonie :: spree (Berlin, 2013, in german, english and french) he followed the unvisible voices of lobbyism in the middle of the capital of Germany.
Since 2013 Georg Klein is lecturer at the University of Arts Berlin (UdK, Studium Generale). In 2014 he also worked as a curator at MuseumsQuartier Wien (Vienna), producing a highly remarked show with the title "PCFS - Post Colonial Flagship Store". 2015 he presented his thematic catalog borderlines in a solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Meinblau, Berlin, and at the European Media Art Festival (EMAF 2015) he was awarded with the Dialogue Award by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his work European Border Watch.