Untitled [Krenek] |

by Magdalena Salner

Austria, 2022, 9 min

Visual composition | Magdalena Salner
Musical composition | Manuel Baumer

The audiovisual project Untited [Krenek] is a poetic approach to the life and work of the Austrian composer Ernst Krenek. The starting point of the project is Krenek's 1956 electroacoustic composition 'Spiritus Intelligentiae Sanctus' op. 152 for solo voice and tape. In an interview, Krenek spoke about the background of this composition and explained that it is  an artistic approach to hypnagogic perceptions, which he was able to realize by using the new possibilities of electronic sound generation which was a new technologie at the time. Untitled [Krenek] takes up these hypnagogic associations of Krenek's and spans a dreamlike, unreal world of images and sounds by the usage of preserved video material of Krenek and fragments of Krenek's music.
The visual level of Untitled [Krenek] uses old interview tapes and other recordings of Krenek and his wife Gladys and of their home in Palm Springs. This source material, which shows clear signs of aging and is of poor image quality, was enlarged and masked using AI-based image processing technology. The area to be masked is fixed at a frame and the AI calculates the following frames in independently. In the course of this masking process, however, errors are constantly occurring, which havea particular aesthetic qualities. The resulting images are strongly reminiscent of the vision in dreams. The silhouettes and voids in these surreal sceneries resemble a peculiarity of dream memory, in which many details can no longer be clearly deduced on closer inspection and become blurred or are missing completly.
The acoustic part of Untitled [Krenek] adapts a quirk of Krenek's String Quartet No. 8 op. 233’. In this composition Krenek memorized all of his string quartets and worked essential quotations from his previous quartets into the course of the composition. Based on the idiosyncratic sound of 'Spiritus Intelligentiae Sanctus', Untitled [Krenek] unfolds a soundscape of synthetic sounds and alienated voices, within which quotations from all eight string quartets, selected characteristic works by Krenek and recordings of Krenek's voice are woven in. This reflects Krenek's diverse and cross-genre compositional work and at the same time merges it into a homogeneous mass of sound as part of a fluid compositional process. The interplay of the two layers of Untitled [Krenek] unfolds a hazy stream of thoughts of images and sounds from Krenek's life, which lets Krenek's mind float through a memorylaced dream sequence.
The audiovisual project Untitled [Krenek] was created as part of the 'Ernst-Fall' special Covid-19 grant donated by the Ernst Krenek Institute Krems.