Ernst Karel Sound Arbeiten: Morning and other times (2014 ) / Swiss moutain transport systems (2011)

As you may know, on Sunday, 6pm, at Luru Kino you’ll get the rare chance to hear some of the Ernst Karel’s sound works as part of our homage to Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab; namingly:


USA 2014, R: Ernst Karel, Audio, 30’


USA 2011, R: Ernst Karel, Audio, 55’

Here’s an excerpt from Aby Bliss’ review of SWISS MOUNTAIN TRANSPORT SYSTEMS for British magazine The Wire #333:

»[E]ven devoid of context, the sounds trapped on tape are curiously absorbing. They can be both soothing and suspenseful, as on ›Oberterzen-Unterterzen‹, where the low rumble of machinery and a keening wind are punctuated by periodic clankings and brief snatches of birdsong. The sense soon emerges of a landscape idealised yet only half-conquered by humans. The illusion of gliding, godlike, up a mountainside rests upon loud and often ungainly machinery, as heard on ›Stans-Kälti‹, where strains of (stereotypically) Swiss cowbells are almost drowned out by the violent exertions of the funicular train. Karel also hints at coming obsolescence: the helicopter heard on ›Simplon Pass‹ is transporting materials to a road builder, even as systems only recently documented by Karel have since been removed. Transport is less solid than its imposing infrastructure suggests.«

…and some general words on the Sensory Ethnography Lab by The Wire:

»Sensory ethnography has emerged in response to the way that anthropology has represented its human subjects in media, primarily through film. This new discipline, which has its roots in field recordings, sound art and ethnographic films, tries to develop a way of approaching anthropology’s social concerns, maintaining its methodological imperative to clearly and accurately represent its subjects, while at the same time acknowledging that the audience for such research also makes up part of the meaning that it creates. In short, sensory ethnography is an attempt to resolve the subjective, artistic approaches needed to make effective and engaging work out of empirical data, at the same time as accurately representing its observations.«