KG Augenstern
Circles And Cycles (Tentacles In Sicily – Scratching The Surface)
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1Scratching a Lido 1:37
2Scratching a Mountain Village 1:23
3Scratching a Paper Mill 1:34
4Scratching a Prayer Hall 2:33

Kg Augenstern (Christiane Prehn and Wolfgang Meyer) have been exploring the world for many years with their “Tentacles,” extendable fiberglass canes that allow them to touch and extract the sounds of the places they are travelling through. These tentacles have become a kind of prostheses to generate subtle experiences that require attentive listening. The various aspects of the project are constantly transformed and presented as audiokinetic installations, live-streams, radio broadcasts or sound installations in contemporary art spaces.

In autumn 2019, the artists explored places in Sicily that have been abandoned within the last few decades. With their tentacles, they scratched circles on the surface of these contemporary ruins to reveal the specific sounds of the various surfaces and their surroundings. A camera installed in the center of the circles recorded the images. The research was accompanied by experiments with raw sheep’s wool and clay as materials corresponding to the ephemeral appearance and transitory atmosphere of the places. The outcome of the research was presented as an exhibition in an old prayer hall in Palermo.

The CD invites listeners to explore 10 abandoned places, including the location of the final exhibition.

KG Augenstern’s “tentacle” performs surgeries on abandoned places. The duo from Berlin seeks out locations that lie between the states of life and death, populated and depopulated, places constantly changing, and thus in an enduring state of malleable equilibrium. They are the apocalyptic souvenirs of humans’ attempts to form landscapes. That which exists tends towards new shapes, which slowly bury mankind’s contingencies and intentions. The forgotten place and its surfaces are scratched in circles. The media to be studied are the subtle sounds caused by the scratching. At times the tentacle glides lightly along the surface, barely touching; on another pass it might bite in, leaving a mark. It stretches itself out, or blends with the material beneath it, all the while releasing its tensions in the form of deep, diffused sound vibrations. Or it springs in powerful leaps across the ground beneath it. An intense sound is called forth, rhythmic and repetitive, embedded in the temporal cycles of the described circles. Time is rendered instable, volatile, surreal, and reveals its magic. The process is repeated in the same or another location. The combinations of time and material transform themselves into a cyclical continuum. KG Augenstern creates an additional cycle out of sheep’s wool, clay, and fire. From materials found in the ruins, burned objects are created which are fragile and subordinate to their own disintegration. The observer slips outside the field of consciousness, and attention is directed towards the revelation of baselessness, not from within the realm of understanding, but in the form of realization in a material sense. Life is transformed into a question, and this uncertainty reveals the instability of existence.

  • Ennio Pellicanò, Curator