Timo Kahlen. Sound sculptures and installations (page 1 of  2)

Nominated for the German national Sound Art Prize 2006

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Timo Kahlen. SWARM, 2008

8-channel sound sculpture
at Fortezza / Franzensfeste fortress:
steel construction (800 x 100 x 100 cm),

enclosing the sound and vibration of bees

Courtesy MANIFESTA 7 "Scenarios" / Italy

For Manifesta 7 “Scenarios” at Fortezza,
Timo Kahlen blocks the central courtyard accessing
the 19th century military fortress with a carefully positioned,
powerful sound sculpture. The abstract steel sculpture
- elevated slightly from the ground, as if floating -  encloses the
meandering, menacing sound of a swarm of bees.
Initially a calm buzzing, the transient, carefully manipulated
sounds become increasingly agitated, nervous and defensive
as the viewer proceeds on his way into the fortress. As if
striking out at the visitor, the harsh sounds are accompanied by
a strong vibration of the plated, steel ‘beehive’
defending its territory - only later to repose to a soft
and tranquile hum.

“Few works in Fortezza have a physical presence,
but SWARM is just the opposite. On the outside, it is a large,
aggressive, steel box that echoes its military surroundings.
On the inside, it houses the sound of an elusive swarm of bees,
at times stirring angrily, at other times scarcely perceptible;
a fresh interpretation of conflict and warfare.”

Aoife Rosenmeyer: “Manifesta 7: Eight Artists Not To Miss”, Art World, Issue 7, 2008

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Timo Kahlen
Tanz für Insekten (Dance for Insects), 2010

Dead insects (objets trouvés) shivering, shuffling
and floating on the membranes of two loudspeakers.
Low frequency sound, vibration and random movement
of the insects, that seem to be more alive than dead,
dancing and jittering on the speakers' membranes
as their chitinous shells create a percussive clicking noise

Kinetic sound sculpture at "Sound Art. Sound as a Medium of Art", ZKM Karlsruhe 2012-2013,
"The Unknown: Poznan Biennale", Poland 2012, "Timo Kahlen: Windwechsel", Luftmuseum Amberg 2010,
"Timo Kahlen: Noise & Beauty", Stiftung Starke Berlin 2010, "Timo Kahlen: Katharsis", Ruine der Kuenste Berlin 2017

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Timo Kahlen. Drama, 2011
Chance-generated flash film interactive loop (0'13")

A virtual reanimation of an insect,
lying on its back. A miniature drama,
an emotional visual metaphor  - the individual's struggle
at the borderline of life and death -
with various and chance-generated outcomes,
generated - always different - by the viewer,
as he plays the film again ... and again.

Supported by a scholarship of Stiftung Kunstfonds, Germany 2010.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.
Without sound.


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Timo Kahlen. Eins (One), 2005
ca. 24 x 40 x 38 cm
From a series of sensual, softly purring, vibrating
sound sculptures (made of artificial fur, feathers,
enclosed loudspeakers and sound)

"Timo Kahlen: Media Dirt", Ruine der Kuenste Berlin, 2005 and
"Sound Art: Deutscher Klangkunst-Preis 2006" exhibition
at Traumzeit-Festival Duisburg 2007; "SoundObjects",
La Nau University Valencia 2008 and Goethe-Institut / Milano 2008

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Timo Kahlen. Media Dirt (Kiasma, 2004)
Sound sculpture at the National Museum of
Contemporary Art (Kiasma)
in Helsinki / Finland

Three glass cylinders, several loudspeakers and
the sound of interfering radio waves :
" temporary, immaterial noise and beauty
found in between radio stations ...
creating a complex, artificial, purely technological,
yet seemingly 'natural' (sometimes insect or bird-like)
soundscape. In this way, the glass cylinders
become the laboratory for a re-construction,
a new abstract form of nature."
(Werner Ennokeit)

Sound sculpture exhibited at the International Symposion on Electronic Arts ISEA 2004

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Timo Kahlen. Luft (Air), 2015
Multi-channel, chance-generated sound installation

with directional speakers

The manipulated multi-channel sound

of swarming insects and bees, oddly resembling the
mechanical, propelling hum of military drones,
meanders through the exhibition space: floating
in mid-air a few inches above the ground, reflecting
from the floor beneath our feet, propelling around
the visitor's ankles and knees at random intervals.
The exhibition space of the Ruine der Kuenste Berlin
is filled with subtle hums and whirrs.

Installation view at "Timo Kahlen: Doppelter Boden",
Ruine der Kuenste Berlin, 2015

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Timo Kahlen. Tautologischer Raum
(Tautological Space), 1990 / 2015
Kinetic sound installation

The factual wind of a rotating electrical fan
directs a single loudspeaker
suspended from the ceiling to rotate slowly
and as if by chance, changing its speed and direction in mid-air;
thereby projecting the (likewise artificial) sound of wind
emitted by the speaker
to move across, to meander, to slide and to rotate
along the gallery's walls.

Hochschule der Kuenste Berlin 1990; reinstalled at FRISE Hamburg 2015

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Timo Kahlen.
Ruine der Kuenste Berlin 2008

The work, enclosing
low noise and rumble,

blocks the passage to the gallery space
with an oversized metal case
(60 x 320 x 70 cm) forced into
the entrance of the building

"Timo Kahlen: Trespassing",
Ruine der Kuenste Berlin 2008

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Timo Kahlen. Rohschnitt (Rough Cut), 2016
Interactive net art

Interactive projection with multiple layers
of embedded sound. Touch and investigate objects
with the cursor, click at or pause to generate
your individual, interactive composition of raw sound.
Take your time !

Initially a virtual, hybrid, rough cut model tailored for

the "Hoerschwelle" sound art exhibition in the project space
at Deutscher Künstlerbund, Berlin 2016.

The sounds embedded in the room
represent sounds recorded when constructing the model
from scratch, from cardboard and paper, and when reworking
the model on the computer: raw, rough sounds of drawing,
cutting, creasing, folding, ripping, copying, pasting
and reediting; acoustic fragments of 'work in progress'.

Experience live at

(Flash player required)

Deutscher Kuenstlerbund, Berlin 2016.
Short-listed for "Schloss-Post" web residency
at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany 2016

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Timo Kahlen
Volumen (Volume), 2015

Multi-channel sound installation
Wooden construction (ca. 880 x 192 x 75 cm),

transducers, speakers and low frequency vibration

The vibrating volume of the wooden structure

emits multiple, complex, humming and droning,
percussive waves of air that fill the entire room
with sound: propelling above and around the object
like a drone.

Installation view at Timo Kahlen: "Doppelter Boden",
Ruine der Kuenste Berlin 2015

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Timo Kahlen / Berlin and Ian Andrews / Sydney.
Sound Drift, 2005.
A series of interactive, generative
sound spaces at www.staubrauschen.de/sounddrift/
containing drifting 'clouds' filled with
radio noise: visual, kinetic clusters of sound.
A concept for an immaterial exhibition
consisting of audio clusters slowly drifting
from one gallery space to the next
at the Ruine der Kuenste Berlin.

Click into the kinetic 'clouds' to move from one room to the next.
The interactive buttons will behave in various ways

(some will have to be clicked two or three times...)
Turn up your audio !
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.

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Timo Kahlen. Concepts for 'Sound Drift', 2005. In collaboration with Ian Andrews / Sydney.
Courtesy Ruine der Kuenste Berlin

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Timo Kahlen. Bits, 2010

Percussive, pulsing, crackling sounds
project from sculptural loudspeakers at 3,50 m height,
echoing from the walls. Their tripods surround
a fragile Venetian glass chandelier
suspended in the exhibition space.

Multi-channel sound installation
for "Timo Kahlen: Noise & Beauty", Stiftung Starke, Berlin 2010
From a series of synaesthetical "Earcatchers",
sound installations realized as part of the
scholarship by Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn 2010

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Timo Kahlen. Bags of Bees (Venice, 2009)

Paper bags enclosing the meandering
sound and vibration of a swarm of bees

Casello delle Polveri, Venezia 2009,
"La Révolte des Choses", MIM & more Gallery, Berlin 2012

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Timo Kahlen. BEWARE !, 2010

Generative, multi-channel sound installation
based on the sound of fierce dogs:
ferociously, madly barking at the passer-by,
as the sound and perceptible vibration
of the steel object follows the viewer‘s movements
with (invisible, hidden) motion sensors

Proposal for Metamatic Research Initiative, Amsterdam 2010

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Timo Kahlen. Small Turbulence
(Proposal for an immaterial sculpture)

made of steam, 1991 / 1999

Video loop, 1 min 43 sec
Steam from the street, kept in movement by cars

"Timo Kahlen’s work is characterized by a subtle
perception of the natural and the technical world.
In his video Small Turbulence (Proposal for an immaterial
sculpture, 1991/1999)
, Timo Kahlen takes the role of a
discoverer in a world, where there’s nothing left to discover,
simply because everything has seemingly been analysed
and explained. Nonetheless, what seems common, everyday,
like the steam coming from a sewage pipe in the busy streets
of New York, can be seen as a singular, phenomenal event
and truly become an ephemeral, immaterial sculpture.
Always, Kahlen tries to investigate and to understand
phenomena at their blurry edges: just before, in between,
besides and after the actual event." (Dr. Jule Reuter, Berlin 2001)

This video proposal for an immaterial sculpture made of steam
was nominated for the "Kahnweiler-Prize for Sculpture" 2001
in Rockenhausen, Germany

Timo Kahlen. Audio Dust, 2011
Timo Kahlen. Signal-To-Noise, 2011
Timo Kahlen. Undo/Delete, 2011
Timo Kahlen. From Scratch, 2011
Timo Kahlen. Carpe Diem, 2011


Supported by a scholarship of Stiftung Kunstfonds, Germany 2010.
Collections orf Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University / USA,
the ZKM Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe and the artist.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.

Five Interactive Sound Works

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Timo Kahlen. Audio Dust, 2011
Interactive sound art / net art

‘Audio Dust’ is about the beauty of noise.
An earcatching virtual object, a sculptural cluster of sound.
It is based on the image of a round object made of
artificial fur, a soft, tactile part of a microphone
(generally used to protect the microphone from wind
in the recording process). Fragments of noise & beauty seem
to have attached to the fur. In several aspects, “Audio Dust“
is a psycho-acoustical trap for the senses, tempting the viewer
to virtually stroke the warm, soft, ‘purring‘, abstract,
round object enclosing layers of sound. With references
to the Futurist ‘intonarumori‘ and to Pierre Schaeffer‘s
‘musique concrete‘, generating the composition of sound
and vibration with the cursor (activating sounds as the mouse
rolls over or clicks hidden, static and moving interfaces)
the work generates a complex synaesthetical experience.

The interactive work develops individually,
is generated - always different - as the viewer moves across,
pauses or clicks at the responsive texture of the sound objects.
Roll over & click to generate the audio work at your own pace.
For headphones or speakers.

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Courtesy / Foto: Steffen Harms, © ZKM Karlsruhe
Supported by a scholarship of Stiftung Kunstfonds, Germany 2010.
Collections of Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University / USA,
the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and the artist.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.


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Timo Kahlen. Signal-To-Noise, 2011
Interactive sound art / net art

Signal-To-Noise', 2011, relates to the history of
recording media, to the Vinyl LP. An analog object, covered
with scratches, with dirt and sound is seen rotating in space.
The interactive sound object 'Signal-To-Noise' relates the
unintentional mistake, the deviation from the technical norm,
to the artist‘s process of recording and playing back acoustic
signals. What can be heard, as the viewer generates
multiple layers of sound from invisible interfaces
hidden beneath the flash projection of the scratched and
ruptured rotating surface, is a grinding, dirty, dusty static noise,
which leaves little room for the desired acoustic signal itself.
The unbalanced signal-to-noise-ratio of what is desired and
what is recorded, is the works main principle of design.

The interactive work develops individually,
is generated - always different - as the viewer moves across,
pauses or clicks at the responsive texture of the sound objects.
Roll over & click to generate the audio work at your own pace.
For headphones or speakers.

Supported by a scholarship of Stiftung Kunstfonds, Germany 2010.
Collections of Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University / USA,
the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and the artist.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.


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Timo Kahlen. Undo / Delete, 2011
Interactive sound art / net art

In 'Undo / Delete', 2011, the viewer's cursor meanders
across a white void, an empty page. His movements generate
minimal visual marks and acoustic incidents, that seem to avoid /
to flee the presence of the cursor - as can be inferred from
the sound of ripping, crumbling, revising, tearing
and deleting of information hidden on the blank page.

The interactive sound art / net art work develops individually,
is generated - always different - as the viewer moves across, pauses
or clicks at the responsive texture of the sound objects.
Roll over & click to generate the audio work at your own pace.
For headphones or speakers.

Supported by a scholarship of Stiftung Kunstfonds, Germany 2010.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.


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Timo Kahlen. From Scratch, 2011
Interactive sound art / net art

‘From Scratch’, an hommage to the fragility
and transience of all life, presents the ephemeral surface
of thin ice. As if walking on a brittle, fragile surface,
the viewer encounters splintering, slushing, cascading
sequences of sound, as he moves the cursor and mouse
across the interactive surface at his own, individual pace.
Thus, the work develops individually, is generated as the

viewer moves across, pauses or clicks at the
responsive texture of the sound object.

Roll over & click to generate the audio work
at your own pace. For headphones or speakers.

Supported by a scholarship of Stiftung Kunstfonds, Germany 2010.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.


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Timo Kahlen
Control, 2015
('The Wackelpudding Series')

A fragile acoustic and visual balance:
a plate with green pudding held, directed and
balanced in mid-air, as the artist takes control
of this green, quivering mass that seems
to have a life (and a sound) of its own.

"Experiments in Cinema", Albuquerque, New Mexico / USA 2016
Wolf Kahlen Intermedia Arts Museum, Bernau 2016
"60 Seconds Festival", Copenhagen / Denmark 2018. HD video

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Timo Kahlen. Numbers, 2011 or 2013
Interactive net art / sound art

Thank God! At least, in the midst of all the
financial crisis and accelerating digital change,
it’s numbers that we can rely on, numbers that
will be safe and sound.

See Timo Kahlen’s small new interactive
sound + net art work 'Numbers' at

Created in 2011, or 2013. Possibly.

Click & roll over to generate the interactive work. Turn up your speakers.
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.


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Timo Kahlen. plug / play, 2016

Conceptual drawing reflecting
the (media) artist's entanglement / dependancy on
cables, plugs and connectors

Presented at Deutscher Kuenstlerbund
"Hoerschwelle" sound art exhibition, Berlin 2016

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Timo Kahlen. stop, 2016

Enlarges a miniature conceptual sketch

(from my 1991 sketchbooks)
to a maximum size

Installed in the gallery storefront windows
at the Deutscher Kuenstlerbund project space for the
"Hoerschwelle" sound art exhibition, Berlin 2016.
Chalk drawing, ca. 274 x 300 cm

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Timo Kahlen
Räuspern, 2014

A minimalistic, yet highly evocative sound sculpture:

the sound of a speaker (the artist) clearing his throat,
trying to catch attention and testing the 'microphone',
which is in fact a small loudspeaker, replacing the
original microphone on a microphone stand.
A yet inarticulate voice, testing its presence - a 'testing ground'
in the middle of the room, in front of the audience.

Microphone stand, miniature loudspeaker and mono sound
"Timo Kahlen: Katharsis", Ruine der Kuenste Berlin; Berlin 2017

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Timo Kahlen. The Essence of Art, 2016
Interactive text and sound / net art

The essence of art is to make mistakes.
Trust me, I'm an artist

As you explore the handwritten text,

touch and investigate objects with the cursor,
click at, roll-over or pause to generate
your individual and interactive composition
of raw sound. The live composition is generated
from multiple layers of embedded sound,
in real-time, always different and new. Take your time.

Flash player required: please, enable Flash in your browser.
For headphones or speakers.

"handschreiben", Ruine der Kuenste Berlin, Berlin 2016
"Experiments in Cinema", Albuquerque, New Mexico / USA 2017
"Sound Thought", CCA Glasgow / Scotland 2017


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Timo Kahlen. Diodenzwitschern, 2006

Site-specific sound installation, proposal for
the German national Sound Art Prize 2006
(Deutscher Klangkunst-Preis), based on the
amazing utterances of a nightingale recorded on site.
Four channel audio composition

Four sculptural, ring-shaped speaker elements
to be installed encircling the stems and branches of trees
in close proximity to the Skulpturenmuseum in Marl.
Intimate sounds, based on the utterances of a nightingale
recorded directly on site, permutate from speaker to speaker,
from tree to tree. The song of the nightingale - a bird known
for its amazing ability to imitate complex sounds of its
immediate environment - has been disected, reorganized
and carefully reshaped, creating a soundscape that seems
synthetical and mechanical, yet strangely represents and refers
to its natural origin. Presented to the jury of the
German national "Sound Art Prize" as an interactive model
at http:///www.timo-kahlen.de/dioden/

See http://www.timo-kahlen.de/dioden/
Not visible on Android and iOS. Flash player required.

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Timo Kahlen. Leerraum (Void), 1995.
Sound and light installation at the
Ruine der Künste Berlin.

An empty house, filtered windows panes.
Twittering, pulsing, singing sounds of interfering radio
shortwaves and synthesized fragments of birds' songs,
emitted from invisible loudspeakers beneath the floor,
meander across the walls.

The sounds used in a number of
Timo Kahlen's sound sculptures and
installations are based on the artist's
archive of nomadic, ephemeral, interfering radio waves,
'static noise and beauty' recorded
inbetween radio stations since 1987.

In the sound and light installation 'Leerraum'
the interfering radio waves create a complex, artificial,

purely technological, but at the same time strangely
'natural', insect- or birdlike soundscape ... enhanced by
birds' voices and filtered (green) views from the windows
into the garden

"Die Vogelstimmen sind eine Nuance zu deutlich, die Folien an den Fenstern eine Spur zu grün.
Darum begreift man schnell, daß die Nähe zur Natur gemeint ist, nicht aber nachgeahmt werden soll.
Der Raum flirrt, fängt so die Aufmerksamkeit des Besuchers. Ähnlich wie in der Natur folgt man

den an- und abschwellenden Geräuschen mit suchendem Blick, versucht vergebens,
die Lautsprecher dingfest zu machen, begegnet dabei dem durch das einfallende Licht

gezauberten komplementären Rot an den Wänden und wird allmählich Teil des leeren Raumes."
Hanna Lentz, Berlin 1995

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Timo Kahlen. Simile, 2006
Rubber boots (Wellingtons) suspended in metal frames,
nine small loudspeakers, nine channel sound composition
imitating birds' voices and other mimetical,
only seemingly 'natural' sounds

Exhibited at "Deutscher Klangkunst-Preis 2006", Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl
and "Sound Art 2006: Deutscher Klangkunst-Preis", art cologne 2006

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Timo Kahlen. Your Journey. Orvieto / Italy 2009

Two loudspeakers propped against
the vertical plane of the wall project the sound of
two feet crunching, grinding their way
through deep snow
slowing down, taking up speed as the brittle snow
offers varying resistance to the progression
of the artist's movement. Visitors approached
the sound work on a road filled with gravel:
creating their own sounds on their way.
Installed at 38° C in the shade
for Atelier Aperti, Orvieto (Italy) in 2009.

Courtesy studio of Susanne Kessler / Atelier Aperti, Orvieto 2009

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Timo Kahlen. Bits & Pieces, 2011
4'08", stereo
For radio transmission at
The Radius, Chicago

Bits & Pieces (2011) lures us into an earcatching,

evocative sonic terrain - and can be seen as an acoustic
metaphor of current political, conceptual and economic crisis
and instability. At first impression nothing more than
the haphazard accumulation of static noise, dirt
and interference on the listener's radio, the radiophonic work
"Bits & Pieces" soon turns out to be the precise acoustic image
of a protagonist's footsteps on a brittle, fragile,
inconsistent surface: literally and conceptually walking
on 'breaking ground', audibly de-constructing,
re-evaluating, breaking down, revising and editing
his concept of the world.

Focussing on the destructive process of creating 'progress',
this conceptual work was made especially for local radio transmission
on The Radius, Chicago (December 2011).

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Timo Kahlen. Breaking Ground, 2009

Ruptured, crooked, uneven natural stone
floor of studio space at Orvieto (Italy).
Bits and pieces of  fragmented, dirty,ruptured sounds meander
from speaker to speaker, anticipating and directing
the visitor's movements across the floor

Multi-channel, site-specific work for Atelier Aperti, Orvieto 2009. Courtesy of
Susanne Kessler. A variation of "Breaking Ground" was presented at
"Timo Kahlen: Noise & Beauty", Stiftung Starke, Berlin 2010

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Timo Kahlen. (LOCATING), 2010

A pair of rubber boots carefully positioned
in the gallery space. Electrical cables fill the resonant
volumes with sound
: pulsing, crackling, hissing,
grinding noise bounces back and forth
inside and from within the two rubber boots.
One foot set slightly forward, the rubber boots seem
ready to meander, to move on ... - yet they remain static,
immobile, caught in situ : forming a subtle and vibrating 'still life',
an acoustic miniature of two objects taking on personality.
Ascertaining, locating and repositioning their existence
in a changing and mobile society.

First installed at "Media Scapes", Zagreb 2010
curated by Heiko Daxl & Ingeborg Fülepp

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Timo Kahlen. FIRE !, 2008

Abandoned suitcase(s), filled with
the sound and vibration of fire.

The objects stand isolated, abandoned in
the exhibition space.

“Timo Kahlen’s works are characterized by
a rigorous formal reduction and clarity.
Kahlen creates works, which have been purged of
all unnecessary elements, which have been reduced
to their essential core. While at first impression his works
often assume (or even feign) a narrative, playful lightness
- allowing references to familiar, everyday experiences
and situations -, the formal and conceptual contrasts and
tensions created refer to a set of higher, existential
questions imposed.“ (Werner Ennokeit, 2010)

Installation view at "Strictly Berlin: Strategies of Survival", Berlin 2009.
Variations of the work were exhibited at Dieci.Due! Gallery, Milano

ROMA art fair, Rome and the Ruine der Künste Berlin

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Timo Kahlen. Transfer, 2014

A person travelling, waiting, lingering in public space;

holding on to what he's got with him in a bag
in his hands; carrying the future from A to B;
knowingly, willingly or inadvertedly transferring either
potential or threat; enclosed in this one simple bag
filled with the menacing, alarming sound
of a lively swarm of bees.

HD Video
and sound performance

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Timo Kahlen. Zwiebelmuster (Still # 16), 2001 / 2006

Sound sculpture. Images of a swarm of flies hovering
over a plate - oscillating and vibrating irrationally,

agitated by very low, barely audible sounds of insects
whirring through the air.
A kinetic 'still life'.

Exhibited at "Tonspur expanded: The Loudspeaker", Vienna 2010 - 2011
"Sound Art 2006: Deutscher Klangkunst-Preis, art cologne 2006
and "Timo Kahlen: Earcatcher", Ruine der Kuenste Berlin 2006.
Photographic images, wire, plate, loudspeaker and sound

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Timo Kahlen. DRONES, 2008 - 2014

An old bicycle with a simple shopping bag

hanging from its handlebar: abandoned and filled with
the dark humming, nervous whirring and buzzing sound
of a swarm of bees -  and of high-tech electronic drones.
A nomadic, emotionally charged, disturbing sound object
carrying both potential and threat.

Installed at
"Sound Reasons Festival", New Delhi 2014

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