Curatorial Statement

Drawing on his background as an improvisational musician, artist, composer and performer Nicholas Bussmann creates models of community building and experimental arrangements about the structure of imaginary worlds. Music always models social structures and Bussmann uses this property to depict fundamental principles of socialization and the experience of how social orders can change. Using simple methods, he investigates the relationship between improvisation and notation, mimesis and indeterminacy, individual and collective agency, and the ritualism and polyphony of society.

The Kosmoskopien exhibition consists of three works. Wandering Dunes is a performative experimental setup of sandboxes with found objects, illuminated by a ticker. The idea is to co-create worlds and scenarios in the sandboxes. First used in military strategic planning in the 19th century, they later became commonplace in kindergartens and playgrounds. The Wandering Dunes leave it up to each individual to intervene in the process of building and collectively negotiating projected worlds. Over the course of four days, the Wandering Dunes installation becomes part of a performance that encompasses it, accompanied by a choir and led by game guides who bring their very different cultural and professional backgrounds to the game. References to nomadic communities repeatedly emerge in this experimental setup.

Revolution Songs in an AI Environment is an installation of LED screens and a grand piano controlled by a special automaton. This keyboard robot plays the melodies of revolutionary songs from all over the world, but read out by pattern recognition of an artificial intelligence, or defamiliarized by phasing while the corresponding lyrics are animated in multiple languages on the LED screens.

The new installation Dachs Kirsche Schuh also evokes the choreography of community formation under the conditions of machine pattern recognition. Dachs Kirsche Schuh takes up the appearance of casino machines, arranged around an imaginary campfire under baroque clouds. Set in motion by the wind caused by visitors, the painted clouds move like smoke signals. Below them, animated pictograms and emojis appear in machine-made “random” combinations that subject the amorphous quality of community building to forced assignments: as a coerced choreography of identity and difference, promises of chance happiness and machine indifference.

Anselm Franke