30 June – 17 September 2017

Klaus Illi

RATSCHENORCHESTER und Chor der Whistleblower


Small Exhibition Hall

Making noise attracts attention. Making noise is thus one of the most primal forms of social expression in human beings, because a person can use noise to warn his peers of danger or to express his dominance over other people, because the noise prevents all other forms of communication and thus makes the noisemaker appear strong and dominant.

For this reason, noise-making in normal everyday life is usually limited to a few ritually legitimised events such as festivals, wars, demonstrations or games. Whereas in the course of the civilisation process, even this noise was mostly domesticated into properly performed music. But despite these civilising successes, both the original human impulses to make noise and the primitive instruments to produce it – drums, whistles and rattles – have survived to this day.

When an artist like Klaus Illi combines these ancient noise-making instruments with the most modern automation technology (from the company FESTO), then it is perfectly permissible – without any malice – to impute to him the original impulses to make noise that were described above. However, by producing this noise as an artist with his automated ratchet orchestra, he deliberately crosses several boundaries: 1. the boundary of making noise as an adult beyond ritually legitimised events such as carnivals, stadiums or demonstrations; 2. secondly, the boundary between fine art and music; and 3. the boundary of good taste, because he does not make music but noise and thus falls far short of the minimum cultural level of his profession in acoustic terms.

Considered under all these aspects, the Stuttgart artist’s ratchet orchestra appears as an expression of an original joy not only in making noise, but also in crossing the boundaries of genres. At the same time, the artist also succeeds in making the joy of making noise and dominating as anthropological basic constants of being human visible and audible with the means of kinetic art – and thus ultimately also reflectable.

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