MTF Labs @ ZKM



“In the world as a field of data the old means of navigating, for example, by sun, moon, and stars, no longer have the same significance. What Immanuel Kant write in the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), ‘Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within,’ is only of limited validity today. Without doubt some people may still carry moral law within them, but they are not gazing at the firmament, the starry heavens, but looking at the display in front of them.”

Peter Weibel



MTF Labs @ ZKM Karlsruhe 


27-28 October 2018

As part of Open Codes II: the World as a Field of Data, ZKM Centre for Art and Media invited MTF to occupy the exhibition space for 24-hours with live-to-audience #MTF Labs. The intervention combined music with space data, neuroscience, DNA research, visual art and performance, using a unique toolkit of #MTFLabs data-driven tools and devices, compiled specially for ZKM. Unique works were produced including the SYNCHRONICA simulator of planetary-human frequencies created with space data, the MoonBounce and Gravity Synth performance using sound bounced off the surface of the Moon and an instrument based on gravitational wave physics, and the German Music Tech Toolkit combining tangible and intangible tools for intervening with objects and environments.




Johanna Tano (SE), Andrea Cerrato (IT), MUARTS (PT – FRANCISCO MARQUES-TEIXEIRA, HORÁCIO TOMÉ-MARQUES AND LUIS ANJOS), Re Cvetana (BG), Lubna Dajani (NY), Sonja Durajlija Zinic (HR), Panos Apostolakis (GR), Mike von Paul (TX) 

Far more than merely gazing at the starry heavens, Synchronica set out to plug audiences’ brains directly into a space data simulator of planetary orbits and consciously affect the orbital patterns. The feedback loop went beyond a ‘second skin of data’ (intended as either a protective coat of armour or a stimulating layer of continuous input) to focus instead on the deliberate action and brain training output challenging us to leap beyond the close and the personal, abandon navel gazing, and train ourselves to interact at a grand scale with planetary forces.

The first iteration of the simulator built by Johanna Tano with the Synchronica group at MTF Stockholm in September 2018 using NASA data and based on Kelly Snook’s work on Kepler’s ‘Music of the Planets’ had already scooped the KTH Innovation MTF Grand Prize. For ZKM, the data choreography was amplified to create complex visual harmonies with generative frequencies produced by intentional brain activity of the participants. Complex generative music harmonies created during the labs by Andrea Cerrato with different parameters for each planet enabled the participants to tune in and orientate themselves across interplanetary distances while producing a symphony of visual and audible frequencies. MuArts’ craft of training participants’ brains based on clinical trials meant that every audience participant - from the youngest, aged 3, to the oldest, in their 70s - was able to use the strength of their brain’s focus, their intention and their response, to create their own brain signature of human-planetary frequencies.





Following on from our quest to interact with forces at a grand scale, the #MTFLabs@ZKM for the first time united the artist creators of MoonBounce and the Gravity Synth in a collaborative performance. MoonBounce is a dataset of sound bounced off the moon in real time by a long list of globally known artists and scientists using the Dwingeloo Telescope in the Netherlands. Led by Artist-in-Residence Martine-Nicole Rojina, with astronomers Jan van Muijlwijk and Harry Keizer , 81 artists including Imogen Heap, and experts from all fields of activity, bounced their voices off the surface off the Moon during #MTF Labs in Stockholm in September 2018. They were later joined by world known astronomers and over 3000 global voices creating a unique sample voice dataset affected by our relationship to scale, distance and travel through space. During the same labs Leon Trimble demonstrated his Gravity Synth driven by a Michelson Interferometer built by University of Birmingham gravitational wave physicists Anna Green and Hannah Middleton. Gravitational waves are ripples in space seen for the first time in 2015 when a gravitational wave signal from the collision of two black holes was picked up. Anna is working on instrumentation for the gravitational wave observatories and Hannah on data analysis for gravitational wave signals. With Leon Trimble, they have been exploring the analogy of sound and vibrations with gravitational wave ripples.





Music tech germany (DE – Matthias strobel, Claudia Schwarz), Peter Kirn (US/DE), Stefano Piermatteo (IT), Tom Brückner (DE), Johannes Lohbihler (DE), Jürgen Moßgraber (DE), Jan CANTZLER (DE/CH)


The German Music Tech Toolkit epitomises the MTF mission to unite arts and sciences and act as enabler for bridging knowledge across disciplines and industry silos. Assembled for ZKM by Music Tech Germany, it includes contributions from Fraunhofer IDMT, Bitwig, DadaMachines, Lofelt, Beatport, Soundbrenner, and Marble AR. With guest participation by Jürgen Moßgraber (Bitwig and Lab Head at Fraunhofer IOSB), Johannes Lohbihler (CEO DaDa machines), and Tom Brückner (CEO Marble AR), the toolkit was used in collaboration with Peter Kirn (Create Digital Music) and Stefano Piermatteo to interact with the open codes exhibition environment. The video was produced by Jan Cantzler, a native from Karlsruhe and currently in an executive role at SAP in Switzerland.



Our Partners

MTF thanks the following partners who have supported us and to whom we are grateful for growing an exceptional community with us.

Our Partners

MTF thanks the following partners who have supported us and to whom we are grateful for growing an exceptional community with us.

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