Exhibition THIRTIES at the Kunsthalle Trier art gallery

  • Kunsthalle Trier (Aachener Straße 63, 54284 , Trier)
  • Thursday 14 September 2023 - Sunday 15 October 2023
  • 18h00 - 18h00 (local time)

The exhibition “Thirties” at the Kunsthalle Trier is a gripping tour through the multifaced forms of artistic expression of seven international artists. Amoung them, Ludovic Landolt presents two sound pieces which, even though they were created with different modes of expression and forms, both rely on the vast sound and musical object of study and fascination that is the bell.

Domglockenschrott - electroacoustic installation, 2023 - bronze shell casings (105mm), digital lutherie (Modalys software, IRCAM), real-time assisted sound composition (Max software) - Ludovic Landolt

Domglockenschrott is an electroacoustic installation broadcasting at a regalur interval a ringtone composed of the souvenir of three iconic bells, which have been destroyed from Trier's sound landscape. In order of appearing from the lowest to the highest tune, Helena (1628-1944), Maternus (1516-1944) et Hosanna (1500-1951). Taken from their towers by the martial administrations, they are melted to serve as "canon fodder" to feed the empires' war machine, their precious metal being necessary in the weapons factories. 

Composed of a serie of loudspeakers put inside bronze shell casings, the piece, even though it came from a patient archiving work, doesn't ambition to be fully faithfull to the original sounds of the Cathedral. The remelting of Helena, Maternus and Hosana is a difficult initiative and the IRCAM Centre Pompidou was sollicitated as partner in order to digitally model the necessary physical properties (acoustical and metallurgical) to the making of this digital bells melting.

During the Second World War and despite the very rich german medieval history of bells that already survived numerous european conflicts, Hosana was exploited for the war by the Germans as metal. Ironnically, it was temporarily saved from the Allies' bombings because it was never transformed into a shell. On the other hand, Helena and Maternus were broken during 1944's bombings of August the 14th, accelerating the fall of all the sister bells preserved inside the bell tower. Postwar, the probably orphan Hosanna was melted, and finally, 80 years after their disapearing, only the small bell from 1682 is still exposed today under the Cathedral's cloitre.

Even though this mateial and immaterial patrimoine has definitively disappeared, taking the city's original sound signature away, registers have been preserved, informing us about their profil, their tuning and their geometry. Thanks to this data, Robert Piéchaud, research engineer at IRCAM's S3AM lab, worked with very speciallised computational tools developped at IRCAM, mainly the software Modalys, in order to revive their phantomatic presence. These sound modelising tools, as sophisticated as they are, invit us to humbly face all the precision of the bells' smelters artisanal science, which often keep the secret of their shaping process. From this metallurgist's digital high-flying work, the entry hall of the Kunsthalle gallery transforms into a bell tower.

© Unknown Fotografer - Trier's Cathedral - Helena and Maternus [courtesy of Sebastian Schritt & Bistumsarchiv Trier]

Kugelhopfsänger - ready-made, sound sculpture (bell) kougelhopf teflon mold, beech, solenoide, arduino 60x20cm, 2016 - Ludovic Landolt

Kugelhopfsänger attempts to realize, yet without fully conscience, a true mecanised bell. Fruit of the misappropriation of the germanic and alsatian traditional folklorik cake mold, the bell in kougelhopf shape is itself activated thanks to an electromagnetic device fixed on a cherry wood plate. It is programed to ring at a regular rate and according to an appearing mode defined in advance integrating the gallery's staff in charge of the visitors' welcoming.

Kugelhopfsänger is a piece assuming the lightness of a proper cake mold to monitor the physiological impact of bell rings onto the attention and perception of time of the users' of the Kunsthalle. The piece proposes to create a peculiar listening situation where the impact serie provoked by the ringing of the bell invits visitors and staff to hold their breath and tune their breathing to the beats of the flapper against the teflon. The unexpected acoustic properties of the kougelhopf mold are revealed through a magnetic mecanism hitting directly the teflon surface. The attaks challenge the alerted spirits and invits to converge around the Sänger while provoking the listeners to take an active listening posture.