Sound

Heaven in clouds

2012

The ‚Nightsky‘ photographs show the misty night sky over a Chinese metropolis, lit up by reflected light of giant LED-advertisment boards. In collaboration with the programmer and experimental musician Jörg Koch, the digital information of the photograph was manipulated and the RGB colours of the photographs were transformed into sounds. In combination with field recordings, that I made in China, a 20 minute sound piece was created.

Video

  • Videoportrait 1

    2011

    Single-Channel HD-Video

    5 minutes (no sound)

  • Videoportrait 6

    2011

    Single-Channel HD-Video

    5 minutes (no sound)

  • Videoportrait 13

    2011

    Single-Channel HD-Video

    5 minutes (no sound)

  • Videoportrait 26

    2011

    Single-Channel HD-Video

    5 minutes (no sound)

  • Wall of Dust

    2010

    Single-Channel HD-Video installation

    4 minutes (no sound)

  • Illuminated City

    2010

    Single-Channel HD-Video installation

    6 minutes (no sound)

  • Man under a Bridge

    2011

    Single-Channel HD-Video installation

    6.03 minutes (no sound)

  • A house for the Dead

    2011

    Single-Channel HD-Video installation

    9.28 minutes (no sound)

Introduction

In glowing red letters, the neon installation shines out at the viewer:

“Heaven in Clouds.”

“Heaven in Clouds” – the name of a modern Chinese residential quarter for affluent inhabitants can be read as a promise, a metaphor for setting off for a new, paradisiacal world.
“Heaven in Clouds” is also the title of a new work by Peter Granser in which he confronts urbanization, the exponential growth of Chinese cities and its impact on their inhabitants and on nature. The big city is the promise of salvation of our day. The hope for better living conditions has led world metropolises to swell to enormous proportions over the last few decades. This trend is particularly pronounced in China, where there are already more than 170 cities with a population of over one million. Official estimates forecast that the number will rise to 240 by the year 2015. This high population density and concentration in dimensions never before witnessed by humankind will undoubtedly have dramatic consequences, leading to a plethora of ecological, economic and social problems.

In three diptychs – “The City Center,” “The Urban Residential Area” and “The Outskirt” – Peter Granser captures with his sensitive gaze the signs of rampant urbanization, combining these images with photographs of the illuminated night sky.
These dark skies are streaked through and through with trails of color, an effect that is heightened by the presentation of the photographs in lightboxes. The multiple colors cast by gigantic neon signs and LED advertisements enliven the urban nightscape, creating a poetic panorama. This is an ambivalent form of beauty, resulting as it does from the interplay of heavily polluted air and the reflected lights.
The works are accompanied by a multilayered sound installation created in collaboration with the programmer and experimental musician Jörg Koch. Koch has developed a program that is able to scan the digital RGB image files pixel by pixel. Combined with Granser’s field recordings of the city, the resulting sound collage translates the luminous multicolored manifestations in the night sky into increasingly intense sounds, seeming to make them audible.

The promise of consumption and prosperity whispered by the tantalizing hues of the radiant advertising signs is fulfilled only for a lucky few. Granser is interested instead in the other urban denizens, those excluded from the rise in wealth – in 15 portraits they put a human face on the city. Silent and still, they look out at the viewer; only the pulse that can be seen beating at their throats, a quick blink, and their quiet and regular breathing reveal the images to be video portraits. Granser explores here the passing of time in a photographic shot. This opens up a new way of looking at those portrayed, at the time that goes by as they gaze into the camera – while simultaneously decelerating the rapid pace of change.
Westerners tend to see the Chinese population as an enormous mass of humanity – Granser deliberately focuses his lens on the individual. Each five-minute video portrait reveals personality and individuality, but also stoic integration in Chinese society.

In the accompanying video work “Wall of Dust” four men watch as a cloud of dust slowly spreads before them. It pushes them to the background where finally, separated from the unfolding events, they are left behind on a pile of debris. Juxtaposed with the video is the work “Lichter” – a blurred nighttime sea of lights as allegory for the fleeting promise of the big city.