Symphonie Cinétique is a collaborative piece created by Joachim Sauter and ART+COM, with Icelandic composer and pianist Ólafur Arnalds. The group of artists, designers, engineers and programmers that is Berlin’s ART+COM built five large responsive pieces to create a kinetic composition that translates music into mechanical motion. It took this large interdisciplinary team over five years to create the pieces, which were exhibited at MADE in 2013.
This one one of the first pieces of responsive art that completely captured my interest and made me determined to learn how to create responsive and interactive work. Seeing the designers, and engineers work with the musician to create an instillation over five years is an inspirational moment for interdisciplinary collaboration. I always understood interaction to be “if I kick my work, it should kick me back”, but this piece helped me understand interaction is more than simply action and reaction. The musician and the pieces are creating poetry together, and while both are independently beautiful pieces of art, they create a surreal experience when in harmony.
From what I understand, almost everything ART+COM creates is in house, and for 20 years I believe they would be considered First Word art. Since 1995 ART+COM has been working to visualize concepts that are seem intangible. This is simply another iteration at an attempt to create a physical piece to visualize something we cannot see. While Arnalds has composed for many dances, which one could say the human visual interpretation of music, he has never been able to truly see his music. I imagine both Arnalds and Sauter were inspired by other interpretations of music visualizes and interactive mechanics.