Courtesy Andri Stadler, 2022

Exhibiton Text 
text: Sabrina Negroni

(original version in german)

Martina Lussi (*1987) creates installations and compositions through a variety of sonic material. Her artistic practice is based around the act of listening. Her soundscapes invite the listener to walk through them.

Lussi's artistic practice has been concerned with field recordings. Recordings of sounds that are not specifically produced, natural sound events or found soundscapes outside of a recording studio. Currently she is particularly interested in recordings of natural or environmental sounds, which she captures with the help of a portable recording device and different types of microphones. Being still and reducing one's own movement and noises plays an important role in this process. The question arises to what extent the noises produced by the artist itself can be included in the recordings. Body sounds are characterized by the acoustic expression of physiological or processes of the human body. Various sound phenomena are created: heart, breathing, joint or swallowing sounds. But also the sounds of materials such as clothing are an important part of the auditory experience.

Such sounds are often suppressed. We know such processes also from buying headphones that advertise «noise cancelling». Headphones that can eliminate ambient sound with the help of a computer chip. In Martina Lussi's case, such unwanted and disturbing background noises become the main actors.

At sic! Elephanthouse, Lussi is showing a new work. The sound installation «The Listener» is based on studio recordings of Lussi's self-generated jacket noises, which are caused by friction, grasping or rustling of the different textures of the jackets. Four different jackets, whose surface and texture sound and feel different were each put on by Lussi for 10 minutes and where explored sonically by moving around. The results are four sound tracks, which are played on four loudspeakers, so that a new random composition, a new sonic environment is created in the exhibition space. The jackets become the main instrument and their use creates a space that goes beyond the sonic documentation.


Text: Sabrina Negroni

Martina Lussi (*1987) kreiert Installationen und Kompositionen aus einer Vielzahl unterschiedlicher Klangfragmenten und bearbeitetem akustischem Material. Dabei basiert ihre künstlerische Herangehensweise hauptsächlich auf dem Akt des Zuhörens. Ihre vielfältigen Soundlandschaften laden zum Flanieren ein.

Bisher beschäftigte sich Lussi in ihrer künstlerischen Praxis mit Field Recordings. Es sind Aufzeichnungen von nicht eigens erzeugten Klängen, natürlichen Schallereignissen oder vorgefundenen Klanglandschaften ausserhalb eines Tonstudios. Ihr Interesse liegt insbesondere in Aufnahmen von Natur- beziehungsweise Umgebungsgeräuschen, die sie mithilfe von portablen Aufnahmegeräten realisiert. Das Still sein und reduzieren der eigenen Bewegungsgeräusche spielt dabei eine wichtige Rolle. Es stellt sich die Frage, inwiefern die eigens produzierten Geräusche in den Aufzeichnungen von Naturaufnahmen Platz finden. Körpergeräusche zeichnen sich durch den akustischen Ausdruck von physiologischen oder Vorgängen des menschlichen Körpers ab. So entstehen diverse Schallphänomene: Herz-, Atem-, Gelenk- oder Schluckgeräusche. Aber auch die Geräuschkulisse von Materialien wie die der Kleidung ist ein wichtiger Teil der Hörerfahrung.

Solche Geräusche werden oftmals unterdrückt. Wir kennen solche Rauschunterdrückungsverfahren beim Kauf von Kopfhörern, die mit «Noise Cancelling» werben, d.h. die Kopfhörer können mithilfe eines Computerchips den Umgebungsschall eliminieren. Bei Martina Lussi werden solche ungewollten und störenden Nebengeräusche zu Hauptakteuren.

Im sic! Elephanthouse zeigt Lussi eine neue Arbeit. Die Klanginstallation «The Listener» basiert auf Studioaufnahmen von Lussi's selbst verursachten Jackengeräuschen, die durch Reibung, Greifen oder Rascheln der unterschiedlichen stofflichen Beschaffenheit der Jacken verursacht wurden. Vier unterschiedliche Jacken, dessen Oberfläche und Textur sich andersartig anhören und anfühlen wurden von Lussi je während 10 Minuten angezogen und mittels eigener Bewegung klanglich erforscht. Entstanden sind vier Klangspuren, die auf vier Lautsprechern abgespielt werden, sodass eine zufällige Komposition, eine neue klangliche Umgebung im Ausstellungsraum entsteht. Die Jacken werden zum Hauptinstrument und ihre Verwendung erzeugt einen Raum, der über die klangliche Dokumentation hinausgeht.

Press Text of the compilation:

When you listen to birds, they usually talk about food, sex/family, or anxiety. If they knew about the true nature of humanity's cruel and exploitative relationship with birds, they would be discussing rebellion. Humanity's current trajectory about birds is to cause the extinction of one-third of all bird species by the end of this century.

This record crystallises the borders between memory, beauty, and anxiety. At the core is an amalgam of all the birds we have met and heard, their sounds synthesised from a blend of memories. Esthetically it simulates the qualities of bird sounds, hitting similar frequential sweet spots. There is a great variety of birds captured here, from high to low frequencies, from solo voices to groups, from birds standing on their own to complex world-building, where the bird voices are part of an ecosystem, becoming one of the instruments.

You could stop there, enjoying this record on a musical level, but it invites us to do one step further, to consider reconfiguring our relationship with the Earth and its inhabitants. To question our impact, and to ask why we need synthetic bird music. Is it just a visionary endeavour or is it because we are failing at fostering a world in which organic birds and other creatures can thrive?

32 artists from the whole world, including our favourite artists from Eastern Europe, have contributed to this compilation both with new and previously released music. Their music is ordered from dawn to dusk and into the night. For many of the artists it's their first time on mappa, but some have previously released an album with us.

Profits from the record will be donated to the SOS/BirdLife Slovakia, organisation protecting the bird biotops by river Ipeľ, in south of Slovakia, where mappa has been formed.  

«The Listener» was later released as a shortened stereomix version of the installation piece on the compilation

«Synthetic Bird Music»

Compiled by Jakub Juhás (mappa)

RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2023
FORMAT: Casette / digital
MASTERING: Adam Badí Donoval
ARTWORK & DESIGN: Roberta Di Paolo
LABEL: mappa


ARTISTS: Jonáš Gruska, Dialect, Makakinho do Amor, Baldruin, Olli Aarni, Øyvind Torvund, Vic Bang, Grykë Pyje, Tomutonttu, Native Instrument, HMOT, Artificial Memory Trace, Floris Vanhoof, JAB, Cheryl E. Leonard, Mike Cooper, Matthias Puech, Enchanted Lands, Ursula Sereghy, Ecka Mordecai & Malvern Brume, Banana (Alexandra Spence & MP Hopkins), Rie Nakajima, Martina Lussi, James Rushford, Maria Komarova, Misha Kurilov, Kate Carr, Infant, Andrew Pekler, Atte Elias Kantonen, Kensho Nakamura, Felicity Mangan