I/Osonic, the Weimar contribution to the international net art project 'Sound Drifting - I silenzi parlano tro loro' could be heard in Weimar and surroundings as a permanent sound installation. It lasted for more than 108 hours from the evening of 01.09.1999 until the morning of 06.09.1999. OnSite - by means of an eight-channel installation in the attic of the Limona; OnAir - via the local university radio on 106.6 MHz VHF and cable-net on 107.25 MHz; and OnLine (mono) on the Internet via MPEG3 and RealAudio streams.
The three different elements shared a common source: the sound streams received via the Internet from the other 'Sound Drifting' projects plus the 'Weimar Sound Landscape'. There were three of the audio streams from the Sound Drifting projects fed into the I/Osonic system at all times. Two of these streams were processed in real time by means of granular synthesis while the third - usually the stream from "A MIC", the open microphone of the Belgrade sub-project - was mixed in directly and unprocessed. The sound from the 'Weimar Sound Landscape' was provided by four directional microphones positioned outside on the balconies on the corners of the Limona's roof.
The 'instruments' of the granular synthesis received their material by browsing automatically through the sound streams of the sub-projects. The synthesis of other sounds from this material was in constant flux as the parameters of the instruments varied continuously between numerous fixed settings. The decision as to which settings to select took place in accordance with different random mathematic alogarithms. Throughout I/Osonic neither the setting of the automated systems for processing the sound and, in the case of the OnSite Installation, for moving the sound, nor the position of the microphones were changed.
The sound installation space on the glass roof of the
'Limona', a former soft-drink factory at Steubenstrasse
8 in the centre of Weimar, was open to the public 24
hours , around the clock. For the installarion in the
Limona roof, the mix (described above) was audible
by means of an eight-channel speaker matrix which allowed
the sounds to be moved around the room in accordance
with certain patterns. Thus, it was possible to audibly
differentiate the finely-meshed net of the sound structures
in spite of the frequent occurrence of background noise.
The glass walls of the Limona roof, on the sixth floor
, offered a magnificent view of the entire city.
The four directional microphones were visibly installed
and the sounds recorded on the street below as well
as the distant, but identifiable, sound marks of the
city - such as the bells of the palace tower or of
the Herder church - could be directly related to the
visible and audible exterior space. Two computers connected
to the internet informed the visitors to the installation
about the entire project.
In order to expand I/Osonic into the visual public space
of the Weimar region - and to inform people about the
I/Osonic installation and media activities - the group
responsible for graphic design produced and distributed
6,000 postcards and flyers and 300 screen-printed DIN
The radio version was broadcast as a radio sculpture
in a special stereo mix in which the possibilities
of the movement of sound were adapted to the radio
medium. The radio and net transmissions were also broadcast
around the clock, interrupted only by rare and short
information spots about 'Sound Drifting'. These journalistic
contributions - previously broadcast in the area of
Erfurt-Weimar by the free radio stations 'RadioFrei'
and 'RadioLotte' - were produced and narrated by participants
who worked primarily on the I/Osonic radio manifestation.
On the Internet I/Osonic ran a public web site as a
form of manifestation by which the sound stream from
Weimar could be selected in various stages of compression.
The page informed about the Weimar participation and
offered links to all sub-projects; they, in turn, were
supplied with the I/Osonic mix by means of a server
belonging to the project.
I/Osonic, Weimar 's contibiution to Sound Drifting,
was organised as university project run by students.
The foundation for participation in such a project
was laid in 1997 when three students of the group 'Netzklang'
began to co-operate in and from the telecommunications
media. This research was inspired and greatly influenced
by the Austrian radio program 'Kunstradio' with projects
such as 'Horizontal Radio' and 'Immersive Sound'. Following
the invitation to participate in Sound Drifting, an
interdisciplinary group around 'Netzklang' was formed
and organised in a decentralised manner. After a joint
evaluation of the available resources, the partial
areas were divided among sub-groups who worked independently.
The problems and developments arising, in particular
in the field of editing, were discussed jointly twice
a week. Hence, the design and web-design groups co-operated
closely to create for I/Osonic a uniform visual image
As the result of intense communication, combined with
the self-determined work of each and every one, it
was possible to achieve a result which came as a surprise
to all participants. Both on the technical as well
as on the individual personal level the experience
of the project was very rewarding for everyone involved
as the major part of what we were doing was new and
being tried for the first time. The sound system itself
was laid out in a way that made it impossible to anticipate
what I/Osonic would ultimately sound like. Hence, we
were all excited to realise that we had created something
by which it had become possible to experience 'Sound
Drifting' in Weimar as a global net art event with
the participating sound artists continuously supplying
different sound material to the net.
The last day of the broadcasting week: I was on night
duty feeling tired and decided to lie on my back in
the circle of speakers - in my half-asleep state the
sounds were woven into images and I felt an incredible
notion of being able to listen with all my senses into
an immeasurable space - thanks to a network reaching
across the world; as if I were a secret listener who
had silently entered a huge and pulsating organism
able to hear noises from within a large body. And below,
underneath the stairway, you were in front of the computers
carefully holding this thin thread in place and connecting
our network with the others. To me the whole thing
seemed very much alive, it developed its own mysterious
Martin Bellardi (radio design)
Saskia Benger (graphic design)
Daniel Fischer (web design and server configuration)
Sascha Jaeck (graphic design)
Andreas Krach (organisation and sound system)
Heiko Lochas (sound system)
Jana Rogge (graphic design)
Franka Rose (radio design)
Sebastian Schlunk (web design)
Dr. Ing. Günther Schatter (advice and assistance)
Johannes Sienknecht (organisation and sound system)
Jan Trützschler (sound system)
as well as the system administration staff of the Faculty
for Media (who helped us with many computers) and the
members of the group ' Data Communication Nets'of the
Bauhaus University (who helped us with a lot of band
I/Osonic was produced at SeaM - Studio for electro-accoustic
Music at the Academy for Music "Franz Liszt"
and at the Bauhaus University, both in Weimar - with
particular assistance by the course ' Experimental
Radio' of the Faculty for Media.