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North by Northwest

15 April 2005 - 16 May 2005
Cooperation with: European Media Art Festival Osnabrück
Opening: 14 April 2005, 19:00
Presstalk: 13 April 2005, 14:00

Jan-Peter E. R. Sonntag, modern minimal disco (6) (1995-2005)
Jan-Peter E. R. Sonntag, modern minimal disco (6) (1995-2005)
North by Northwest is the first joint project organized by the Edith Russ Site for Media Art and the European Media Art Festival. Both institutions focus their activities on the new media, yet each in their own distinct way.

The thematic focus of this year's EMAF, which will run from April 20-May 15, is the »document«: the artistic work as documentation of the creative process. The Edith Russ Site for Media Art is addressing the festival motto with an installation by the media artist Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag. The installation expands on the notion of "document” by also incorporating the issue of "referentiality” in media art. Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag's work entitled 612.43WEISS, which was created between 2003 and 2005, will depict the unifying element and will be shown in two different versions in Oldenburg and Osnabrück.

While in the specific spaces of the Edith Russ Site in Oldenburg the installation can be experienced in a presentation form common to museums, visitors to Osnabrück's European Media Art Festival will gain access to the work in a very unusual way. Rather than viewing the work in a concrete space, visitors can sit and experience 612.43WEISS as a virtual reality via a video headset and headphones.

The work is based on two historical documents: a photograph of Stalingrad in 1943 and the first recording, made in that same year, of »Der Leiermann« from Schubert's famous »Winterreise« cycle of songs. »Der Leiermann« was sung by the Third Reich's very own baritone, Hans Hotter. In this work, Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag juxtaposes Schubert's imaginary, inner journey, and the intense alienation toward the world felt therein, with »Stalingrad«, which represents both the turning point in World War II and a collective trauma. By incorporating these documents into his work, Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag addresses the relationship between historical material and artworks in general and enables viewers to experience historical contexts in an unusual, aesthetic manner.

The title North by Northwest is a play on words referring to the geographical location of the cities Oldenburg and Osnabrück. Yet of course it also refers to Alfred Hitchcock's film classic, which serves as a model for the exhibition. Thus there will be an opening event to honor the »master of suspense«. The artist and filmmaker Matthias Müller will introduce films and videos that refer to Hitchcock's works and will address the subject of originals and references/copies in artistic approaches in the context of film.

With his new modern minimal disco artwork, Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag offers a counterpoint to his 612.43WEISS. In contrast to that artwork's open structure for associations, this installation is based on – nearly tautological – circular reasoning, which in its continual development has assumed a self-referential structure. A steel pedestal is located in the lower space of the Edith Russ Site for Media Art; a pair of headphones hangs above it. This minimalist sculptural installation enables listeners to hear sounds that accelerate endlessly.


16 April 2005, 19:00

06 May 2005, 10:00

06 May 2005, 19:00

Funded by

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Katharinenstraße 23, D-26121 Oldenburg, Tel.: +49(0)441/235-3208, Fax.: +49(0)441/235-2161
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 14:00 -18:00, Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00, Monday closed
Ein Ausstellungshaus der
Stadt Oldenburg