“Sounds are not sounds! They are here to distract the intellect and to soothe the senses. Not once is hearing ‘hearing’: hearing is that which creates me.” Peter Ablinger was born in Schwanenstadt, Austria in 1959. He first studied graphic arts and became enthused by free jazz. He completed his studies in composition with Gösta Neuwirth and Roman Haubenstock-Ramati in Graz and Vienna.
Since 1982 he has lived in Berlin, where he has initiated and conducted numerous festivals and concerts. In 1988 he founded the Ensemble Zwischentöne. In 1993 he was a visiting professor at the University of Music, Graz. He has been guest conductor of Klangforum Wien, United Berlin and the Insel Musik Ensemble.
Since 1990 Peter Ablinger has worked as a freelance musician. Festivals at which Ablinger’s compositions have been performed include the Berlin and Vienna Festwochen, Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, and festivals in Istanbul, Los Angeles, Oslo, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London. The Offenes Kulturhaus Linz, the Diözesanmuseum Köln, Kunsthalle Wien, Neue Galerie der Stadt Graz, the Kunsthaus Graz, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Santa Monica Museum of the Arts, and Haus am Waldsee have shown his installation work over the last few years.
Peter Ablinger is, as Christian Scheib once put it, a “mystic of the Enlightenment” whose “calls and litanies are aimed at cognition.” Ablinger is one of the few artists today who uses noise without any kind of symbolism – not as a signifier for chaos, energy, entropy, disorder, or uproar; not for opposing something, or being disobedient or destructive; not for everything, for eternity, or for what-have-you. As in all these cases of music deliberately involving noise, noise is the case, but for Ablinger: this alone. Ablinger has come a long way in questioning the nature of sound, time, and space (the components usually thought central to music), and his findings have problematized many conventions usually assumed irrefutable. These insights pertain to repetition and monotony, reduction and redundancy, density and entropy. Ablinger is also a skeptic who understands the rules of the culture-game imposed by tradition and (destructive) listening habits: “Yet, let us play further and say: sounds are here in order to hear ( – but not to be heard. That’s something else). And that hearing is here for us to cease/sieze (‘Das Hören ist da um auf-zuhören’). More I can’t say.”
Text: Christian Baier, translated by Bill Dietz
Peter Ablinger: 33-127 (mode 206)