Artist Profile: Torsten Lauschmann

25 July 2012 | 5:00 am | Kate Kingsmill

Five minutes with Torsten Lauschmann.

At The Heart Of Everything A Row Of Holes is German artist Torsten Lauschmann's immersive surround-theatre event that involves flying carpets, pianos that play themselves, and mechanical monkeys and mice that create music. 

It first stunned audiences when it was shown at the Glasgow Film Festival last year and won the inaugural UK Margaret Tait Award for artists working with the moving image. Despite its inventiveness, Lauschmann himself reckons, “I don't think it's innovative. Expanded cinema has been around as long as there have been moving images, I guess even longer if you want to include the Panorama. In a similar way to the Panorama, I wanted to include the whole cinema as a projection surface. I therefore use a 360-degree moving projector, which I can position exactly at certain points of the performance. There is a player piano at the core of the piece which is synced to the performance and I also use the surround sound to position sounds in space.” For the audience, says Lauschmann, “There is a lot of head turning to do. I hope it makes the audience reflect on the act of watching a film and its conventions, which the piece is trying to communicate on one level.”

Lauschmann's photographic background led to working in video and music, and he had been working on the idea for the project in various forms such as iPhone and projections for years, so he says this incarnation of the performance is a natural progression. “I am very interested in the theoretical side of image making, its materials and various technologies from pigments to silicon chips. At The Heart Of Everything A Row Of Holes comes from a title of a review of William Gaddis's book Agape Agape by Wolfgang Fuhrmann,” says Lauschmann. “The 'holes' refer to the punched holes of the player piano's paper rolls, as well as to punched cards used in Jaquard's looms and the early stages of the modern computer. It talks about the replacement of the person or performer by a program. Perfection without mistakes, probably unlike my performance....”

At The Heart Of Everything A Row Of Holes by Torsten Lauschmann runs from Friday 3 August, 4pm - 7pm, an ACCA event to coincide with the Melbourne Art Fair 2012, National Theatre.