Contact Zones

Terra Ignota Forum 2024
Facultades de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile

After collaborations with institutions such as the Ethnological Museum Vienna (Weltmuseum Wien) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago (MAC), the first TIF field lab and forum in Yendegaia National Park in March 2023, the geographical mirrored experience with the field lab in Northern Germany (Rügen, September 2023) and the knowledge transfer and training programme at La Leñera Cultural Centre in Valdivia (December 2023), the different lines of activities – which include fieldwork, research, artistic production, mediation and education – now converge in the Terra Ignota Forum hosted by the Universidad de Magallanes in Punta Arenas.

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SONIC ISLANDS – Mirrored perceptions between Tierra del Fuego + Rügen
March and September 2023

SONIC ISLANDS focuses on the various auditory aspects of the TERRA IGNOTA project and is part of TIF 2023/24. We are interested in the meaning of sound as a semantic system and as a form of artistic articulation. Questions about origin, identity, intercultural understanding but also about perception, legibility and interaction with the environment, social processes and structures beyond visually connoted reference systems are the subject of our joint research. Listening and making audible to stimulate changes of perspective in the process of artistic research and knowledge production as well as in communicating to an audience.

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sonotopia – the sonic explorers (2019 – 2021)

edited by Carsten Seiffarth and Carsten Stabenow
out at norient books!

On the occasion of the Beethoven Anniversary Year and the conclusion of “bonn hoeren”, the international exchange project “sonotopia –
the sonic explorers”, commissioned by the Beethoven Foundation Bonn, sent six young European sound artists on artistic expeditions to four cities on four continents. After one-month residencies in Tehran, Dakar and Valparaíso?/?Bonn, each coupling two of the young European sound artists with two local ones, all twelve of them came together for a joint residency and final exhibition in Bonn at the end of the project.

Els Viaene – Ways of Seeing Sound

a poetic investigation of sound as a physical phenomenon
Exhibition / Lecture-Performance by Els Viaene
Opening with performance: 3 February 2023 / 8PM* (booked out!)
Performance: 4 February 2023 / 8PM* (booked out!)
Exhibition: 5 – 19 February 2023 / 2 – 8pm
Liebig 12 / Liebigstraße 12 / 10247 Berlin /
* limited capacity – no later entry to performance

“Why can’t sounds be visible? Would the feedback from ear to eye cause fatal oscillation?”
(Pauline Oliveros)

What is sound? What is this phenomenon that we can neither see nor touch?
The Belgian artist Els Viaene has been working for over 15 years with the medium of sound – a material that can be captured with recording devices, shaped digitally or analogously. In her large, sometimes space-consuming installations, the sound experience is the end product. According to her perception, however, apparatuses, objects and technologies always stood in the foreground – between her and the sound. She increasingly began to question her working methodology. The longer she worked with sound, the more it eluded her. How could a renewed approach succeed, how does one get a hold of a material that never makes itself visible? These questions were the starting point for a longer research project. She examined sound at its source, approaching it as a physical phenomenon: a vibration, a wave, a change in air pressure. But how and with what can sound be shaped so that it manifests itself as a tangible, visible medium?

At the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century, the natural sciences began to understand sound as a physical phenomenon, to investigate it experimentally and to describe it abstractly.
In 1876, the British researcher John Tyndall published a collection of historical experiments (by himself and other scientists) that summarized the state of knowledge of that time and illustrated it in an impressive way. His particular focus was on the translation and visualization of sound – the communication of the phenomenon in so-called show experiments. Many of the theories he presented for the first time in a collected form are now considered the basis of modern acoustics. The history of the study of sound within the natural sciences formed the starting point for Els Viaene’s investigations. In collaboration with the Ghent University Museum (GUM), she analyzed and reconstructed many of these historical experimental setups.

With the material and findings, Els Viaene returned to her studio and developed a series of new experimental setups in which she transforms sound into something visible.
In a mixture of exhibition, installation and performance, she makes these personal explorations accessible to an audience. Sounds leave traces on surfaces or write figures of light in the dark space. They pulse in precisely choreographed cloud formations and dazzle on surface layers of volatile glycerine membranes. Strings and rods, powder and gas bubbles, mirrors and lasers make sound waves visible. The special fascination lies in the completely analogue reproducibility, which, however, captivates through its magic, especially in the age of the digital. Els Viaene embarks together with the audience on a journey through the history of historical experiments towards her own poetic translations and interpretations.
This exhibition for Liebig 12 is a chamber of wonders where science and sound collide, blurring the concepts of seeing and hearing, the perception of what we see and hear, and their mutual influence.

concept and realisation: Els Viaene
curator: Carsten Stabenow /
technical assistance: Koen Daems
video electronics: Elias Heuninck
light design: Simon Siegmann
support: Torsten Oetken

Thanks to Ghent University Museum and Roland Carchon, Danny Van de Steene, Dirk Eeckhaut
and Allegra Solitude / Liebig12.

Ways of Seeing Sound @ Liebig 12 was funded by initiative neue musik berlin e.V. and Flanders State of the Art.


(Images: Els Viaene, John Tyndall (illustration from “Sound, a course of eight lectures”, 1876) Kobie Nel/Lydgalleriet (balloon)
The first version of this was shown at Lydgalleriet, Bergen/Norway in 2021.


Els Viaene – Ways of Seeing Sound

“Why can’t sounds be visible?
Would the feedback from ear to eye cause fatal oscillation?”
(Pauline Oliveros)

What is sound? What is this phenomenon that we can neither see nor touch, but can touch us?
The Belgian artist Els Viaene has been working for over 15 years with the medium of sound in large scale installations and compositions – the sound experience was always the end product. According to her perception, however, apparatuses, objects and technologies have always stood in the foreground – between her and the sound.
In Ways of seeing sound, she investigated sound at it’s source, approaching it as a physical phenomenon in the moment it is shaped: as vibration, wave, change in air pressure. She analyzed the opto-acoustic experiments collected by John Tyndall around 1876* and reconstructed in collaboration with the Ghent University Museum (GUM) many of the historical setups. Based on that, she developed a series of new experiments and methods to make sound visible and takes us on a journey of perception.
The exhibition for Liebig 12 is a Wunderkammer in which science and sound collide and the concepts of seeing and hearing blur.

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TERRA IGNOTA at Weltmuseum within the framework of the TAKING CARE project

Terra Ignota was invited to participate in residence at Weltmuseum within the framework of the TAKING CARE project, a research carried out between September 20 and November 10. October 2023 Planning to show their results in the “Extinction!?” exhibition that will take place in the Weltmuseum between February 2023 and January 2024. Fernanda Olivares, from the Selk’nam Covadonga Ona Community in Chile, and Nicolás Spencer, artist, participated in the program in collaboration with Claudia Augustat, curator of the South American collection at the Weltmuseum.

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Expeditions in Specific Territory Rostock-Montevideo

In the old secondary ports of Montevideo and Rostock, a paradigmatic characteristic manifests itself: the morphologies of these beautiful centuries-old cities with discreet, elegant architecture and steeped in history; new global ports are assembled on their edges in the Warnow and De La Plata rivers, mechanical monsters standardized by world freight traffic come in scene. This radical encounter between the global and the local appears materialized as a collision. Territorial issue that gives physical clues to the contradictions we inhabit as a new post-industrial and hyper-mercantile era. In 2021 we will place ourselves – understanding post-pandemic care as the new skin of the body – on the uncertain edges.

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CAUS – Content Analysis of Urban Sound, Gdansk

The project was part of Radio Total. Festival of Visual Arts On Air, 4 – 12 September, 2021 in Gdansk, Poland and on air at 91,3 UKF.

The project CAUS is focused on the analysis of urban sound, regarding the information it contains about the city’s identity in past, present and future as well as in the social, environmental and global context. The analysis is carried out by a group of experts who will conduct investigations, theoretical and practical research and experiments.

Artists: Marcin Dymiter PL, Lukasz Pancewicz PL, Julie Myers UK/DE, Carsten Stabenow DE, Krzysztof Topolski PL, Franziska Windisch DE/BE
Curator: Florian Tuercke DE/PL

Some of the observations are documented here >>>


sonic aggregator + sonic placemaking

We are pleased to invite you to the opening of Sonic Aggregator, a collaborative project of Soundtrackcity and Tuned City about sonic placemaking hosted by ABA Air Berlin Alexanderplatz at Haus der Statistik in Berlin – Friday, September 17 – 7pm.
Sonic Aggregator has been long in the making and postponed several times due to covid measures, but finally this project is about to happen! We look forward to meet you at the official opening on 17 September or during one of the events in the week thereafter.  Have a look at the programme and make reservations!

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Terra Ignota – Research Trip III

Almost 100 years ago the artist and explorer Rockwell Kent crossed the Baldivia Chain between Seno Almirantazgo and the Beagle Channel via the Lapataia Valley. His documentation* of the landscape and climate is one of the first descriptions of this passage and serves as an important historic reference. Especially interesting in our context is his perspective as an artist becoming an explorer – sensing, registering, translating and documenting in an unconventional way.

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Terra Ignota

We are working on a new long term artistic research and residency project in the southernmost inhabited region of the planet – Chilean Antarctica, Magallanes, Tierra del Fuego and Última Esperanza.
More info:


sonic explorers

6 young European sound artists will go for one month on project- and research resindcies to Theran/Iran, Dakar/Senegal and Valparaiso/Chile (2 to each place) to work there together as a group with 2 young local artists and a local mentor. These groups will explore the cities from the position of listening. How do cities sound today? How different is listening in other cultures? In the focus of the project lays the artistic examination of urban phenomena from the sonic perspective, their interpretation and transformation with multiple artistic methods.

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Pankow soundwalks

Peter Cusack, Udo Noll, Martyna Poznanska, katrinem and Sam Auinger have created 5 different soundwalks in the Berlin district of Pankow to take place in April, May and June 2019. You are invited to join the artists on the walks and explore Pankow’s unique sonic worlds. What is heard will be discussed en route and afterwards. Some walks are intended for small groups so will be repeated on several occasions.


sonotopia – the sonic explorers

A residency project in Valparaiso/Chile, Dakar/Senegal, Tehran/Iran and Bonn/Germany by bonn hoeren in the frame of Beethoven’s 250th birthday year 

To open up the world for one’s self or to open up one’s self to the world – both processes commence with listening. Our perception of the world “out there” begins with listening, long before we are born. The act of listening is the foundation for every type of communication and social interaction. Both of the latter have to be learned.
In stereophony, as natural a reproduction of reality as possible is created through the spatial shifting of two sound sources. sonotopia – the sonic explorers interprets this shift in perspective metaphorically.

6 young sound artist (former sonotopia prize winners) will undertake a project and research residency in one of the partner cities in 2019. In each city two local artist and a local mentor will join. In 2020 all groups will come together in Bonn, mirroring the process and work towards a final exhibition.

More info soon – stay tuned!


TC Messene 2018 – learn more

Tuned City’s previous milestones Berlin 2008, Tallinn 2011, and Brussels 2013 used to take place in central European metropolises. This year, Tuned City visits Ancient Messene June 1st – 3rd and seeks out the exemplary ‘ideal city’, the ancient Greek polis. See details >>>