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  • Writer's pictureMurat Ali Cengiz

Kunsthal Workshop 2022

The Musicographics projects had it's first workshop in 2022 at Kunsthal during the Rotterdam Architecture Month 2022 thanks to the support and funding by the foundation of Fleur Groenendijk and Kunsthal.

With the participation of 5 musicians, students and young professionals and 4 visual designers; architects, photographers and data engineers, we studied the design and the perception of the lovely exhibition space, Kunsthal by Rem Koolhas.

We had four days in total to create music together, inspired by the haptic, acoustic, visual and design qualities of the spaces within the building. Since some of the participants couldn't be present in all the days, we worked hard at the Kunsthal LAB to produce compositions every session.

The compositions of the workshop can be summarized in two categories; daily compositions and a final composition. Most of the daily compositions were based on the atrium space, due to limited amount of time.

On the first day, all participants were left to observe the auditorium space. The most striking detail for everyone was the asymmetrical nature of the height of the space, getting narrower and narrower as you reach the top.

The first composition, "2 Views" was drawn out by Roswitha Abraham and performed by Johannes Fend and Jonathan Ho Chin Kiat on the double bass. The composition was in two parts depicting one journey going up the ramp and one journey going down.Their performance notes included;

- The hall cramping in as you reach the top while the angled pillars creating a regularity.

- The ramp as a glissando technique.

- F# sound of the ventilation system as a drone sound on the bass

- Raindrops on the windows as a pizzicato technique.

- A child as an observer, moving around and making curious sounds.

On the same day, photographer Emre Namlı made a video-score based on the reflection of light on the auditorium windows. Depending on the nature of the reflection and the reflection of light, bassists Jonathan Nagel and Jonathan Ho Chin Kiat interpreted the video.

On the following day the participants were left free to observe all the exhibition spaces within the Kunsthal to study the relationship between and through the spaces. At that moment there were the following exhibitions to observe:

Hall 1: Claude Cahun, "Under the skin", French writer, artist, photographer and activist.

Hall 6: Marlau Fernanda, "Like me now, ego death" a site specific work.

Hall 4: Erkan Özgen, "Off the record", photography exhibition on war.

Hall 5: Federico Estol, "Shine Heroes", photography exhibition of the shoe shiners in Bolivia.

Hall 6

For the following days, data engineer Gorkem Tosun and architect Maria Beril Kubin worked on a graphic notation that would create a timeline between all the exhibition spaces within the Kunsthal. Starting from the top floor, Hall 5, continuing to Hall 4, reaching the atrium, moving on to Hall 1 and ending at the Hall 6, the Marlau Fernanda exhibition.

The detail that caught the eye of most of the participants was the use of light in all these spaces. On the top floor, Hall 4&5 had artificial lightning and cold hues, the atrium had nominal day light illuminating the space. Hall 1 had dramatically low and carefully controlled lighting. Once you move out through the curtains in Hall 1 and move to Hall 6, you are welcomed by extremely bright and focused sunlight on the ramp.

As the piece they composed was going to be performed by three musicians simultaneously, t three different aspects of this route was given to each performer. These different aspects were:

1- The observer (red): The hypothetical person moving through this timeline. Changing pace and tempo

2- The structural elements (yellow): Columns, separator walls, curtains etc.

3- Lighting (blue): Natural and artificial.

Hall 5 & Hall 4, making up part "A". Spaces divided rigidly and illuminated by artificial light. A lot of sitting was in the observer's movement.

Connecting stairs between Hall 5,4 and the atrium space. The irregular rhythm of the staircase would change the tempo of the observer while the light was effected by the translucent plexiglass windows.

The atrium. The observer would speed down to the bottom while passing across structural elements like columns (yellow) and seating. The natural light coming through wide glass windows would be blocked by the angled columns repeated every few meters.

A small staircase and a connecting piece between the atrium and Hall 1. An in-between area of natural and artificial light

Hall 1. Very carefully controlled dim lighting. The fractal nature of the exhibits and tree-like columns (yellow) creates an organic feeling.

An in between area when you move out of Hall 1 to Hall 6. Very bright and focused natural sunlight (blue) welcomes you. Wireframed windows.

Hall 6. The observer (red) has to climb up, slowing down. Bright sunlight (blue) divided very weakly by the linear structural window supports (yellow).

At the end we had a combined "Musicographic" like this:

With careful collaboration between the designers and the performers and going back and forth between the sections and the concepts, a final performance was recorded which can be seen below together with the notaiton.

This was the ending of the workshops for the participants. We had three days of input and output across disciplines and had a great opportunity to experience a well designed space with different concepts in mind. The whole workshop was concluded the next day by a presentation by me, Murat Ali Cengiz.

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