iftaf - institute for transacoustic research

the paradox of transacoustics can be found in that the transacoustic, per se,
withdraws from definition, presenting something that, quite possibly, is not



the institute for transacoustic research (iftaf) was founded in 1998 to define and research transacoustics. iftaf is a platform for the ear training arts/sciences and auditory phenomenology. it explores the borders between acoustics and their tangential realms: science and art, everyday life and research, sound and noise, tone and light, acoustic and other modes of perception. by permanently changing the auditory angle and continual reinterpretation of the manner of hearing, the borders of the acoustic and the audible can be expanded beyond the threshold of perception. reacquiring the capacity of listening (for the sake of listening) breaks open socially-induced functional deafness and expands the acoustic horizon.

iftaf uses structures which correlate with those of a scientific institute. it is divided into several departments working with various thematic emphases including: auditive phenomenology, social acoustics, vegetable sound research, translinguistics, visual music, experimental instrument skills, bioacoustics, demography, and kleptoacoustics. these departments have an open structure without hierarchical character. on the contrary, they are rhizomatically bound.

iftaf is made up of:
    archives (audio-library, library)
    radio shows
    events (concerts, parties)
    excursions, study trips, expeditions
    publication of transacoustic texts
    web pages
    congresses, symposiums
    contacts to other institutions in austria and abroad
    listening booths
    label (iftaf records)
    transacoustic labor/studio
    acoustic guerilla
    readings, rehearsals, seminars, workshops

transacoustic research

the character of transacoustic research is not purely scientific, but also artistic, comprising a form of "audio art." transacoustic research carries out science by means of art and art by means of science. the antiquated differentiation of these two areas is rejected and methods and settings from both areas are combined to arrive at unique lines of connection and division.

transacoustic research is concerned with the peripheral effects and tangential areas of acoustics, with their borders to other areas of research. the contours and definitional borders are necessarily blurred and vague. transacoustics presents something which is basically, nothing. it can and should not be defined in the sense of something laid down in writing. transacoustics as such, does not exist; there is only transacoustic research, which constantly circles its imaginary core and thereby arrives at the most diverse results and realizations. the question of the essence of transacoustics is as impossible to answer as the question of art or philosophy's essence. the success, productivity and efficiency of transacoustic research do not depend on finding an answer to this question.

transacoustic research is always looking for that which is new, unusual. it is not concerned with detailed formulations, but, rather, hinting at ideas, research and experiments. transacoustic research - as one of the acoustically "transcendent" areas of research and methods, should be understood as a view, a principle, an "acoustic perspective," a hearing device for the perception of incomprehensible acoustical events, or as a style of perception, and less as a narrowly defined scientific discipline with a clearly outlined field of research.

a crucial characteristic of transacoustic research is its interdisciplinary approach. people from various disciplines and areas of life (philosophy, fine arts, music, poetry, dance, theatre, electronics-technology, medicine, physics, psychology, etc) meet together and collaborate to formulate the transacoustic. in this way, interesting synergy and alienating effects arise which generate unusual results. "trans" can and should build a bridge between various lifestyles and people. iftaf is not interested in concretizing a space, but, rather, in forming networks and enabling people with similar ways of thinking to come into contact with each other.

it is an illusion to assume that artistic or scientific work can take place in isolation from political and social contexts. for this reason, iftaf cannot and does not want to evade its political duty and feels obligated to take a public stand as well as reflect and incorporate social and political contexts into its own work. but our field of research is, by definition, transacoustics, which means that the work and the methods will proceed mainly from this base. political work is merely a by-product of transacoustic research (department social acoustics), just as the vegetable orchestra is a by-product of the vegetable sound research. within the concept of transacoustics, however, these by-products are attributed the same value as the actual research work, which in the end is possibly even carried out with the goal of creating such by-products.


hearings are given a special value in transacoustic research. they contribute significantly to the more precise circumscription and investigation of the field of research and at the same time mediate this to an interested audience. hearings are normally held on the premises of the institute. sometimes, however they take place at unusual sites (such as a piano cemetery). in the framework of the hearings, experiments and projects are presented which display a transacoustic character. the hearings are meant to offer various artists a platform for the presentation and discussion of their works and at the same time stimulate exchange with other artists... the contributions presented are mainly from the area of audio art and experimental music. there are, however, also collaborations and individual contributions from the fine arts, literature, humanities, dance, musical theatre, performance, electronics-technology, etc.

hearings include experiments in digital sound poetry. by limiting the base material to voice samples, the border between music and poetry becomes fluid. collage and montage are applied by computer to concrete speech/sound material. the realm of literature and language is thus liberated from the compulsion of writing and notation. this option is made possible by digital aids which are superior to analogue systems and the corresponding processes in their flexibility and ability to intervene in the sound. some processes, for example, constant reworking and microscopic cuts are even first made possible by these tools. in this way, literature is opened to linguistic sounds which, on the one hand, are not able to be noted down and on the other, would probably have never otherwise arisen.

hearings include performances of the first viennese vegetable orchestra. the orchestra is made up of nine people active in various artistic areas who work together on developing instruments and creating compositions with particular value being placed on the plurality of the musical styles. the instruments consist exclusively of vegetables although additional kitchen utensils such as knives or mixers are employed when necessary. this creates an autonomous and totally novel type of sound which cannot be compared with conventional sound conceptions. the preliminary work for practices and concerts is elaborate as all instruments must be bought and produced anew. the social structure of a traditional orchestra is reflected, imitated and adjusted to the stylistic necessities of the individual pieces. after the concert, the stage is left to the cooks who then work the instruments into a tasty vegetable soup which the audience and musicians consume together. the concert's audience thereby has the possibility of once again enjoying what they have just heard.

> hearings are part of the institute for transacoustic research's comprehensive strategy for transforming and further developing society.
> hearings counter the one-sided orientation of the media and entertainment industries toward easily swallowed and comfortably consumed products.
> hearings battle the hegemony of the added value of the image as opposed to the word and sound.
> hearings concretize the transacoustic.
> hearings are.

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