Robert Henke

Fragile Territories

May 10May 25, 2013

We are sorry to announce that this installation has been canceled. We regret any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at other events, installations, and exhibitions.

Using a state-of-the-art laser system to draw with four high-speed dots of light, Fragile Territories creates morphing patterns of volatile luminosity. The process responsible for creating these shapes operates on the idea of uncertainty and change: a computer program evaluates statistical data, grabs momentary states, and feeds them back into its own system; what is displayed and made audible cannot be entirely predicted and will never repeat itself. The sound generation and path of light are both divined from the same program, and are two representations of the same process. The work is constructed around repetitive elements on varying time scales as well as on slow transitions between parameters and states using weighted random functions, thus adding to the notion of instability and potential failure.

Argeo Ascani

Robert Henke is a composer, sound designer, software developer, installation artist, and audiovisual performer. His art is focused on carefully shaped details and gradual changes of repeating structures in different time scales. He explores new technologies such as wave field synthesis and ambisonics, and makes use of large-scale high-resolution projections or laser systems to create situations of total immersion and either decouple the spatial experience from a given space or enhance its inherent properties. His interest in the combination of art and technology is evident in his contributions to the development of the Ableton Live music software in 1999.

Henke’s performances and installations have been shown at the Tate Modern in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MUDAM in Luxembourg, PS1 in New York, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, and the Sonar Festival Barcelona, among others. He has released more than 20 albums, and his work, Layering Buddha, received an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica in 2007.

Henke also writes and lectures about sound and the creative use of computers. He is a professor of sound design at the Berlin University of Arts, and is the 2013 Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford University.

Robert Henke
Studio 1—Goodman
May 10May 25, 2013

“Nothing is stable. Things change because they are observed; they change because everything is constantly moving, at least on a microscopic scale. The static world is an illusion. States fall apart and so do houses, mountains, and relationships. New structures do emerge; the universe is a constant morphing entity full of motion.

Why are watching fireworks so satisfying? The moment of the most magnificent beauty is the turning point, where it all collapses. Without our memories, without the persistence of vision and the reverb of the sounds we heard, it would all be meaningless.”
—Robert Henke


EMPAC 2012-2013 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by continuous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the New York State Council for the Arts; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, and Fond for Utøvende Kunstner.

National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
National Science Foundation
State of the Arts - NYSCA