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Alva Noto

  • German artist
  • Born 1965

Carsten Nicolai (September 18, 1965), known as Alva Noto, is a German musician. He is a member of the music groups Diamond Version with Olaf Bender (Byetone), Signal with Frank Bretschneider and Olaf Bender, Cyclo with Ryoji Ikeda, ANBB with Blixa Bargeld and Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto with whom he composed the score for the 2015 film The Revenant.


When I define polarities in my work, I actually create the space between things. I point to the question I am actually interested in, without naming it.




I usually create sounds and have different generators running over it. You know you can open a word-file as a picture or the other way round. I do the same with sounds.




It is such a complex matter we live within, it is impossible to track logic and decision making really, so therefore each choice can actually only be seen as coincidence.




One often thinks that using 2 different things like visual and sound lead to 2 different conclusions - to a different content - but in in my case it is all one.




There is always room for coincidence.




It is important for me that a certain depth and variety of both exist next to each other. I am very careful not to sacrifice the one for the other.




I made a lot of different experiments with tapes at that time, until I finally realized around 1995, that sound is an interesting subject for me. Ever since then sound got more and more integrated into my art works, musically as well as physically.




The subject of my work has a lot to do with general, artistic matters, questions like: What is creativity? Where do we come from? What are our motors? What is coincidence? What is logic?




Every individual decision is nothing but coincidence, every artistic decision is coincidence.




I try to keep a balance between conceptional or intellectual comprehension and emotional understanding.




You cannot always make such big exhibitions, because they consume too much time and energy.




I always try hard to arrange all media in a way so that it expresses what I want - this is not limited to one medium alone and varies from case to case.




Starting off, all options are always open, but as soon as you choose something, you inevitably limit yourself. If you go for B, A is out.




Some things can be perfectly expressed by sound alone and images would only be disturbing. Other times, sound would be possible, but visuals are much stronger and closer to what I want to express and then again, they sometimes overlap perfectly.



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