Carsten Nicolai



Future Past Perfect - Parts I, II, IV


Sep 20 07:00 PM

Sep 25 07:00 PM


Cinesphere presented by Air France


Film & Video

Artist Details


Part 1 - Sononda

Sononda is the first part of the short film series future past perfect and was originally recorded in 2006. the series whose single fragments are supposed to be parts of a larger scale film project is designed as a row of conceptually independent movies that document nicolai’s focus of interest of the respective year of origin and also builds up on the results of the movie(s) before. despite sononda's visual quality seems artificial at times, it was shot in a natural environment. the focus is directed on the sculptural quality of light. the correspondence of both music - with its low frequency modulations and merging soundscapes - and light play on the curved surfaces of the sculptural stone formations create an ever-changing atmosphere of concrete and abstract appearances.

Part 2 - Cité Radieuse

In a short cinematic essay, the second part of the series of short movies called future past perfect illustrates the issue of the individual that is brought into line with a vertically organized social structure. shot at le corbusier's unité d'habitation in nantes (also called cité radieuse), the film concentrates on the modular system applied for the residential building which finds its expression down into the smallest details of design: doors, windows, taps, door handles, light switches, etc. constitute the inhabitants living space through their standardised forms. the cinematic result is a combination of consecutive sequences of single images and tracking shots of various details inside the apartments and on the hallways of the apartment block. thereby, both the different benchmarks of standardised production are correlated and the reciprocity of the built-up environment with the inhabitants individual appropriation are examined.

Part 4 - Stratus

conceived as the fourth part of the series under the name future past perfect, the fourth short film of the row is the result of a long-term fascination with clouds, their movements, structure/texture, and their potentially infinite variety of forms. shot from the plane on various trips, the sequences of cloud imagery are edited and collaged in different ways to match the diverse qualities of constitution and behaviour of clouds. the short movie especially focussed on so-called stratus clouds, a category of clouds that usually appears rather flat, hazy and featureless. their visual quality as seen from above may imply micro and macro structures at the same time thus potentially deceives the viewer's perception.

carsten nicolai, born 1965 in karl-marx-stadt, is a german artist and musician based in berlin. he is part of an artist generation who works intensively in the transitional area between music, art and science. in his work he seeks to overcome the separation of the sensory perceptions of man by making scientific phenomenons like sound and light frequencies perceivable for both eyes and ears. influenced by scientific reference systems, nicolai often engages mathematic patterns such as grids and codes, as well as error, random and self-organizing structures. his installations have a minimalistic aesthetic that by its elegance and consistency is highly intriguing. after his participation in important international exhibitions like documenta x and the 49th and 50th venice biennale, nicolai’s works were shown worldwide in extensive solo and group exhibitions. his artistic œuvre echoes in his work as a musician. for his musical outputs he uses the pseudonym alva noto. with a strong adherence to reductionism he leads his sound experiments into the field of electronic music creating his own code of signs, acoustics and visual symbols. together with olaf bender and frank bretschneider he is co-founder of the label 'raster-noton. archiv für ton und nichtton'. diverse musical projects include remarkable collaborations with ryuichi sakamoto, ryoji ikeda (cyclo.), blixa bargeld or mika vainio. nicolai toured extensively as alva noto through europe, asia, south america and the us. among others, he performed at the solomon r. guggenheim museum in new york, the san francisco museum of modern art, centre pompidou in paris and tate modern in london. most recently nicolai scored the music for alejandro gonzález iñárritu’s newest film, 'the revenant' which has been nominated for a golden globe, bafta, and critics choice award.

About The Goethe-Institut:
The Goethe-Institut is the official German cultural centre worldwide. We program arts encounters across the genres, organise residencies together with our local partners, offer international liaison work and consulting. Throughout its network of 159 institutes in 98 countries, the Goethe-Institut promotes European cultural understanding, offers language courses and current information about Germany.