Throwback: Linz Steel Symphony

In 1980, electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze opened the Ars Electronica Festival with a concert of live recorded sounds from the Linz steelworks voestalpine.

| | |

Although the city of Linz hoped to cast off the image as a “city of steel”, the steelworks continued to serve as an important topic in many art projects at Ars Electronica well into the new millennium. Media artists-either working directly with the steelworks or relating to them in many ways-thus seemed to be contributing to a collective effort of coming to terms with this part of the history and the present day of Linz. Commissioning the German composer and electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze with a piece relating directly to the voestalpine steelworks for the 1980 Ars Electronica Festival marks the start of this line of art projects in the program of Ars Electronica. His Linz Steel Symphony had tree movements-Largo, Presto and Adagio-and followed the work process in the steel plant with subdivisions featuring “The Glowing ore”, “Now The Casting Can Begin”, “Flickering The Fire Column Rises” and ultimately “Fortunately The Form Is Filled”. For this, Schulze worked with sounds coming live from the steelworks and also featured workers from the steel plant as participants of his composition, which-despite a mainly critical reception-made his piece an significant step in the electronica music relating to industrial sounds in the context of the festival.

In our Throwback series, we take a look back at past events, exhibitions, installations and other exciting happenings from the Ars Electronica universe since 1979.