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Artist in Residence Heike Kaltenbrunner
Artist in Residence Heike Kaltenbrunner

Heike Kaltenbrunner has spent the months of Febrary and March 2024 workin in a new technical version of the ‘proximity organ’ (Näherungsorgel). The instrument combines the pipe organ and the Theremin, therefore the pipes are at the same time sound generators and sensors for proximity. A distant position sends a small amount of air through the pipes, which creates soft overtones, fffffrrrrs, humming and hissing, hence getting closer produces a full note sound. The instrument may either be played ‚plain‘ with a direct relation of proximity and amount of wind, or extented with further reaction details. These may be programmed in PD as part of the composition. It offers composers and musicians direct access to overtones and noises. Technically there are three intertwining components: pipes that function as capacitive proximity sensors, hand-made arduino controlled valves that regulate the wind supply in place of an organ’s usual open/close key mechanism and a detailed PD and programming that shapes the interaction. It offers composers and musicians direct access to overtones and noises. The project began in 2022 as a cooperation between of Heike Waldner-Kaltenbrunner and Mathias Lenz and was furher developed in Vienna and Berlin with a team of specialists.