work in progress  

Karel Von Kleist is always working on his next project. Ideas come and (often) go. Whether he can carry them out partly depends on his ability to manipulate materials.

"The imagination is boundless. To find out what you can do in reality, research is vital. You need to work on your skills, whatever your age. I am currently struggling with perspex. Very unruly stuff, hard to cut, difficult to bend. But I've now designed a tool that will finally allow me to do so without breaking it.

Combining disciplines that seem far apart is very exciting.

As a student I worked for a producer of stained-glass windows. The designs were very classical and religious, and I didn't pursue it further, but I'm now beginning to see the possibilities of a cross-over between modern plexiglas and this ancient technique."

Likewise, it is a constant challenge to bring together different media - such as sound and the visual arts - in new ways.

"I'm very attracted to metal. Apart from its technical applications, it sounds (and looks) great (see also Cool Moon). When we were working on the sound composition Too Close to Return (45 minutes) my colleague Joep Vossen drew fabulous sounds from metal objects like a cast-iron heater and car parts. Recently, I've taken this several steps further by using Sennheiser microphones to zoom in on various harmonics in the ausklang of the sound. As I process these recordings in my studio I remove the original attaque from the mix. It's a whole new area, which I am exploring for 'Resonance, Part II', a sound installation."

Another avenue of ongoing discovery is language, and the human voice.

"On the one hand I am working on short stories in combination with soundscapes. But I am also experimenting with pure vocal sounds that do not carry any meaning. Unlike metal and stone and plastic, a voice is in your face ... as close as you can get to the human soul.

I see sound, and art in general, as a natural element that surrounds us. In my experiments, I am trying to discover nature's hidden laws, which are much more perfect than anything humans can produce. Sometimes I only see what the outcome is when a work is finished, and I look at it afresh, with an open mind."











          Photos by Suzana Zalokar