Auer and AND-OR


“searchSonata 181 {2010}”

by Auer and AND-OR

Johannes Auer is an artist from Stuttgart, Germany. He was part of the group "Das Deutsche Handwerk" in the 90ies. He has worked in net art since 1994 and is one of the leading figures of digital poetry in Germany. AND-OR is a Swiss media art and gameart collective specializing in artgames and epoetry. The collective consists of René Bauer, Beat Suter and Mirjam Weder. The group exists since 2001 and operates from Zurich, Switzerland.

Johannes Auer, Beat Suter and René Bauer collaborated in several digital poetry projects like Searchsonata 181 (2011), searchSongs (2007), sniff_jazzbox (2008) and The Famous Sounds of Absolut Wreaders (2003).

“Searchsonata 181” turns artificial poetry into natural poetry. It is a collaborative work by Johannes Auer and AND-OR (René Bauer and Beat Suter).

URL of documentation:

“searchSonata 181” is the last part of Johannes Auer's search trilogy on performing algorithmically generated texts. Via an anthropomorphic interface for the output according to Max Bense's categorization, searchSonata 181 turns artificial poetry into natural poetry.

The consistency of this trilogy is the usage of words that are typed in real time into searchengines like Google & Co. These search terms are then converted i.e. processed by algorithm. In the first piece of work, searchLutz (2006), the search terms are processed into texts, in the second piece, searchSongs (2008), into sounds and melody, and now, in the third and latest piece, searchSonata 181, into phonetics as an acoustic bridge between text and sound. Inputs into searchengines are words of yearning for human beings in the internet. By them they try to reach the desired. For a computer, structurally those inputs into searchengines correspond to passwords. So to speak passwords are the machine's words of yearning; the machine needs them to ask for access.

Computer programmes according to the FIPS 181 standard (Federal Information Processing Standard) are phonetic and soundpoetic text generators without inherent intention of producing art. FIPS 181 describes how to produce algorithmically secure but yet pronouncable passwords (I am grateful to Linus Suter for this reference).

With its algorithm of FIPS 181 (Appendix A) searchSonata 181 encrypts human words of search and yearning as ready-made into sound poetry. "Consistent poetry" according to Kurt Schwitters "is built up of letters. Letters have no sonic concept. Letters in itself don't have a sound, they only offer possibilities that can be tonally evaluated by the speaker." 

The performance of searchSonata 181 plays the generated texts back into real space: the message has to pass through the algorithm without getting caught there.

The gallery may use the audiovisual internet interface of the work. It shows textual output of the different steps of capture, merging, encryption and tonality, comes with audio output and has an interactive component.