The analogue attraction


About the fascination of reclaiming the artistic freedom from the depths of the electronic world. Artist Wolfgang Spahn

Author: Pierre Wolter


Wolfgang Spahn entropie bruchstuecke 3


The German/Austrian artist Wolfgang Spahn works mainly with electronic components and manipulates them in such a substantial and fundamental way until autonomous installation and artwork is originated. His radical free approach shakes our common understanding of signals, sounds, the digital and the analogue.


Wolfgang Spahn, Strange Attractors, 2019

Wolfgang Spahn is interested in the level beneath. He is not satisfied in just manipulating electronic compounds until it creates a feedback or a distortion. He is aiming for the pure signal by affecting the VGA signal in the cable for example.

Like a visual artists has to deal with materiality as a whole, the nature of colours etc., Wolfgang Spahn tests his own developed analogue apparatus that controls for example micro pigments and Liquid Ferro Fluids for a projection, during a Live-Performance or in his studio. Succeeds an apparatus it will be then used for his installations. His pronounced virtuosity to control these electronic circuits allows him to use them like instruments.

Wolfgang Spahn, Strange Attractors, 2019

Magnets control a projection liquid existing of oil, ferro fluids and micro pigments that are then beamed with the help of analogue projector into the installation. Analogue signals are manipulated through low voltage pulses from the outside. LCT Panels are integrated in analogue projectors and a video is shot through a diapositive. CD’s are painted with ferro fluids and pigments and create a 3D structure, which is then recorded by a macro camera and projected into the space. A laser beam scans the 3D structure and provides the foundation for the sound.
With all the technological finesse, the playful handling with electronic and computer technology, the audio-visual aesthetics still play a very important role. Wolfgang Spahn explicitly refers here to the tradition of the visual arts and defines his ability and his scientific approach only as a tool to create the artwork.

Wolfgang Spahn, Selbstähnliche Strukturen, 2019

Strange Attractors

For artists expressing their art with digital and analogue media, it’s only logical to deal with the field of physics related scientific theories and to illuminate them newly in an artistic way. One of this theory is the thermodynamic equation by Lorenz, which was also used in the chaos theory and causing the famous sentence (A butterfly in China can cause…) because of its fractal that looks like a butterfly. With his analogue computers and instruments Wolfgang Spahn is trying to recreate these strange attractors that causes the butterfly looking fractal. The results of this experiment flow into the performance “Entropy”. To call Wolfgang Spahn a romanticizing analogue fetishist is too short-sighted because the creation and the controlling of his analogue instruments imply a comprehensive knowledge in programming. In essence Wolgang Spahn takes back the freedom over his tools and if needed from the deepness of the electronic.


 Pierre Wolter

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