by Vraeaeth Oehner

Rainer Maria Rilke sketches out what might possibly be the most poetic idea for a phonographic recording 'on Assumption Day 1919' in Soglio. The notion of steering the phonograph across a track 'which was not derived from the graphic translation of sound, but existed of itself, naturally' - whereby in doing so, Rilke is thinking mainly of the coronal suture. In fact, when implemented, what emerges is what is described in the same text as PRIMAL SOUND: a note, a succession of notes, music that results from the decoding of a track that has never been encoded. Even Friedrich Kittler emphasized the high degree of medial reflection evident in Rilke’s text; it deals with no less than an expansion of the realm of sensory experience, something that neither poetry nor science are in a position to achieve. Is the (digital) video?

Katarina Matiasek seems to act on the assumption that it is: naturally, based on the premise that she does not simply realize Rilke’s idea but takes it as the means and starting point for a reflexive movement capable of exposing the order of sensibilities established by video to those chasms that Rilke firmly believes exist between the senses. This begins with the sound made by placing a cassette tape into a player (and provided that the cassette stores the voice that makes audible the words recorded in Rilke’s book, then this would be the primal sound of the video) and ends with the irresolvable question of how to now grasp the mountain ridges, book spines, and skull sutures shown in the video: as the result of an encoding or as the result of a decoding, or both at the same time?

In: Distribution Catalogue, sixpackfilm, Vienna 2007