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Ulf Langheinrich’s LAND, 2008. Installation view at FACT.

Ulf Langheinrich (b.1960, Wolfen)’s LAND (2008) continued his exploration into sensory immersive environments, at the core of his artistic research into the nature of digital illusion. He creates pure, large scope spaces devoid of objects or gestures yet dense with matter. LAND was a digital landscape rendered solely out of two algorithms that create pure noise.

He maintains his work has no conceptual agenda, but it is intended to have hallucinatory effects. Through its sheer immensity and use of pulsing repetition it induces a state of semi-consciousness, or, as he puts it, ‘an altered state of reality’.

‘I remember when I was sick this year in March, with high fever and lots of headaches, I almost enjoyed it,’ he says. ‘I was lying in bed, and some areas of my body were hot and some were cold. But it was the heaviness that fascinated me; it was a very familiar feeling. I was thinking, imagining certain visual textures and acoustic textures. That is something I really like – that things are heavy and dense but you’re not really suppressed; you just feel this weight.’

His visual work is characterised by the high resolution of the images leading to pulsating planes, stripes and visual vibrations, which, along with the audio, produce rich experiences of sensory deprivation and overload. DRIFT (2005) brings abstract images and sounds from art and music into the cinematic space, a stream of images and sounds from a fragment of a real image of an octopus fresh from the sea.

Langheinrich states that LAND (2008) was ‘an attempt at creating the illusive, the immersive and sublime feel of uncertainty through sound, matter, time and space.’ He explained that ‘Perhaps my interest in sound, and eventually my approach to visual creation as just another form of sonic imagination, is the reason for my fascination with immersion and totality. Behind all the cold, technological and synthetic there is something viscerally warm: something deep, deep, deep. This is a negative land, a moulding nothingness; an ocean of digital grey rendered out of particle system formula and fractal noise calculations; an abysmal deep land, a homeland today.

Ulf Langheinrich’s LAND, 2008. Installation view at FACT.
Ulf Langheinrich’s LAND, 2008. Installation view at FACT.

Compositing assistance: Wolfgang Schwarzenbrunner. 3D assistance: Brandon Tay.

Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2008 and FACT.

Supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Austrian Cultural Forum, Goethe-Institut Manchester.