Jean Martin’s documentary Peter Vogel: The Sound of Shadows is a lasting document complementing the artist’s first solo exhibition in Britain. It provides viewers with a rich context to understand the artist and his works, whether or not they were able to visit the exhibition itself. The film offered an appropriately dynamic medium to explore and reflect on Vogel’s time-based, interactive objects, yet nobody anywhere in the world had previously made a full-length documentary about Vogel. Due to the artist’s age and health, it was imperative to take the opportunity to complement the exhibition premiere of his sonic interactive sculptures at the University of Brighton in 2011 with a comprehensive DVD. You can watch a shortened version on vimeo
Two prime research questions emerged: how best to demonstrate the ways in which time-based, interactive sound objects work; and what made Peter Vogel’s work pioneering and different?
Over the two-year evolution of this project, Martin’s method included filming Vogel in his Freiburg studio and elsewhere (including his solo exhibition in Paris, 2009) as he talked about what motivated him to create his interactive, dynamic works, given that he started out as a painter. Closely allied to this, Martin filmed examples of Vogel’s artworks in action, with the artist explaining his creative and technical approaches. Martin examined the context in which Vogel worked and his role in sound art history through an interview with Professor De La Motte, a leading German academic in the field. He explored aspects of sound theory and philosophy, including the roles played by interaction, chance and causality, and the practice (which can be termed the ‘aestheticisation of technology’) of showing the electronic circuitry in the artworks themselves.
In addition to the DVD, a comprehensive website devoted to Vogel’s work includes exhibition details, published essays and examination of key works.