Stroll through the 19th century with headphones and play the first violin in the Bruckner Orchestra

Linz. The Ars Electronica Center kicks off the Bruckner Year 2024 with two exclusive experiential worlds. In both cases, seeing and hearing is not enough. “Being Anton?” The exhibit takes you back to the 19th century, and “Playing Anton!” The deep space program helps you become a composer yourself. Both new worlds will open on January 31st and will be part of the Ars Electronica project throughout the Bruckner year 2024 from February 1st.

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“Playing Anton” in Deep Space – created by Ars Electronica FutureLab with Bruckner Orchestra Linz and Studio Weinberg for OÖ KulturEXPO Anton Bruckner 2024 (Photo: Martin Hieslmair)

The audio release of “Being Anton” invites you to interactively experience how Bruckner would have experienced his world. A time of boom, the industrial revolution, a world where steam engines travel at 60 km/h, the Suez Canal is built, and the light bulb hits the market.

Take a stroll through the 19th century with headphones

What an audience wearing headphones hears depends on where they are. Horse hooves symbolize Bruckner's daily life in Vienna, the diary entries he read provide insight into his emotional life, newspaper front pages chronicle current events, the sound of organ music permeates the narrative, and orchestral sounds fill the exhibition. Visitors can learn exciting and interesting stories in the exhibition, for example, read facsimiles of old newspapers with reviews of Bruckner's concerts. An unusual audio style is designed.

How the viewer frames this is up to them. Listening control works using a monitoring system. Individual soundscapes blend into each other, becoming louder and quieter. Analogue information boards, photographs and original quotes about Bruckner complete the 19th century walk. Gerfried Stocker, artistic director of Ars Electronica, said the exhibition shows many traces of Bruckner. “It's about the enormous technological advances in Bruckner's lifetime, but also about society.”

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Conducting the Bruckner Orchestra with 3D glasses

Headphones for 3D glasses “Being Anton?” Transferred from the exhibition to deep space. Chief conductor Markus Böchner and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz are already waiting there – in virtual form. The Scherzo from Bruckner's 9th Symphony becomes a playful and interactive experience. The audience becomes the conductor themselves by controlling whether the cellos, oboes or percussion should be in the foreground. An entire group can “play” the orchestra. The game becomes a special experience with 3D glasses, which allows you to fully immerse yourself and create fascinating impressions.

“The idea is to explore: the interaction between timbers, instruments,” says artist Ali Nicrang of the Ars Electronica Futurelab. Norbert Trawöger, president of the OÖ KulturExpo and artistic director of the Bruckner Orchestra: “The audience can experience the orchestra with all its gears as a sound body.”

Available from February 1 – Theme weekend

Both adventure worlds will be available from February 1. A themed weekend awaits on February 3rd and 4th: “Playing, Being… Experiencing Anton” tour celebrates its premiere and “Playing Anton” will be shown twice on both days (at 11am and 4:30pm). The exhibition is integrated with the permanent exhibition at the Ars Electronic Center and can be viewed daily during museum opening hours. “Playing Anton” in Deep Space can always be enjoyed in detail at 4:30 p.m. Some parts of the program are also integrated with the best presentations in Deep Space.

The “Anton and Tones” highlight tour, especially for elementary school children (3rd and 4th grades) begins in April. There will also be an admission ticket from the opening of the main Bruckner exhibitions in St. Florian and Ansfelden (May).

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Voices about the exhibition

State Governor Thomas Stelzer is already looking forward to the opening ceremony: “The two contributions of the Ars Electronica Center to the Bruckner Year 2024 raise the exciting question: What does music do for us, and what does it help us to do? The exhibition manages to bring Bruckner's periods together with him.

Mayor Klaus Lüger: “From a different perspective Bruckner is at the heart of the Ars Electronic Center. He lived in a time of great upheaval that has some parallels to today's as we face a revolution with climate change and digitization. AEC is perfect for this topic.

Doris Lang-Meyerhofer, city councilor for culture, emphasizes: “I am sure that we will attract many international guests with this exhibition. Bruckner is accessible outside the concert halls and to young people, schools and local people.

For Upper Austria's Cultural Director Margot Naasal, this is clear: “The Culture Expo wants to show Bruckner not only as a musician, but in all his complexity. There is a fascinating connection between Bruckner's work and technology at the Ars Electronic Center.

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