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To mark the occasion of this fourth solo exhibition in the gallery (after Sculptures sonores et lumineuses in 1998, Sculptures interactives in 2003 and Son, lumière et mouvement in 2009), Peter Vogel is showing a new series of cybernetic objects that react to the stimuli provoked by the viewer, thanks to a subtle game of photoelectric cells and microphones.

Born in 1937, he is one of the pioneers of interactive art forms. Already, when he was 13 years old, he put together a tape recorder from existing materials (reading heads, motor from an old record player, electronic components…) and discovered all the possibilities provided for manipulating sounds. A painter to start with, he studied physics from 1957 to 1964, even as he continued with his musical experiments, and he was also fascinated, in parallel, by dance and choreography. His work in a laboratory of neurophysiological research in Basel between 1965 and 1975 brought him into contact with the machinery utilized for medical electronics.
In 1969, there appeared his first cybernetic objects, inspired by a scientific experiment carried out by the neurophysiologist William Grey Walter: the concept of electronic structures based on compartmental outlines. These imaginary models of electronic systems in the shape of sculptures reacted to the environment and responded to light, to shadows and to the sounds produced by the viewer, who was thus also transformed into a performer. His works already had the aspect that characterize them to-day, tridimensional structures in soldered wire including electronic components, photoelectric cells, loud-speakers, electroluminescent diodes… Each object had its own programmed construction and the viewer played an active part in the  resonant and visual realization of the work.
During the 70s, he discovered Steve Reich’s music, which led him to improvise minimalist music by means of the feed-back system, the just performed sequence superimposing itself onto the previous sequence thanks to two tape recorders; his musical style evolved at the end of the 70s: he created what he called “poly-rhythms”, juxtapositions of repetitive structure with other periodicities.
The sound dimension, already present in his first experiments, became more and more important: as early as 1979, some big interactive musical installations such as “Die Klangwand” (Sound Walls) before which dancers and participants projecting their shadows set off a process of light and sound that were thrown back and intensified ad infinitum.
In 1989, an important undertaking: the “Schattenorchester I” (Shadows Orchestra I), a virtual orchestra directed from a console and made up of twelve instruments that reacted to the shadows controlled by the artist; shown in France in 1998 in the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Lyon (Fr.), that same year in the Centre d’Art d’Hérouville Saint-Clair (Caen, Fr.) and in 2004 in the Carré Saint-Vincent, Scène Nationale in Orléans (Fr.). It was followed by two other “Shadows Orchestra” (Schattenorchester II and III).

The central theme in his work is the seeking for constantly renewed interactive modalities, and the deepening of various musical structures, such as minimalist music, jazz, techno music and its obsessive repetition.
If one believes that cybernetics is the science of reflexive system, one understands the exchange established between the programmed depth and the viewer. The objects spatial structure can only be grasped thanks to the active participation of the partner-viewer; simultaneously obvious and playful, it makes us aware of the mechanism itself and carries us off into a haphazard creative process.

Translated in English by Ann Cremin