23.Oktober.2011 / Christian Kesten / Felder Räume Schichten / Shawn Edward Hansen / The Art of Talking To Others By Yourself

Certain Sundays’ theatrical side was on display in performative lectures by two artists working at the borders of composition and visual art. Seated at a table with an array of objects and a video screen to the side, Kesten presented a collage of recent works including “des Kleinen Übergewicht”, “title pending”, and “urban cafe restroom”, as well as excerpts from videos of “LIFT”, “zonder titel (schuit en ruis)”, and “untitled (placing in space).” Kansas City-based Hansen “performed” a continuous monologue with slides, integrating his ambient piece for acetate records “Johnson Shutins,” followed by an animated discussion with the audience about his background in radio transmission, piano building, and phonograph expertise.

Photos by Connor Clarke

Die Musik von Christian Kesten und Shawn Edward Hansen zeichnet sich aus durch eine spielerische Außerachtlassung traditioneller Vorstellungen davon, was es bedeutet, Komponist, Performer oder Musiktheoretiker zu sein. Obgleich Christian Kesten – ein bekannter Vertreter der experimentellen Musikszene in Berlin, der von John Cage und Dieter Schnebel beeinflusst ist – und Shawn Hansen – ein Schüler Richard Teitelbaums, dessen konzeptorientierte Arbeiten Konzeptionen von Zeit, Erinnerung und Übertragung ausloten – verschiedene Enden eines ästhetischen Spektrums repräsentieren, sind die Werke beider Künstler in ihrer Grenzüberschreitung der Medien tief miteinander verbunden.

The music of Christian Kesten and Shawn Edward Hansen displays a playful disregard for traditional notions of what it means to be a composer, performer, or musical thinker. While Kesten – a veteran of the experimental music scene in Berlin influenced by Cage and Dieter Schnebel –  and Hansen – a student of Richard Teitelbaum whose concept-oriented works investigate time, memory and transmission – represent different ends of the aesthetic spectrum, the work of both is deeply connected to its fluidity across media.

Christian Kesten

Christian Kesten is a composer and sound artist, vocalist, and performer. His work explores the connections between voice and action, music and language, and deals with the interpenetration of sound and space. Since 1983, he has written chamber music, music theatre, and site-specific compositions for various ensembles. As composer/performer, he presents his works for voice and actions as a soloist, in duo with Lucio Capece, in the trio dishk with Axel Dörner and Makiko Nishikaze, or in the ensemble Maulwerker.

In 2000, Kesten was composer-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Lukas, Ahrenshoop and in 2007, at Villa Aurora, Los Angeles. In 2008 he won the realization prize operare08 with antenne pernot to realize WUESTE WUESTE, a multi-perspective music theatre piece.

His works have been performed at: The Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (1996), Dangerous Curve, Los Angeles (2007), Diapason Soundart Gallery, New York (2007 and 2008), EXPERIMENTAL INTERMEDIA, New York (2008), Museum of Modern Art MUMOK, Vienna (2005), TESLA, Berlin (2006), the wulf., Los Angeles (2008) and Kleiner Wasserspeicher, Berlin (2000), among many others.


Shawn Edward Hansen, a native of Kansas, is an artist, musician, and piano tone builder who recently returned home after living on the east coast in Brooklyn and Boston. His main instruments include saxophone, organs/piano, and analog synthesizer. Practicing his own style of Midwestern hermetic art known as Tangential Assertivism, he performs with Christopher Tignor as New Scalthzkgazan, and with Jaime Fennelly, Chris Forsyth, and Chris Heenan as Phantom Limb & Bison. Shawn Hansen is also the artistic director of KJEA radio, which had its first broadcast in 1984 from the blue room in Kansas City. He is currently working on a series of records called the Sycamore House Duets, with nine other keyboard artists from around the world and a new release for his project Phantom Limb & Earth’s Hypnagogia.