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ZUzana Ernst

ZUzana Ernst Keinergasse 29 /25 . 1030 Vienna . +43 699 19088994 . .

Installation Art PerformancE Design and Fabrication Architecture

Performed “real-time� music never exists as a whole at any given moment, but rather unfolds in a linear manner over time and joints to an entity only in retrospect in the memory of the listener or performer. (Galia Hanoch-Roe) Architecture and music have been traditionally classified as spatial and temporal art accordingly. This work is questioning this categorization and tries to explore the similarities and possible overlap of the composition and experience of music and space. In both cases, a score is used to document process. Although the term score is commonly used for music, in this work I am broadening its meaning, enclosing all human pursuits that process consists of. A score or notation is a symbol system mediating, leading and controlling interactions and elements. These elements are time, rhythm, people and their action, as well as the possible combinations of their interplay. The physical is intuitively connected to our psychological and emotional perception. Space is light, sound, smell, interactions between people and the movements that all these elements evoke. Space, as well as music, is directly connected to time. We experience space in three stages: our conception and reception before entering, the actual experience within and finally, the memory.


A Score of SPace and time

Songs of SPaces

This work is exploring the temporal space of a voyage, a space perceived in motion, where sound forms the main structural element. Thus, space becomes a path and the path a composition. A musical piece played after a score consisting of sounds of places experienced on a journey. These sounds set the rhythm and form the base of the spatial installations. These musical spaces are subjective and take place within the imagination of the participants. The soundscapes are related to objects, materials and textures and thus, composing a scene. While experiencing the installations, the spatial experience is comparable to the musical one. The four music rooms – each describing a different movement - are associated with new transitory spaces. The inter-medial installations are orchestrated as a temporal parcours through the passageways of Semper Depot. The visitors pass by these rooms on their way to the gallery of the 3rd floor of the building, where the actual exhibition takes place and thus, become part of the movement. The path starts in the elevator, passes the staircase, through the foyer, into the atelier for scenography leading to the gallery. At the conclusive moment of the parcours, four films are played on screens, which are placed onto music stands, each reminding the visitors of one of the four movements.

Va y viene, c-print on archive paper, 63 cm x 200 cm

Va y viene, detail close-up

Va y VIene A movement paced by water. There is a space which emerges through the constant back and forth of the fluid, running from the wave, who is teased to come closer. A restless game, played by your ownrules, endless pursuit. A rhythm, already predefined, always the same, always changing. Movement follows sound, sound follows movement. Back and forth, traces erased, overwritten by new ones.

location: staircase elements: sound track (waves, wind), fans, plastic foil, projection

Salar, c-print on archive paper, 63 cm x 200 cm

Salar, detail close-up


Endless surface, wide, leading nowhere and everywhere. Aimless wandering in puddles, careful steps directed by the embossed landscape. Moving in order to hear something, to embrace landscape, to modify it. A composition of chance. Following traces of others, erasing them, setting new ones, moving on.

location: foyer elements: sound track (salt lake, footsteps), salt, blue pigment, water containers, sifting mechanism, laminate

Trazos, c-print on archive paper, 63 cm x 200 cm

Trazos, detail close-up

Strategy becomes choreography, a choreography of waiting. Pause. Waiting for better conditions. Traces of confusion, streets submerged and blurred. A space of interruptions, involuntarily immersed, deep, deeper even. Stepping backward to get impulse. To then again, pause. Gasping and fizzling of motors. To then again, pause. As if glued into positions. Thinking about the next step, examining the steps of others, stepping backward again.

location: atelier space, Semperdepot, 3rd floor elements: sound track (engines), sculpted clay reliefs, black shelfs, integrated piezzo speakers


Trazos, reliefs, unglazed clay, each 20 cm x 60cm

Pasadizo, c-print on archive paper, 63 cm x 200 cm

Pasadizo, detail close-up

PaSadizo An opening, a direction. Forward, but not straight. Soft curves obstructing the view. The movement almost blind, automatic, involuntary. Dampened and constricted, pulled. Certainty without knowing. One follows and is followed until the end, when paths disperse.

location: passage way to gallery, Semperdepot, 3rd floor elements: sound track (latino music, cars, street noice), folding camera shell, fish eye door lense, integrated piezzo speaker, backprojection on canvas

video still of projected sequense visible through door leanse, loop 0’28”

Blurry trees ahead Far away from my body  Out into distance  (Nathan Rubio)


Lejos An old piece of furniture inhabited by an artificial landscape. Out of the drawer peak three little fans that let the grass sway in the wind, sometimes in focus, sometimes blurred.

Installation Art PerformancE Design and Fabrication Architecture


In-between Who is the puppet and who the puppeteer? Who leads and who follows? Or is it about the space inbetween, which results in the process? This piece investigates how movement reacts to space and respectively, how space can be influenced by the presence of a body. In-between is a collaboration between two scenographers, a musician and a dancer, through which image, sound and movement are created simultaneously, as action and reaction to each other. This is a site-specific piece, recycling physical information of informal performance spaces, resulting in a performative installation that takes you on a psychological journey to the “inbetween�.

video stills of performance in Cardiff at the World Stage Design Festival “Design as Performance�

The advantage? First of all a negative one, my friend: it [the puppet] would never be guilty of affectation. For affectation is seen, as you know, when the soul, or moving force, appears at some point other than the centre of gravity of the movement. Because the operator controls with his wire or thread only this centre, the attached limbs are just what they should be.… lifeless, pure pendulums, governed only by the law of gravity. This is an excellent quality. You’ll look for it in vain in most of our dancers.” (Heinrich von Kleist - On the Marionette Theatre) performance and exhibition in mo.e, Vienna


Absently in Place By manipulating space and body, the kleistian center of gravity is shifted deliberately and provokes a reaction. The borders between puppeteer and puppet dissolve. The question who leads and who follows turns obsolete. The space, full of memories and objects, perceived as obstacles, imposing limited paths and obstructing free movement, serves as inspiration and reference – audio-visually as well as physically. Sound recordings and projections communicate with the movement of the dancer, processing the memory of the space, in ab-/pre-sence of the objects, which – in a sense - still pull the strings from afar.

Parcours II: Impulstanz, Aspern Flugfeld, Vienna


MOVING MOUNTAIN Pebbles dug from within the heart of the city, forming an inside out view of the lake. What once was beneath is now above… a scaling mountain of restless pebbles, holding within the memory of history… the history of Aspern soon to become the rings and roads hoping to form a new history. A resurrected history emerging from the rocks creating a waterfall of pebbles. A large shadow crane performed its slow rhythm, reminding one of the large yellow crane digging up the rocks to form the lake, before knocking loose a figure at the bottom and then scraping one down from the top. Rhythmic sounds of falling stones moved through bodies. Sliding, skimming, rolling… making a pathway to the bottom before the two figures meet… a consoling moment after the disturbance. The two spiral and support and embrace… picking up the pace as they reach the ground below. Falling into a pendulum run as if to long for the waves of the lake, running in search for their home.

Trapped in a tightly enclosed space feeling the breath of the surrounding bodies. It is dark but for a small flashlight suspended from the ceiling slowly swinging back and forth. Distant metallic sounds are heard through the walls. Meanwhile performers speak at random telling the story of 29000 rubber ducks floating in their grand salty bathtub. With a loud bang the doors open and the performance begins...

This performance was created during a workshop with the title ‘Simplicity in the Theatre is Quite Complicated’ by French architect and scenographer Jean-Guy Lecat, part of the Prague Quadrennial, world’s largest international Exhibition of Scenography and Theatre Architecture. In an ensemble of ten, all of us from a different parts of the world and diverse design backgrounds, we were given four days to create a performance using a news headline as our sole inspiration. We developed the concept, narrative, design, movement, and realization, while making the audience’s spatial and emotional experience our primary focus. It proved to be an immensely fulfilling experience, collaborating closely with such a unique multi-cultural group of artists, each contributing a new perspective combined with a wide array of methods and experiences within the fine art, design and/or theatre realm. Seeking to find a common language, and then ultimately translating into four different ones, we found that the visual idiom was the one we all had in common. This intense and unusual creative process did not only result in a uniquely beautiful performance, but also formed strong friendships and the potential for future collaborations.


29000 Rubber Ducks at Sea Eleven years ago, a container crossing the Pacific Ocean, filled with 29000 rubber ducks, unexpectedly shipwrecked. Suddenly, the ducks [made in China] destined to supermarkets and personal bathtubs, found themselves floating in the vast cosmos of water. We were interested in our reaction to the contrast of extreme confinement inside the container versus the infinite expansion of the ocean. Zealous to reach a highly international audience by drawing from our diverse design backgrounds, our play turned the spoken word into light, shadow, and sound. The story was conveyed visually creating multiple levels of performance: the actor, the projected image, the shadow. Choreographed to instrumental pieces of music, the actors and their shadows interacted and became one with the manually manipulated projection on the wall. Consequently, the audience’s experience entailed three layers: actual performance in the space, simple manipulation of the projection, and the resulting shadow play on the wall.

Installation Art PerformancE Design and Fabrication Architecture

Die beiden Skelette A und B, die Knochen von der Sonne gebleicht, unterhalten sich im Schutz der Friedhofsmauer sitzend. A B A B A B A B A B A B A B A B A

Hör mal. Ja. Das schlimmste, was wir tun können, ist den Mut verlieren. Ja, das wäre das Schlimmste. Es kommen bessere Zeiten, da bin ich sicher. Oh, natürlich! Es kommen bessere Zeiten! Man muss nur warten können. Ja, das ist es. Die Bäume werden wieder grün. Ganz genau: grün. Und die Vögel werden wieder singen. Ah! Wie schön wird es dann für uns sein, wieder zu Fleisch zu werden. Glaubst du, wir werden auch wieder zu Fleisch? Wer zweifelt daran? (sehnsüchtig): Das wäre Spitze. (nach einer kleinen Pause): Wie hast du früher geheißen? Juanito. Also auf, Juanito!Fass dir ein Herz!


Los Dos Esceletos B A B A B A

(Schaut durch seine Rippen hindurch): Was für ein Herz? (Im Bewusstsein der Situation, mit plötzlicher Verzweiflung in der Stimme): Im Grunde war es ein Fehler, dass wir gestorben sind. Ja, es war ein Fehler. Wir haben das Herz verloren. Ja, wir haben es verloren. Das war ohne Zweifel das Schlimmste.

Schweigen. Skelett B bläst durch sein eigenes Schienbein, und eine sanfte Melodie entsteht, die kaum merklich die Spitzen der Brennnesseln in Schwingungen versetzt.* Vergeblich versuchen, die vor hundert Jahren gestorbenen Schlangen- gerade nur ein Rosenkranz kleiner Knochenplättchen-, der beschwörenden Musik zu folgen und sich wie in alten Zeiten des fulminantes Giftes aufzurichten. *Brennnesseln wiegen sich bis zum Ende in der sphärischen Musik. Zum Schluss richten sich einige Schlangen in ihnen auf. Sie beißen in den Vorhang(die Vorhänge, Blenden o.ä.) und schliessen ihn.


Crossover exhibition DESIGN Sliver Gallery, University of Applied Arts

Installation Art PerformancE Design and Fabrication Architecture

Crossover Studio. Digital Project. Gehry Technology. Pavilion for Sigmund-Freud Park, Wien


Dissolved by light The pavilion acts as cultural attractor, drawing people in from three major axis coming together in a center courtyard. Simple geometrical rules determine shape and rooms of the three surrounding spaces. The pavilion becomes a collage of different functions, materiality and hence light conditions, creating always changing atmospheres.

open gallery

exhibition space



bar , kitchen




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