Ernst Karel

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Ernst Karel works with sound, including electroacoustic music, experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance, image-sound collaboration, and postproduction sound for nonfiction vilm, with an emphasis on observational cinema. Lately he works around the practice of actuality/location recording (or 'fields [plural] recording') and composing with those recordings, with recent projects also taking up archival location recordings. Sound projections have been presented at Sonic Acts, Amsterdam; Oboro, Montreal; EMPAC, Troy NY; Arsenal, Berlin; and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Sound installations in collaboration with Helen Mirra have been exhibited at the Gardner Museum, Boston; Culturgest, Lisbon; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Audiorama, Stockholm; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; and in the 2012 Sao Paulo Bienal. Audio-video collaborations include Expedition Content (2020, with Veronika Kusumaryati), Ah humanity! (2015, with Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) and Single Stream (2014, with Toby Lee and Pawel Wojtasik). CDs of his often collaborative work, including with the electroacoustic duo EKG, have been released on and/OAR, Another Timbre, Cathnor, Gruenrekorder, Locust, Sedimental, and Sshpuma record labels, and a duo with Bhob Rainey is forthcoming on Erstwhile. From 2006 until 2017 he managed the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, doing postproduction sound for vilms including Sweetgrass, The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan. He has taught audio recording and composition through the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard (through 2021), the Center for Experimental Ethnography at Penn (2019), and the Department of Film & Media at UC Berkeley (2022). He is currently an affiliate of the Center for Ethnographic Media Arts at the University of Southern California.

CV [pdf]


See also:

Interview by Joshua Minsoo Kim in Tone Glow 041, November 2020

Interview by Oleg Khardatsev and Zhanna Guzenko / Fridaymilk, Sonic Acts Festival: The Noise of Being, February 2017

Interview by Max Goldberg in Moving Image Source, February 2013

Interview by Mark Peter Wright in Ear Room: Exploring sound in artistic practice, February 2013

Feature in The Wire #344, October 2012
Material world: Ernst Karel sorts through the sounds of recycling

Feature in Pitchfork's The Out Door, October 2011
Turning the World Into Art: The world of field recordings with Chris Watson, Ernst Karel, and Art Rosenbaum