Ernst Karel (b. 1970, Palo Alto) works with sound, including electroacoustic music, experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance, and postproduction sound for nonfiction vilm [film/video], with an emphasis on observational cinema.
His recent solo projects are edited/composed using unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines these with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary.
Recent 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.
Video with multichannel sound collaborations include Ah humanity! (2015, with Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) and Single Stream (2014, with Toby Lee and Pawel Wojtasik).
Other projects include the long-running electroacoustic duo EKG, and the location recording/performance collective the New England Phonographers Union.
CDs of his often collaborative work have been released on and/OAR, Another Timbre, Cathnor, Gruenrekorder, Locust, Sedimental, and Sshpuma record labels, among others.
From 2006 until 2017 he managed the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, doing postproduction sound for vilms including The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan, and where as Visiting Lecturer on Anthropology, he continues to teach a production class every other year in 'sonic ethnography'.
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