Artiste-professeur invité


Robert Henke

Born in 1969 in Munich (Germany)

Robert Henke, born in Munich, Germany, builds and operates machines to produce art. Amazed and inspired by the constantly expanding possibilities of applied computer science and technology, Henke explores new territories between musical composition, performance and installation. Alongside diving deeply into aesthetic concepts, the creation of his own instruments and tools is an important and integral part of his artistic process.

His focus is the exploration of spaces, structures and timbres and shapes. His material is sound, lights and images, created, shaped and modulated by controlled randomness or mathematical processes, resulting in complex textures, repetitions, audiovisual rhythms and the experience of spectacular virtual and real spaces. The resulting creative output ranges from music played by DJs in clubs, surround sound concerts, musical works in the tradition of academic computer music, video installations, site specific sound art to publicly available software.

Henke is a pioneer of multichannel sound, using methods and systems like wave field synthesis and ambisonics to create situations of total immersion, expanding the sonic experience of his performances beyond of what can be reproduced at home. The interaction between the real space in which the concert happens and the virtual spaces created with his computers is an integral part of that experience. Software architectures of code create sonic architectures that correspond and contrast physical architectures, thus building inspiring tensions and resonances. For Robert Henke, the experience and resulting creation of club music in Berlin in the early 1990s is as much an exploration of social and sonic spaces as musical composition.

His thinking of music more in terms of timbral space and sonic state than in song structures shifted Henke's artistic explorations during the last decade towards the field of installation, both sound based and audio-visual. The computer as a machine for creating endless variations over time is the perfect instrument for these kinds of works.

Starting with his installation 'Fragile Territories' in 2012 he is studying the usage of lasers as medium for artistic expression. The contradiction between a potentially highly interesting medium and its common usage as spectacular yet overused and cliché driven visual one trick pony is a challenge that seems worth taking. Currently he is developing a audiovisual concert where the visual component is created with lasers.

Henke's interest in the combination of art and technology is also evident in his contributions to the development of the music software 'Ableton Live'. Since Ableton's founding in 1999, he has been central to the development of Live, which became the standard tool for electronic music production and completely redefined the performance practice of electronic music. He writes and lectures about sound and the creative use of computers, and held teaching positions at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University.

His installations, internet based audiovisual performances and concerts have been presented at Tate Modern London, the Centre Pompidou Paris, Le Lieu Unique Nantes, PS-1 New York, MUDAM Luxembourg, MAK Vienna and on countless festivals.


Destructive Observation Field

Installation - 2014

présentée dans le cadre de l'exposition Panorama 16