Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Exploring New Approaches

Sep 30, 2021 - Maximilian Koppernock

“I made my own way of making electronic music in the late-’50s, early-’60s, using test equipment — oscillators and patch bays and tape recorders. While everybody else was cutting and splicing materials, I was finding a way to improvise with the electronics. That improvisation system was using different tones between oscillators. Setting oscillators above the range of hearing and using the different tones between the oscillators in a tape delay system caused a lot of beat frequencies with the bias of the tape recorder. That’s how I made my early electronic music, like I of IV, Bye Bye Butterfly.”(1)

It was a new recognition of Pauline Oliveros, the necessity to understand how machines did what they did, rather than simply knowing what they did. She broke the usual form of tape composition, which consisted of manipulating sounds and fixing this processing in the recording as the final work (2). The title of my photo series is adapted from the beautiful musical piece Bye Bye Butterfly, composed by Pauline Oliveros in 1965, in which she deconstructed Giacomo Puccini’s studio-accessible recording of Madame Butterfly in a single improvisation. Breaking conventional forms and rethinking traditional rules in any artistic genre allows us to intensify our view of the unknown and to explore possibilities. Her statement “Listen constantly and remember when you are not listening” gives the impulse to use photography to attribute more focus and value to the fleeting moments and unnoticed things in daily life. The intensive exploration and research into the nature of music itself, its apparatuses and programs, also sharpens the view on photography and photo-manipulation. With regard to her then radically new approaches to technology, she not only challenged traditional notions of musical art, but also traditional gender dynamics.

1 Silverstein, Steve: Pauline Oliveros: Deep Listening, composing, just intonation. URL: (Abrufdatum: 09.09.2021).
2 Lucier, Alvin: Zum Gedenken an Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016). URL: (Abrufdatum: 09.09.2021).