Nowhere Plain (Utopia Planitia)

Horror vacui – Vide dans le vide – Wu – Casimir Effekt

Premiere: Annelie Gahl [Violin], Klaus Lang [Organ] | Hörfest | Kirche St. Andrä | Graz, Austria [04/05/2008]
Audio Recording: Reinhold Schinwald | Photo Credits: Belma Bešlić-Gál | Bernhard Gál | Peter Jakober | J. Kucek


NOWHERE PLAIN (UTOPIA PLANITIA) is an intermedia music composition written for violin, organ, electronics and space exploration. It uses visual media to create (anticipate) possible concert situations of the future. The main components are: Music composition (violin, organ, electronics), video, live broadcast, costume design, lighting and science (space exploration). The concept deals mainly with themes such as communication, progress, longing, agnosticism, sexuality and loneliness.

The musical composition formally consists of three parts: electronic Introductus, Main and electronic Exitus. The reduction focuses on the creation of minimalistic sound expansions. The overall form is The Flow, while subformal structures (phrases that are actually openings and closings of formal circles) simulate ebb and flow. The violinist is dressed in a purist, minimalist overall. The astronaut suit worn by the organist is not just a simple conceptual costume design aspect: it symbolizes the urgent need for an independent micro-space, a personal biosphere that protects against the nightmares of modern world society, against the permanent information overload. It is a symbol of physical and emotional isolation. An escape from time.



For the first time in history, a worldwide audience can experience a live performance with musicians who do not live in the same world. The violinist is on Earth and the organist is on Mars, in an outpost in Utopia Valley. The organist starts his performance 3.2 minutes before the violinist, so that the audience can witness a simultaneous interplanetary performance, since the transmission signal takes about 3.2 minutes to travel the distance from Mars to Earth (on 07/17/2065 – about 56,000,000 km; speed of light = 299792458 m/s). Therefore the actors will never really play together. His present is her past and her present is his future. This duo is a temporal illusion. There is no shared real-time reality. The audience perceives a third time, the temporal suggestion of something that could be called NOW.


Information changes existence. It influences our judgment and our beliefs. Through information, we are able to experience our world and explore our reality. It is an essential component of knowledge. And today’s instant availability of information is changing the world in exponential ways. It impacts everyone, creating multi-layered identities and conglomerate cultures and societies. From the mud of post-feudalism rises a space-faring civilization that teleports, “quantum computing,” “nanotechnology…” From the point of view of our grandfathers, we live in a world of miracles – exponential technological development makes magic possible. But despite all this, the people of the 21st century are more or less the same as their Ice Age predecessors – slaves to their instincts and archaic codes of behavior, unable and unwilling to overcome them. “We often fear what we do not understand. Our best defense is knowledge.” But the path that leads from darkness and ignorance to a better future is unpredictable. Will science ever be able to give us the answers to the question of the existence or nonexistence of omnipotence? If we take for granted the statements of the Apollo astronauts, their trip to the moon and the realization that all we know is actually based on knowledge acquired on Earth, while an omnipotent, endless unknown is spreading on all sides, led to a catharsis. We cannot even imagine the sociological, cultural, and psychological impact that the coming age of space exploration will have on humanity. Nowhere Plain (Utopia Planitia) is about all of that. The fragile organ as a symbol of the disintegration of faith and space, Subbass 16 as a premonition, the violin as the voice of frightened and insecure humanity that must learn to abandon old habits and accept the fact that change is essential. “On those who step into rivers, the same, other and different waters flow.” – Heraclitus


Duration: ca. 16 minutes

Video requirements
Version 1: Video projector plus projection screen, VGA cable; dvd player/computer
Version 2: Video projector plus projection screen, cables, Camera for live transmission   

Audio requirements: PA stereo system (loudspeakers, stage mixer, CD player)
Light: 2x Philips PAR 38 Economy-Flood lights-blue/red, 2x dimmer for Philips PAR 38 Economy-Flood lights-blue, 1x concert glow stick Mega 10″
Scenography: self-provided (Mars Panel)
Place: Church; ev. some other very large and dark space   
Effects: 2x small fog machines

Premiere: Hörfest | Graz, Austria [04/05/2008]
Performers: Annelie Gahl [Violin], Klaus Lang [Organ], Belma Bešlić [Electronics+Video], Austrian Space Forum [Space Exploration], Markus Krispel [Live Broadcast]
Add. performances: VORTEXPROJECT | Alte Schmiede | Vienna, Austria [16/12/2009]



Performers: Annelie Gahl [Violin], Klaus Lang [Organ] | Hörfest | Graz, Austria [04/05/2008]
Violin: Annelie Gahl | VORTEXPROJECT | Alte Schmiede | Vienna, Austria [16/12/2009]
Violin: Annelie Gahl | live recording session #177@amann studio | Vienna, Austria  [23/06/2012]