Thomas Gerwin created the Acoustic World Atlas in 1998 at ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie), in Karlsruhe, Germany. The concept was to document the world in sound.
People from around the world sent more than 1,100 sounds typical of where they lived. Gerwin then composed 3 - 21 second sound files that could be played via three World Sound Keyboards, where different play modes allowed a player to musically modify the original sounds.
The photo at the left shows the Acoustic World Atlas as it was installed at ZKM, Karlsruhe, in 1998.
Thomas Gerwin, world sounds
a Cyber Concert with Thomas Gerwin's "Acoustic World Atlas"
Cyber Concert on November 8, 1998 with Thomas Gerwin's "Acoustic World Atlas" is a
coproduction of Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Stiftelsen Elektroakustiske Muzik
i Sverige Stockholm , ZKM|Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Deutsche
Telekom AG and EUMETSAT.
On "Acoustic World Atlas" one can play 201 different soundfiles from three "World Sound
Keyboards", where different play modes allow to musically modify the original sounds ad hoc.
"Acoustic World Atlas" is, at the same time, a kind of acoustic documentation , all sounds
have been recorded on original places during the last two years and sent to ZKM to be
incorporated in this project. People worldwide have been asked through internet and
newspapers to make recordings of their environment. They have sent more than 1100
recordings from nearly all parts of the globe. Thomas Gerwin than composed short and
typical sound portraits of 3-21 seconds duration, in his computer studio inter art project.
These soundfiles are also complex sound figures, where each create counterpoints to each
other using sensible rules of musical parameter Construction. "Acoustic World Atlas" is
dedicated to the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE).
The cyber concert "world sounds" at "Stockholm European Cultural Capitol 1998" will take
place at three places live at the same time. Additionally, it will be broadcasted via
radio/TV/Internet. Thomas Gerwin created a new work for "Acoustic World Atlas" plus three
acoustic and three electronic instruments. Three musicians will perform the work on
"Acoustic World Atlas" in Karlsruhe. They will be recorded and broadcasted on a special
connection live to Stockholm and Darmstadt. At the same time three instrumentalists
(flute, trombone and a soundscape musician) will play in Stockholm and three
instrumentalists (percussion, live-electronic and a soundscape musician) will play
in Darmstadt together with their virtual partners. Both groups will be recorded and
broadcasted simultaneously on another special connection from Stockholm and Darmstadt
Additionally to the three real places Darmstadt, Stockholm and Karlsruhe with physical
present people in the public concertos, all broadcastings will be mixed together and
electronically modified live in acoustic and optical matters. The artificially modified
mixture then should be broadcasted also live via RADIO/TV/Internet to a bigger public.
This way three live events in Stockholm, Darmstadt and Karlsruhe are parts or aspects
of the whole, where the virtual space from "the other side" touches the real space of
each other. The overall event "world sounds" takes place in the virtuel space of
In a kind of "dichotomy of outer and inner space", the sounds will be given back to the
world, where they came from - constructing and shaping reality by reflecting it: "world
TG.: "Hereby I would like to thank those individuals and friends, who made the
"Acoustic World Atlas" project possible through their wonderfull sound contributions:
Pascal Amphoux, Jean-Francois Augoyard, Banjar Babakan, Llorenc Barber, Martin Bartkowski,
Nicole Blaffert, Dietmar Bonnen, Joel Chadabe, Peter Cusack, Carola Dewor, Chantal Dumas,
Nick Fortunato, Nigel Frayne, Albert Gerdes, Hanno Gerwin, Catherine Girardeau,
Barbara Heller, Anna Ikramowa-Eggeling, Mirjam Jauslin, Jecklin, Jerôme Joy, Manfred Kroboth,
Petri Kuljuntausta, Emanuelle Loubet, Wittwulf y Malik, Lou + Dawn Malozzi, Albert Mayr,
Andra McCartney, Shigenobu Nakamura, Sabine Peters, ReBreak Studio, Dirk Reith,
Jason Renier, Clemens von Reusner, Jean C. Roché, John Richards, Rik Rue, Michael Rüsenberg,
Wenjuan Shi, Claude Schryer, Gerd Schwandner, Yaap K. Spek, Ulrich Süsse, Walter Tilgner,
Katarzyna Topolinska, Tamasz Waliczky, Heinz Weber, Gisela Weiss, Hans Ulrich Werner,
Hildegard Westerkamp, Justin Winkler."