Thom Kubli is an artist and composer in Berlin. His practice is multidisciplinary, blending elements of composition, sculpture, and conceptual approaches. His installation pieces oscillate between spectacle and contemplation, exploring the boundaries of physical space and viewers behavior by inventive use of digital technologies.
Thom Kubli will play at the Dystopie Sound Art Festival. The festival runs from 16 October to 1 November and explores dystopian scenarios related to current political, technological and environmental developments. The festival plans to offer a broad spectrum of acoustic, electronic, and interconnected installations, performances and concerts.
1: Tomorrow, first thing in the morning
2: It depends
3: We cross the bridge when we get there
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
A theme. An emotional spark. The attempt to draw structural and aesthetic conclusions from the world around me. The imagination of the scene or environment at the moment when a potential audience will perceive the music.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I started with five years improvising on my aunt’s piano, for hours. It was the first time I had access, and I was just obsessed with exploring that instrument. They thought it was neat, and got me some music lessons.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Miles Davis – Agharta
Gustav Mahler – Das Lied von der Erde (with Rafael Kubelik)
Prince – Parade
Ben Frost – Daníel Bjarnason, Sólaris
Arpeggiators – Freedom of Expression
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Freedom, culture, history, diversity.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I currently find great inspiration cycling to the Tegeler See and roaming around at the promenade. Amazingly ambiguous site.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Interesting question. As long as there is a space-time continuum, there will be oscillation, sound, and music. If this should collapse, I´ll think again.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I bought ‘The Shining Main Title’ by Wendy Carlos at the iTunes Store.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Fatima Al Qadiri, Ben Frost, Arca.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As I mostly work with installations, the most impressive gigs were with Black Hole Horizon, implying Ars Electronica in Linz (2016), File Festival in São Paulo (2017), and The Lowry in Manchester (2017).
As a spectator: Sonic Youth in Brooklyn at Williamsburg Waterfront 2011, Sunn O))) in Brooklyn (2009) and Berlin (2019). I experienced many more brilliant performances, but this is what comes to mind at this moment.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology is an essential inspiration. It promises future capabilities and potentials, which makes it so speculative. Besides new technologies in music, I´m interested in AI, materials sciences, and machine design. For that, I cooperate with the research departments of various universities. In the past two years, I worked with the Tangible Media Group of the MIT Media Lab in Boston on a current project.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have one sister who supports what I´m doing. In the beginning, it was a bit undefined to her what my art and career would become. Meanwhile, she comes to every show if she can make it. We also talk about projects, and I very much appreciate her feedback.
Thom Kublis performances and installations have been shown internationally, amongst others at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, Ars Electronica, Linz, Transmediale, Berlin, Eyebeam, NYC, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, FILE, São Paulo, LABoral, Spain and in numerous art galleries. His composition pieces and experimental radio plays have been widely broadcasted through public radio stations as WDR/Ars Acustica, DLRK, ORF, SRF and others.
Photo © Christian Veittes