“Sound is a powerful medium”

Fotos: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Student portrait Andri Schatz

Already as a teenager, Andri Schatz produced music with his computer up in the Grisons mountains. Lectures at ETH Zurich led him to study Art & Media at ZHdK.

BY GIULIA ADAGAZZA
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Giulia Adagazza: Why did you decide to study Art & Media?
Andri Schatz: I used to produce music, images and videos with my computer when I was young. I have been making art all my life, but never called it that. I dropped out of medical school because there was no time left for anything else besides studying. Then I took a semester and a half of architecture at the ETH, where the art lectures helped me understand art beyond our drawing and design lessons at grammar school. This made me decide to come to ZHdK.

Has the programme fulfiled your expectations so far?
Basically, yes. It has really given me deep insight into media art. Because I have been doing computer-based sound work for about 12 years and know the technologies very well, I support other art students with their projects at ZHdK’s Sonic Lab. Sound is a difficult but powerful medium. It’s fleeting, inevitable and harder to decode than pictures or sculptures. So it often affects us more directly.

What are you working on right now?
I am preparing a performance for my final-year project, to be displayed on the Toni’s roof terrace as part of the degree exhibition on 6 June at 9 pm. The theme of posthumanism plays an important role in my project. While I am sitting motionless on a chair, a headband measures my brain waves. Another device picks up the internal signals of a colony of shaggy mane mushrooms installed next to me. A software then converts all this data into light, sound and movement. Two completely different creatures — the mushroom and me — are placed on the same performative level during this duet. Alongside my studies, I am working on various installations and performances and produce and play techno, trance and hardcore under the artist name LÆIF.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration everywhere, but rarely in the narrower art field. One project in the first year was dedicated to the beauty of ventilation sounds in toilets around campus. Since I have far too many ideas, I pursue those that help me grow most and which therefore also scare me a little.

Do we need art?
Yes, art offers us a framework in which to experiment with radically new ways of doing things, but without having to pay off economically.

What do you want to do after graduation?
I would like to work as an artist, sound producer, DJ, lecturer and mushroom grower.

Your favourite place in Zurich?
My bedroom. When I fold up my bed, my room turns into a music, photo and yoga studio. I also like the woods near my shared flat.

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