Thomas Ankersmit pres. Otolith


Thomas Ankersmit is a musician and installation artist based in Berlin and Amsterdam. Acoustic phenomena such as sound reflections, infrasonic vibration, otoacoustic emissions, and highly directional projections of sound have been an important part of his work since the early 2000's. His music is also characterized by a deliberate misuse of the equipment, using feedback and disruptions to the signal, and the extremes of frequency and dynamics, to create visceral but finely detailed swarms of sound.

 Since 2006 his main instrument, both live and in the studio, has been the Serge analogue modular synthesizer. Ankersmit collaborated with Sicilian composer/performer Valerio Tricoli on Forma II, a series of electroacoustic compositions released on the PAN label, and on music based on the acoustics of abandoned radar domes. Both projects were honoured by Ars Electronica. Other recent collaborations include recording sessions with Kevin Drumm at GRM in Paris, and a new Phill Niblock composition for Serge modular synthesizer (Niblock’s first piece for an electronic instrument).

 Ankersmit’s music is released on the Touch, Ash International and PAN labels.

 His sound and installation work have been presented at Berghain, Hamburger Bahnhof, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Paradiso and Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle, Basel; Henie Onstad Art Centre, Oslo; Arnolfini, Bristol; CCA, Glasgow; Serralves Museum, Porto; MoMA PS1, New York; REDCAT, Los Angeles, and at festivals for experimental and contemporary music all over the world. 

 He has been a guest lecturer at universities such as CalArts, Stanford, The Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard, and the Universität der Künste in Berlin. 


 Thomas Ankersmit pres. Otolith


 In these live spatial-sound performances Ankersmit explores the phenomenon of “otoacoustic emissions”. These are sounds that are actually created inside the ears of the listener, by the ears themselves, in response to certain stimulus sounds that he creates. A kind of “sonic hallucinations" in other words, where a slight movement of the listener’s head can completely change what he or she hears.

Ankersmit's friend Maryanne Amacher (1938-2009), was one of very few other artists to have worked with this phenomenon extensively. This project is a kind of personal continuation of her research, within the context of his own work.

 Otolith was commissioned by Cafe OTO (London) and been has performed at CTM Festival (Berlin), KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Kunsthalle (Düsseldorf), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Rewire Festival (The Hague), BOZAR (Brussels), MACBA (Barcelona), and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University.