SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Ruhland, Grit

Grit Ruhland
is a German media artist

  • artist biography
  • example of soundart


    Interview: 10 questions

    1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?

    The very first time I made music by myself, was when I had been in a protestant church-choir for children. I was 7 or 8 years old and it was the idea of my mother, because she had realized, that I liked singing and music. This was in the GDR-times and unusual because I was not christened and no member of this or any other church. When I was 14 years old and the time of initiation came, I ended my participation this choir, because I didn’t decide to join their church.
    The very first time, I composed music myself, was during my time at the art-academy in Dresden, I planned an object for an exhibition and since longer time I got the urge to have sound with my objects and installations. First I took already existing music, then I asked other artists to make sound for me. All these solutions were fine for the moment but not enough for the future. I had a special vision, how the sound for my objects should be and I didn’ t know people, who could do this for me. So I decided to learn to create the sound on my own. Also, I was very curious about this new media. This was in 2002. Uljana one of my friends from the artschool, made music since several years with her computer, she gave me some sound-programs. I experimented for two years in my bedroom with spending a lot of time on this. After 2 years I presented my first compositions in an exhibition, combined in an light installation. These soundworks were very song-based.

    2.Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.

    I do postgraduate studies of sculpture in Dresden. I can hardly read notes and the only instrument, I can play is my voice. It tried to start my musical career at the age of eight with learning recorder. After one year I stopped this. Now, since one year I am singing again in a women choir, we perform contemporary compositions from our choirmaster although European folk-songs, resetted by her.
    For my soundworks I use often computer, sound programs and digital recorders. I learned using PC for making sound by myself and friends and colleagues.

    3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?

    As you want, intermedia art is my profession. So, at the moment I present my work mostly in the context of visual arts, but I would like to expand presentation context/space to more public fields.

    4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?

    I have no specific rules, that I have to follow, I don’ t try to produce a special style or something like this. There is one thing, that is basis for every subject of my art – this is a concept. So my certain principle is the idea, the concept.

    5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?

    Every sound making thing is possible to use. I mostly arrange and combine sounds after the recording. When I create or generate tones and sounds I usually use the BUZZ free ware program. It is a free digital composer with many options, you can get it at!

    6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?

    I suppose, that without the new media, I would never have started to do soundworks. The computer is a tool, which enables me to do, what I do. At the moment I can hardly imagine to work without it. I guess I am not alone with this practice. Computers replace much importance of the studio and the handicraft, so more people can develop their ideas independent from the tricky cover of legerdemains.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    I do these typical bedroom-productions. So, I have to cover only my living costs and the acquisition costs of the technical stuff. For my profession as artist I try to receive grants and prizes. Also for special projects. I am not trying to find a commercial gallery or a label in general. It is not excluded, but I am not that interested in it, it depends on the case. By the way, I am looking for a job … ! 😉

    8. Do you work individually as a musician/sound artist or in a group or collaborative? If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

    In my function as a visual Artist, I do often collaborations with other visual artists for exhibitions. Actually in the last time, I often did soundworks than. In my function as sound artist, I have not collaborated with another sound artist, except with “Bad comfort”, my friend. When you work in a group, than you have more input and a wider field of knowledge, spectrum and ideas, but you have problems to focus on a special point, it becomes more a mixture. As a single worker, you have better chance to concentrate and to be much more precise with your work. I like the change between the both ways of working.

    9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?

    There are some people, that I really admire. But it has not necessarily an recognizable influence on my work. Now for those, that like to pigeonhole; I admire the minimal composers Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Phil Glass, the romantic composers Sergei Rachmaninoff, Eric Satie, Maurice Ravel and Edvard Grieg, the middle age composer Thomas Tallis. In the field of pop music I like Element of crime, Stereo total, Tryo, Hildegard Knef, Apparat, Ulrike Haage, Jolie Holland, Portishead, Laurie Anderson and … .
    In general the most formative movement for me was different electronic music from the middle of the nineties until now. In the last years I started to be interested in the netlabel scene.

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a sound artist or musician?

    To continue and to meet as many other sound artists as possible … and hear their works!

  • My intermedia artworks can be experienced at:
  • Grit Ruhland’s Website
    Museum Hofmühle Dresden
    Kunsthaus Dresden