Monday, October 14, 2013

Workbook: Luftwerk on Collaboration

Luftwerk (Petra Bachmaier, Sean Gallero) hosted DOE Projekts (Deborah Adams Doering, Glenn N Doering) in Luftwerk's Chicago studio.  

We asked them “What makes a great collaborative art work?”

Both Petra and Sean agreed that a great collaborative work involves mutual aesthetic sensibility and intuition -- it as if one person completes the sentence of another person, and the collaborative sentence makes a beautiful and significant new meaning.

In terms of their own work, the duo strive to create a direct sensory response, especially in relationship to the architecture of space and light. They want to heighten viewers’ response to the space, and show visitors new ways to interact and participate. They have created work at several historical sites in the US and abroad.

“Space expands and goes beyond itself” said Petra, and noted that she had been reading about “volume over mass” as she and Sean are preparing for upcoming exhibitions. One current prototype includes red gas tanks as transmitters of sound.

Sound is a significant component of many of Luftwerk’s works -- they have often collaborated with composer Owen Clayton Condon (

Petra and Sean began to collaborate after meeting each other at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1990s, when both were students.

One of Luftwerk’s newest installations is titled “Shift” and is currently exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center:

We asked Luftwerk to choose keywords related to the coreforms in their work:

Petra: Experience, Place, Space
Sean: Discourse, Nature, Technology

We thank Luftwerk for their hospitality and look forward to continuing our conversation.