Thomas Ankersmit "Infra"

Dutch composer/performer Thomas Ankersmit will return to CTM to present his new multi-layered composition “Infra.” The work, which employs both a computer and modular synthesizer explores the artistic, musical, and perceptual potential of infrasound, which is the pitch/frequency region around and below the lower threshold of the human hearing range.

Infrasound’s impact is gargantuan but its presence is covert, often only traceable by virtue of its ramifications on objects and in bodies. It has the power to make massive buildings vibrate and can have profound effects on human perception; listeners may experience it as an intense physical pressure or a ghost-like “trembling” in the air around them. It can trigger strong emotional reactions, from unease and angst to awe and even spiritual catharsis. The history of speculation into the special powers and military potential of this mysterious sonic force is long-standing. Infrasound is associated with thunder and, accordingly, with the extra-human and the god-like. It possesses equal parts destructive and restorative potential.

Thomas Ankersmit will also make use of other auditory phenomena, such as in-ear tones, that likewise demonstrate the ability of sound to have a physical, uncontrollable impact on human perception and to induce questions about the strictness of the boundaries between hallucination and reality. As such, it crosses into the arena of politics both as a metaphor (the powerlessness of individuals in the face of larger structures and movements) and as a device (sonic warfare). "Infra" illustrates the ability of sound at its most esoteric and mighty to induce both fear (in that it is imperceptible and destructive) and love (in that it is therapeutic, humbling, and perspective-granting).


Thomas Ankersmit’s CTM 2017 appearance is supported by Stimuleringsfonds and the SHAPE Platform, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

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