AND-OR:: searchSonata
searchSonata 181 {2010}
Searchsonata 181 turns artificial poetry into natural poetry. It is a collaborative work by Johannes Auer and AND-OR.

searchSonata 181 is the last part of Johannes Auer's search trilogy on performing algorithmically generated texts. Via an anthropomorphic interface for the output according to Max Bense's categorization, searchSonata 181 turns artificial poetry into natural poetry.

The consistency of this trilogy is the usage of words that are typed in real time into searchengines like Google & Co. These search terms are then converted i.e. processed by algorithm. In the first piece of work, searchLutz (2006), the search terms are processed into texts, in the second piece, searchSongs (2008), into sounds and melody, and now, in the third and latest piece, searchSonata 181, into phonetics as an acoustic bridge between text and sound. Inputs into searchengines are words of yearning for human beings in the internet. By them they try to reach the desired. For a computer, structurally those inputs into searchengines correspond to passwords. So to speak passwords are the machine's words of yearning; the machine needs them to ask for access.

Computer programmes according to the FIPS 181 standard (Federal Information Processing Standard) are phonetic and soundpoetic text generators without inherent intention of producing art. FIPS 181 describes how to produce algorithmically secure but yet pronouncable passwords (I am grateful to Linus Suter for this reference).

With its algorithm of FIPS 181 (Appendix A) searchSonata 181 encrypts human words of search and yearning as ready-made into sound poetry. "Consistent poetry" according to Kurt Schwitters "is built up of letters. Letters have no sonic concept. Letters in itself don't have a sound, they only offer possibilities that can be tonally evaluated by the speaker."

The performance of searchSonata 181 plays the generated texts back into real space: the message has to pass through the algorithm without getting caught there.


SearchSonata 181 is a highly complex mesh of language, encryption and tonality. It features interaction between human being, machine and net communication, between text input, text encryption, sound poetry, programming and real-time streams of words of a live search.

SearchSonata 181 is meant to be performed live. A beta-performance was given at the Bardinale Festival in Dresden (2010). The premiere was held at the Filmwinter 2011 Festival in Stuttgart on january 19, 2011. Searchsonata 181 was interpreted by Regina Spindel. A simplified and very functional interface by johannes auer is used for live-performances.

Searchsonata 181 also has a different and distinct web interface that shows all steps of the soundpoetry process. Web visitors may participate in generating encryption-soundpoetry by input into the interface. It is suitable for installations as well.

For the Filmwinter (2011) show "Ten Rooms Special", a separate start for the search trilogy was installed.

SearchSonata 181 is a collaborative project of Johannes Auer and AND-OR.

Searchsonata performance by Regina Spindel at Filmwinter 2011 in Stuttgart, Germany; january 19, 2011.

Searchsonata 181 speech (in German 7:28 min.) by Johannes Auer at Filmwinter 2011 in Stuttgart, Germany; january 19, 2011.

Listen to the searchsonata 181

Searchsonata rehearsal by Regina Spindel in Stuttgart, Germany; 30/11/2010

Listen to the searchsonata 181 performance at filmwinter 2011. > Filmhaus Stuttgart, 19.01.2011

Edinburgh 2012: Inspace, University, Remediating the Social. ELMCIP, nov. 1 - 17.
Morgantown 2012: Mongolia Arts Center, electrifying literature: affordances and constraints, june 18 - 30.
Stuttgart 2012: Literaturhaus, Laut P. literatur und strom 4, may 23 - 25.
San Diego: Center For Research and Computing in the Arts, University of California, Writing becomes Eclectric – e-Writing Symposium, january 27, 2011.
Stuttgart: Filmhaus, 24. Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Ten Rooms Special, january 20 - 30, 2011.
Stuttgart: Filmhaus, 24. Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Performance of Searchsonata 181, january 19, 2011.
Dresden: Erich Kästner Museum, Bardinale 2010 - Poesielabor, september 2 , 2010.