Stefan Maier

The Strange Institution Comes to Life

Finalizing his new work for Forecast, Stefan Maier explores the connection between contemporary “therapeutic” uses of sound and trends in experimental composition. Implicit relations between composition and sonic “cultures of self-care” are made concrete.


The composer is currently installing an immersive “sound spa” tucked into a hidden booth at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Using infrasound transduced into listeners’ bodies through custom massage chairs, and a sound landscape emerging from many different sound therapies, the work makes the listener’s nervous system and body the site of composition.

Maier’s Forecast mentor, the composer Jennifer Walshe, remarks, “I’m tremendously enjoying Stefan’s boundless curiosity, creativity and insight. It’s a pleasure to learn about the different bizarre conceptualizations of sound he’s digging up, and about the prospect of working with ‘clinical’ aesthetics and subsonic sound.”

Walshe adds that “creating a performative installation, which tries to get the participant to suspend irony and merge into a blend of theory and fiction,” is an aspect of Maier’s project she finds particularly exciting. And she sums up on a note of anticipation—like Forecast Festival visitors, she is “looking forward to seeing the installation realized, and the strange institution come to life.”


Photos: Lukas Maier