“…a merciless revealer using the means of Art.”
Berliner Zeitung, Germany
During the 1990s Michael Saup developed a reputation as an innovative protagonist of digital art. His work, often in cooperation with other artists, has been widely shown in exhibitions, festivals and on stages around the world. He currently lives and works in Berlin.
Vor Sonnen-Aufgang, 2017
In 1980, while enrolled at the Dominican University, SanRafael, California, Michael Saup studied music and computer science and started to combine both fields with an algorithmic approach. In 1987, he created “Flicker”, his first computer-generated light installation, which immersed a gallery space with permutations of pulsing light. From 1989 onwards, Saup began to experiment with real time transformations of sound and image, helping pioneer the development of software as an artform.
Michael Saup’s early work introduced direct control of digital film through music and sound-driven interactive computer animations. With these innovative strategies he created installations like “Pulse8” (1992), concerts like “Hyena Days” (1992) and choreography generators like “Binary Ballistic Ballet” (1995).
In 1992 he founded the group ”supreme particles”, helping launch the field of audiovisual processing and interactive environments. This group specialised in the creation of experimental software in connection with art, architecture and music. A work of this group was “Light as Skin” (1997-2007), a connecting passenger transit tunnel bathed in light at Frankfurt International Airport being one of the first large scale and long term interactive works of media art in public space.
Their installation “R111” (1999-2001) exhibited the concept of virtual matter and its ramifications in the real world. While new media actual tendencies were virtualizing reality, R111 took the inverse approach of materializing virtuality: choreographing particles of matter as though they were pixels.
The turn of the century saw Michael Saup begin to focus on political and social issues, such as access to communications media, consumption and transformation of fossil and “infossil” resources, nuclear history and financial theory. As part of his ‘Weapons of Mass Education’ project, he initiated workshops with young filmmakers in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Morocco and Afghanistan.
Research and Teaching
Michael Saup has held appointments at several universities, including the Academy of Fine Arts Munich and the Zürich University of the Arts. From 1991 to 1994 he was artistic and scientific assistant at the Institute for New Media in Frankfurt. In 1999 he was appointed as founding professor for Digital Art at ZKM / HfG Academy of Art and Design in Karlsruhe, where he remained in residence through 2005.
shift, Gasometer Oberhausen, 1995
Falling Forest – Root Log, Montréal, 2008
360 filming in Kabul, 2004, by Lida AbdulHyena Days, Saup & Vasulka, Ars Electronica 1992