Karl Heinz Jeron:“Serendipity Wherever it is Possible”

Artist name: Karl Heinz Jeron

Featured Work 1: Singing Plants

This installation allows us to hear plants, using custom electronic oscillators (electronic oscillators make a periodic, oscillating or vibrating electronic signal, and they are used by many electrical devices such as TV’s, radios, and video games).  Jeron’s site explains that,

“Wherever electric current exists, magnetic field is also induced. This means that plants, as all living organisms which utilize electric current in their biology, emit weak electromagnetic fields. This installation makes use of a noncontact method for measuring electric fields for the sonification of the young plants.”

Sonification is using audio to share information, such as a Geiger counter clicking to convey radiation; through sonification information is converted into vibrations that fall within our hearing range.  Thanks to this project we hear the plants and so can understand, sense, and relate to them in a new way.

“I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks.”

-Karl Heinz Jeron

Featured Work 2: Hermes Opera (Hermes being “the god of elocution”)


In this piece, Jeron has written down segments of cell phone conversations that he has been displeased to overhear on public transport and put them to music with the help of the composers Robert Jähnert and Christian Rentschler.  The music is “sung” by robots which walk across a screen of public domain images.  This expressive study and translation of the common experience in modern life of having the personal and the public knotted up and confused is eloquent, irreverent, and likely a surprising source of confirmation to those who would sometimes prefer to have stronger personal social boundaries be a norm.  The Athens Digital Arts Festival which featured this work in 2015 tells us on their site that

“He uses custom small robots and references from his personal experience to create situations that can disrupt preconceived notions and challenge the position of the viewer.”

View footage of the Hermes Opera.

5 Questions for the Artist: Karl Heinz Jeron

  1. What is art to you?

“Art is about reflection and perception, about the competition between two languages mediating complexity. One is the language of science. The other one is the language of art which has to understand science but doesn‘t want to become it.”

  1. What did you make in the past, and why?

“Way back I started as a painter because I was interested in the Hard-edge Painting movement.  With the advent of the internet I was involved in Netart because of the promise to be able to work within an open system.”

  1. What are you making now, and why?

“Some people say I do post digital/internet art. To me it seems I am simply open to using any media. Only the preoccupation with algorithms runs like a golden thread through my art. My works are prototypes of real life situations.  I am interested in shifting the perception by subtle interventions.”

  1. What are your hopes for the future?

“Less determinism, more tychism.” [Determinism­­­ holds that all things happen in direct response to a former stimuli, while Tychism is a belief that chance or indeterminism is a strong, determining factor in the universe.]

  1. Do you want to add anything?

“I want to add Serendipity wherever it is possible.”

Background: German artist and innovator Karl Heinz Jeron uses a variety of technologies, images, sounds, structures, and movements to make his idea based, experimental, and socially and environmentally aware art.  Karl Heinz Jeron was born in Memmingem and lives in Berlin.  He has had an extensive history of shows, collaborations, residencies, and publications, including participation in The Athens Digital Arts Festival, which you can view here on his online CV. You can also check out his YouTube channel to view footage of many of his projects.


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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

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