INHABIT // Artist-in-Residence

The INHABIT Artist in Residence Program of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics invites artists from various disciplines to collaborate with our team of scientists and researchers. The integration of artistic thinking and knowledge as reflective practices in their own right is an important dimension of the institute’s mission. For this the presence of art and the inspiration and challenge of artistic practice are essential. The interaction between the different perspectives creates a mutually productive space for both artists and scientists to work in.

For this reason, INHABIT invites artists to spend three months creating new work, or further developing an existing project, in a scientific research environment. Openness to the mission of the institute and interest and readiness to work together with individual researchers or research groups are naturally preconditions. During the residency, the institute will provide space, resources, and facilities for productive experimentation, dialogue, and collaboration. Work developed during the residency will be presented in cooperation with various local arts institutions in the form of an exhibition, performance, concert, or other mode of presentation, and complemented by discursive formats.



INHABITING basis is the first collaboration between basis e.V. and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics.


INHABIT Online Conference: Artistic Knowledge and the Sonic

The exhibition will be accompanied by an online conference featuring discussions between INHABIT’s resident artists and internationally recognized scholars representing a range of disciplinary perspectives.





Due to the increasing number of coronavirus infections, the exhibition INHABITING basis will not be publicly accessible for the time being.




INHABIT #3 // Pedro Oliveira

May – August 2020

Pedro Oliveira is a sound artist and researcher who is mainly concerned with acts of sonic violence and colonial articulations of listening. His work inquires the materiality of sonic archives in the realm of political surveillance.


At the centre of his artistic and scientific work is the examination of speech recognition technologies, more specifically the so-called automated "accent recognition" software, which is used by the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to determine the origin of asylum seekers. Oliveira investigates acts of collecting, organizing and taxonomizing vocal traits and their violent usage in systematically categorising individuals. His artistic interventions into the material embody an understanding of listening as a critical practice in which stories are told through gaps found in the archive (or database).

During his residence he will continue working on his research on the deployment of sonic biometric technologies to further understand how machine listening can be instrumentalized as a violent and dehumanizing device when embedded into asylum procedures. He will more specifically work on the notion of “distortion” as a set of material and discursive techniques (e.g.distortion as a character present in the timbral matter of voice itself) to critically challenge the workings of speech analysis systems.


Pedro Oliveira holds a PhD from the Universität der Künste Berlin, as well as an MA in Digital Media from the Hochschule für Künste Bremen and has most recently worked as lecturer and research associate in Media and Cultural Studies at the Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf. He is also a founding member of the platform Decolonising Design. He has participated in international exhibitions as well as performances at SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; IASPIS, Stockholm; HKW, Berlin; transmediale Festival, Berlin, Deutschlandradio Kultur;  ctm Festival, Berlin (HAU2);  Goethe-Institut Brussels, Belgium; sonorities Festival, Belfast; ACUD Macht Neu, Berlin


INHABIT #2 // Lea Letzel

February – May 2020

Lea Letzel is a multimedia artist, director and pyrotechnician living and working in Cologne and Reykjavik. In her artistic practice she concentrates on the development of interdisciplinary scenic and performative work at the intersection of sound and music, media arts, dance and space.


Lea Letzel is especially interested in the concert format and questions around the conditions and conventions of performance situations. The examination of the relationship between art and music is also thematized spatially as her works are produced and performed in different forums between the white cube, black box and in the context of new music. Her visual and acoustic material is equally versatile and indeterminate, moving between pyrotechnical elements and the soundscape of a skate hall. Most recently, she was invited to the Villa Kamogawa in Kyoto as a scholarship holder of the Goethe-Institut to study Japanese pyrotechnics.

During her residency she will continue working on a project based on the fireworks notation of the Japanese chemist and fireworker Takeo Shimizu who she discovered during a residency at the Goethe Institute Villa Kamogawa in Kyoto. Around 1965 he developed a notational system for fireworks displays based on conventional musical notation. Taking this as a starting point she will deal with idea of notation as a multifaceted system between instruction, performance text and choreographic manual. In this context she will also reflect on the question of hierarchy between music and fireworks and its sonic potential which can be of equal value next to the visuality. As part of this, she will team up with different scientists from several departments, among others with musicologist Dr. Lara Pearson.


Lea Letzel studied at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen and the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Since 2015 she is also trained as a pyrotechnician and special effects technician. She has participated in international exhibitions as well as performances at Witte de With, Rotterdam; Maschinenhaus Essen; Theater Duisburg; Philharmony, Duisburg; Bundeskunsthalle Bonn; Bonner Gesellschaft für Kunst und Gestaltung, Bonn; FrankfurtLAB, Frankfurt am Main; Acht Brücken Festival, Köln; Edith- Russ- Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg; PACT Zollverein, Essen.


INHABIT #1 // Alexander Tillegreen

September 2019 – January 2020

Alexander Tillegreen is an artist and composer living and working in Copenhagen and Frankfurt am Main. His practice moves between sound, printmaking, light and painting in the form of installations and performances. The works interrelate on different levels and are often shown together in constellations alongside architectural, spatial, atmospherical, textual and even ephemeral interventions and elements.


Different scales of tension between the individual and the surrounding world are one recurring theme, raising questions regarding both sensorial perception and psychology.  During his residency, he will continue his research and studio work into psychoacoustic phenomena and auditory illusions, and further explore the interdisciplinary boundaries and potentialities between science and art.  

As part of this, he will team up with with neuroscientist Dr. Alessandro Tavano.
Together they will work on stimulus production and experimental arrangements that will conclude in both scientific and artistic manifestations, including a new sound installation within the framework of an exhibition situation. During his stay at the institute Tillegreen will also engage on different levels with a broader range of studies and scientists from different departments that relates to his own artistic practice and research.


Alexander Tillegreen completed his Meisterschüler at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste-Städelschule in 2017. Additionally he studied fine arts at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York and art history, musicology and sound studies at the University of Copenhagen. Alexander Tillegreen has participated in international solo and group exhibitions as well as performances at the MUSEUM MMK FÜR MODERNE KUNST Frankfurt; CTM Festival, Berlin; Kunsthalle Darmstadt; fffriedrich, Frankfurt; Agnes Maybach, Galerie, Cologne; Jean Claude Maier Galerie, Frankfurt; Tom Christoffersen Gallery, Copenhagen; Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen; Code Art Fair, Copenhagen; and Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen.