Augustin Maurs

Augustin Maurs
Photo 1: Augustin Maurs, portrait, © Artica residency - Photos 2-3: Augustin Maurs, Les Amis de la Quinte du Loup, 2023 © Biennale Son | FINI'Stud

The Story of the Wolf Tone, 2023

Sound installation
"Les amis de la quinte du loup" association space

The Story of the Wolf Tone is a project based on the musical phenomenon known as the "wolf", an acoustic parasite resulting from sound interferences emitted by certain string instruments. The designation itself refers to the "wolf fifth”, an interval whose mathematical ratio was cut off in order to fit in the "circle of fifths", a representation of the Pythagorean tuning on which all Western music is based. Considered very dissonant and unpleasant to listen to, the wolf fifth has been either banned or systematically avoided in musical practice until today.

Augustin Maurs uses this phenomenon to question our relationship to musical systems, and how the figure of the wolf has been used there to embody the forbidden, the uncountable or noise.

In the field opposite the former Chandoline hydroelectric power station, a human voice repeats a melodic break in a resigned "hou-hou", broadcast by pavilion loudspeakers. Inside, a room is dedicated to the "amis de la quinte du loup", an association created for the project. Here, another sound piece responds to the first, a "dé-chiffrage en quintes du loup" for string instrument. The room is laid out in the spirit of a club room, with documents and musical or lupine sources corresponding to the association's aims, such as "promoting wolf-noises, spiral-cycles and variable tuning forks".

Les Amis de la Quinte du Loup

Non-profit association, incorporated in Sion, Switzerland

Aims of the Association

Bringing out and hearing what the tempered range wants to keep quiet

Calculating without numbers

Promote whirring noises, spiral cycles and variable tuning forks

Howling musically and allegorically

Promoting links and associations between lupine, lycanthropic and musical activities

Lifting the taboos of Western music

Vibrate from all sides

Committee and General Meeting

Sion, September 2023

Association members

Katherine Adams / Saâdane Afif / Matthieu Barbezat / Adrien Cater / Axel Crettenand / Francesca Ceccherini / Anne-Laure Chamboissier / Silvie Defraoui / Claire Frachebourg / Robert Hamelijnck / David Horvitz / Louison Huck / Annika Larsson / Augustin Maurs / Adrien Missika / Mathilde Morel / Emile Praplan / Matthieu Putallaz 
Nathalie Rebholz / Anri Sala / Camille Sauthier / Chloé Sonderegger / Camille Vinetard / Pauline Wüthrich / Nancy Ypsilantis / Younes Zarhoni / Christine Zürcher / François Quintin / Camille Llobet / Alain Bublex

Augustin Maurs

Born in 1975 in Aurillac

Lives in Berlin

Augustin Maurs is a musician and composer. In his work, he explores different aspects of musical practice; how music relates to non-musical elements, signs, systems, rituals, and how it passes through media, stories and bodies. His practice ranges from performative interventions, concerts and collaborative installations to curatorial projects.

The Perpetual Canon, in collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Arts Berlin, is a collaborative investigation into the notion of canon. The ongoing project examines the etymological developments of the term and establishes relationships between the hegemony of the Western musical system and the role of the European canon in the Westernization of non-European music and the resulting loss of knowledge.

Nothing More (2022, Bergen Assembly Triennale) deals with the human voice as a resource, and questions the relationship between musical time and geological time. Being Out Of Tune - favorite songs of dictators (2019) is a parody recital on the favorite songs of dictators, presented at the Ljubljana Biennale and at the Volksbühne in Berlin. I Have No Words (2018), for voices and propaganda loudspeakers, was designed for the world's largest propaganda loudspeaker, the Beishan Broadcast Wall in Taiwan, and presented at the Busan Biennale.

Curator of Art Genève's music program, Augustin Maurs has developed collaborations with local and international music and museum institutions, and conceived projects with artists Saâdane Afif, Hsia-Fei Chang, Pierre Huyghe, Yutaka Makino, Jonathan Monk, Dirk Bell/Isabel Lewis, Annika Larsson and Anri Sala, among many others. 

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