I was born in Austria, Carinthia. Some Festivals need to have this information in front of the Synopsis.

Synopsis :

My Ozymandias project consists of an animated film and a specially composed live soundtrack for oboe, english horn, synthesizer, and live electronic setup.
This means i will perform myself, synchronized to the projection, on different instruments including a live-electronic setup.

The foundation of the 40-minute piece is a photo series I took of the planned city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia, China.

You will find the Project here, all the images i used in the Film have their origin in this body of work and are the basic fundament of the movie


Content / Background :

China consumed more concrete from 2011 to 2013 than the United States did in the 20th century. This is due to the central urbanization strategy, aiming for one billion people to live in cities by 2030. Urban development is the driving force behind the Chinese economy. Many municipalities achieve enormous growth rates through land sales to real estate companies. However, new urban development projects often provide opportunities for local government officials, but now Chinese provincial governments find themselves burdened with an estimated $3.5 trillion debt.

My work, "Ozymandias," was created in Ordos, a desert city in northern China. Ordos is home to 199 billion tons of coal, one-sixth of China's reserves.
The local development industry aimed to invest the capital from the enormous resource gains in the region, leading to the decision to build a new city for one million people.
Ordos-Kangbashi emerged as a centrally planned new city amidst the mining areas of the Gobi Desert.
In the style of Soviet planning, one can find larger-than-life statues, expansive squares, and futuristic architectural wonders. In contrast to the utilitarianism of generic Chinese cities, the vision here was to create a theme park with luxury villas and futuristic landmarks. Fueled by the boom in the local resource industry, driven by blind faith in economic growth, and coupled with the arrogance of human will, the wealth first skyrocketed and then the real estate bubble burst. Eventually, with the decline of heavy industry and the introduction of a new climate strategy, coal prices plummeted. Currently, the city is only 20% inhabited and is known as China's most famous "ghost town."

Unfinished wedding palaces stand abandoned next to investment ruins by famous architects in the desert sand. The dream of French villas bursts within overgrown construction sites, and already built residential fortresses stand empty in the steppe. Newly constructed skylines shine brightly with neon lights, but they are mere Potemkin villages and the cause of excessive speculative economy. An architectural excess emerged, an urban landscape condemned to die by capitalism. Public space sculptures become protagonists of a surreal urbanization garden, populated by gigantic teapots, golden calves, mystical elephants, and megalomaniacal equestrian statues. Apocalyptic in nature, they stand as guardians at the end of a story of megalomania and resource waste.

In the cinematic adaptation, these themes are transformed into abstract animated sequences. Rotating-exploding plastic flowers and truck tires serve as the starting point for unbridled capitalism, culminating in a central sequence of unfinished buildings in the ghost city, where images from abandoned structures transform into one-armed bandits.

As a framing device, a slow camera panning over Mars-like landscapes is used, interspersed with actual footage from the Mars mission "Perseverance." Elements of the sinking desert city are intertwined thematically with the desolate emptiness of the Martian landscape, creating a conceptual link between the two.

Formally, it is also musically inspired. There are sections that alternate between slow, fast, and moderate tempos, forming self-contained parts that are encompassed by a larger framework.

The Music :

The oboe and english-horn are equipped with pickup microphones at the top and bottom of their bodies, capturing the rhythm of the keys and other non-conventional sound impulses.

Additionally, I use two condenser microphones placed very close to the instruments, capturing and amplifying sounds that can only be achieved through close-miking techniques.

I play the English horn completely without a mouthpiece. I record techniques such as blowing, slapping, key clicks, as well as singing into the instrument, speaking into it, using trumpet embouchure, producing sounds without the reed, and more.

I improvised in my home studio to the film and then edited the recordings in a complex arrangement of audio tracks with generated effects and further processing. I remove these improvisations from my final project, but the effect tracks and live electronic control remain for the live performance.

Afterwards, I re-record the developed pieces in a live setting, always with lively variations as it is not completely precisely notated, but still highly synchronized in a 5-second grid. For this purpose, I have developed a video score that runs in sync with the film, providing me with performance instructions.

The Movie is without dialouge or Text, so there are no subtitles.

Technical Setup :

I will bring all the devices i need for the Live Electronics until the Output of my 8 Channel Sound Card with XLR or JAck - Outputs.

The Sound might be delivered through the Cinema System, if possible, or through a 4.1 PA-System with Active Speakers and Subwoofer sourrounding the Audience. It is also possible to perform it on a 2.1 system.

  • Markus Sepperer
  • Markus Sepperer
  • Markus Sepperer
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital Animation video HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • YES ! Weekend - Künstlerhaus Salzburg
    May 19, 2022
    World Premiere
Director Biography - Markus Sepperer

Markus Sepperer was born on April 7 in 1978 in Carinthia, the southernmost district of Austria. Following his first and early passion, which is music, he began to study classical music at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and Vienna Conservatory. Seeking for more contemporary-style education he started to focus on contemporary music and moved on to Leipzig and London for improving in improvisation and avant-garde music.

When he moved back to Vienna, he did a three-year education in artistic photography at FotoK-Wien. Shortly after that he won a prize at the international Epson Art Photo-Award, moreover his work was shown at Art Cologne the same year.

In 2011 he received a Culture Promotional Prize from the Austrian Government for promising young artists. 2015 he was artist in residence at Organhaus Chongqing, supported by the Austrian government.

His work was shown internationally in Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, China, Macau, Serbia and Italy. Moreover his stories were published in Greenpeace Magazine, Die Zeit, der Standard, Wiener Zeitung and Vokrug Magazine. Besides his career as a visual artist, he is working for several contemporary music ensembles and doing electronic music.

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