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New Castles

In 1874, Modest Mussorgski (1839-1881) created „Pictures of an Exhibition“ as a piano cyclus. It took almost 50 years, until it found worldwide recognition through the adaption for orchestra by Maurice Ravel in 1922 and has since become an essential part of most important philharmonic orchestras' repertoires. The piece consists of ten „pictures“ of different length and takes about one hour to perform.

In the class we tried to find new pictures and contemporary interpretations for parts of this romantic-expressive work, which will be composed into an impressive image-sound-collage.


After listening to Mussorgsky's entire composition in class, we were asked to choose one part to reinterpret.

I decided on „The Old Castle“. For me it was important to work on a melody that I like and that leaves room to work abstractly and creatively. The melody of „The Old Castle“ is calm, with few highlights, and thus offers a wide range of possible processing methods.

Should I go into the old castles? Revisit them in the new interpretation? At the beginning I had thought about it, but this approach seemed a bit wrong to me, because it would not have been a new interpretation. So how can I revive the old castles?

I have lived in Dessau since 2017 and have noticed that Dessau does not have a city center. Shopping streets are non-existent, which is why there is hardly anything going on in Dessau. Yet there is a place where life seems to be flourishing. It is the shopping center at the town hall. Large buildings, hundreds of stores and a different world, where many people escape and like to stay.

Exactly this should become my approach to show „The New Castles“ of our time.

Starting Point

Before I could get into the production phase it was important to figure out what style I wanted to use for my reinterpretation.

Should it just be a simple slideshow in which individual images move minimally? No! It should be something special - something that catches the viewer while watching it. In the test phase I concentrated on moving images and tried to create transitions by filming different locations in Berlin, which let individual sequences merge with each other.

While it can quickly become dangerous with single images that it becomes too monotonous and boring, moving images offer the advantage, through camera movements, to take more time, to show new things and to always provide a little surprise.

The following is my attempt at moving pictures as an approach to project implementation.


I didn't think the moving image idea was bad, but had done further testing and discarded my idea. The new approach consisted of photographing various shopping malls in Berlin myself and editing them with animations.

My music part has a length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, in which 5 photographs can be taken.

The Photographs

The shopping malls were spread across Berlin, which made it difficult for the pictures to be taken. In class we discussed the style of the pictures and came to the conclusion that it would be respectable for the photographs to be taken during sunset. Sunset has an approximate time span of 15-20 minutes and made it impossible for me to be able to shoot all the images in one day.

At first I had tried to shoot all the pictures in one day. However, in the next lecture I found out that all pictures taken after sunset were unusable. In the end, I went out every day to photograph a new shopping mall. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate to be able to capture the aesthetics of the sunset's play of colors - Fortunately, there are certain functions in Photoshop.

After the pictures were all taken, the next step was to process the images in Photoshop.

#1_Mall of Berlin_READY.png#1_Mall of Berlin_READY.png
#1_Mall of Berlin_PNG.png#1_Mall of Berlin_PNG.png

#4_East Side Mall.jpg#4_East Side Mall.jpg
#4_East Side Mall_READY.png#4_East Side Mall_READY.png



#3_Boulevard Berlin_READY.png#3_Boulevard Berlin_READY.png
#3_Boulevard Berlin.png#3_Boulevard Berlin.png

Animation Process

After the pictures were ready, we could finally start with the animation. A process that involved at least 50 hours.

Was it difficult? No, but it took a lot of patience and new ideas. Every picture had to be animated before it could be seen. The animations consisted of masks and lines. To keep it from getting boring, I kept trying to incorporate new elements.

What perhaps made the animation a bit more difficult was that everything had to be precisely coordinated with the music. The viewer should not get the feeling that something „disturbs“ or seems „wrong“. Depending on the instrument, key and tempo, the animation was adjusted.

I worked with Adobe AfterEffects and found that it got pretty messy at times. In AfterEffects, we work among each other, which means that each line and each mask created, opened a new layer. In total there were 463 layers.


Final Animation

Ein Projekt von


Intermediales Design

Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im Masterstudium


foto: Klaus Pollmeier

Zugehöriger Workspace

EM Photo WiSe 2022/23


Wintersemester 2022 / 2023