The Gigahertz Awards

On Thursday, Phil and I took a bus to Karlsruhe where we would spend the next several days of or trip.

The reason me and Phil went back to Germany was so he, along with his fellow Hub band mates, could receive the prestigious Gigahertz Lifetime Achievement Award for their work in experimental electronic music at ZKM. To get a sense of what kind of art and music this was for you can check out this promotional video for the event. It’s pretty avant garde stuff.

ZKM is a fascinating museum/institution for  arts and media. This is the mission statement from the ZKM website.

It is a house of all media and genres, a house of both spatial arts such as painting, photography and sculpture and time-based arts such as film, video, media art, music, dance, theater and performance. The ZKM was founded in 1989 with the mission of continuing the classical arts into the digital age. This is why it is sometimes called the »electronic or digital Bauhaus« – an expression that is traced back to the founding director Heinrich Klotz.

The enormous building that houses ZKM was built during the first world war as a munitions factory. It was renovated from 1989 to 1987 into the amazing facility it is now.

The “Cube” (on the left) contains a unique performance space that ceiling and walls are covered with speakers allowing for sound to be directed to different areas of the room during a performance. The photo on the right shows the lobby with its blend of historic and contemporary architectural design.

On Friday when the guys were rehearsing and going through the schedule of events for Saturday and Sunday I explored the exhibits.

I spent about 4 hours walking through 3 separate exhibits in different areas of the building that were about communication, open coding, digital art and the history of gaming technology and design.

This was a huge tapestry with imagery that was generated by computer.

One of my favorite pieces in one of the exhibits were a series of live plants that were hooked up by electrodes to a computer that created a visual display on the wall based on the way you touched the various plants, showing how they feel and react to touch.

On Saturday Birgit and Thilo came to Karlsruhe to join us for the awards ceremony.

Unfortunately for us the majority of the ceremony was in German so a lot went over our heads, but the interviews with the different award winners were always in english because the recipients came from Italy, Spain, South Korea and the United States.

There were also several performances, mainly from the other award winners following each award. They were all very different from each other, some being only audio and others combining audio with visual graphics, and completely fascinating.

The culmination of the ceremony was the award given for lifetime achievement which was awarded to the Hub.

The Hub  formed in the 80’s when Phil was getting his masters at Mills College in Oakland, CA where these guys were all engrossed with computer technology, designing and building their own hardware and software for composing music that they ultimately performed while networked through a central ‘hub’.

This is a picture of the original Hub hardware that the group used for their network.

I liken the Hub’s music composition method to an “exquisite corpse” where a member writes a protocol that each composer works within a framework to compose individually and then together.


If you are unfamiliar with the term exquisite corpse, visual artists during the surrealist period used it as a way to create imagery as well as written material. Each collaborator adds to the composition by either following a rule or by adding onto the image while only seeing part of what the previous person contributed.

This process is how my old art quilt group in Austin made our group quilts. We would come up with a theme, color palette and size criteria for finished blocks. We never saw each others work until we put them all together into a finished quilt.

These were all the award winners, jurors and the director of ZKM.

The happy award winner.

After the ceremony the audience moved to the Cube performance space, where the Hub performed one of their early compositions that was designed by former Hub member Mark Trayle who succumbed to Pancreatic cancer about 4 years ago.

Sunday mornings news.

On Sunday afternoon the members of the Hub gave a lecture and panel talk, followed by several more performances by previous award winners.


After the panel talk and performances Sunday night, the award winners met for a final dinner. How wonderful it was to have this fascinating experience of delving into a whole other world of creators.


Our mornings in Karlsruhe were spent exploring the city, which was something I didn’t have a chance to do when we were there in May because of my busy schedule at the Nadelweldt convention.

One of my goals was to find the best chocolate shop in Karlsruhe to bring back advent calendars for my kids. Zuckerbecker had just what I was looking for!

ZKM also booked us in a lovely historic hotel conveniently located by the train station that had wonderful old stained glass windows.

There were several of these large yellow street lamps around Karlsruhe, this one sits in front of the palace that is also yellow with two rows of Greco-roman gods lining the park in front.


This was by far my favorite building in Karlsruhe.

Look at those dragons fighting in the roots of the trees.

And last but not least, a bit of magical nature…

Coming up next will be our final day that we spent in Frankfurt where we had the opportunity to visit the Christmas market on opening night.

Keep creating,


I’d love to spark your creativity at one of these upcoming events:


January 16-20 Craft Napa: 2 day Paint and Printapalooza (Open),
Collage, Paint, Create! (Sold out),
Make an Impression! (Open)

I heard there’s been some cancellations for Craft Napa due to recent events, so some workshops that were closed may now have openings. 

January 30 Valley Quilt Guild, Marysville, CA Lecture

March 11, 12 CT Piecemakers Quilt Guild, Trumbull, CT
Blessings in the Wind Prayer Flags

March 21, 22 Narragansett Bay Quilters Association, RI
Tea & Ephemera

May 17-18 Meissners, Santa Rosa, TBA

June 6, 7 Palmer Divide Quilters, Monument, CO
Tea & Ephemera


IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.


3 Responses to “The Gigahertz Awards”

  1. Masa says:

    Wonderful trip, Judy ~ and I was just researching dragons this weekend so especially enjoyed the building photo!

  2. Karen Valderrama says:

    I enjoy your informative emails. Keep them coming! 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.