Acoustic art is not a new genre, although its reception, which did not begin to attain broader dimensions until the 1980s, might lead one to believe that it is, in fact, a new genre. The beginnings of acoustic art can be traced back to the second decade of the 20th century, when Italian artist Luigi Russolo wrote a futurist manifesto which, for the first time, expressly referred to sound. At the same time, Russolo also constructed mechanical devices as concrete embodiments of his theoretical ideas: his so-called "intonarumori" were mechanical automatons which generated sounds and/or noises.
Several different strands of development can be traced from these earliest beginnings down to the present day. Three distinct forms have crystallized with particular clarity: audible installation, audio performance, and radiophonic art. Performance sites have been established where acoustic artworks can be presented; radio stations occasionally devote airtime to works in this artistic genre; symposiums and festivals for acoustic art have become regular features of the cultural landscape.
The growing interest in this artistic genre among artists and the general public has prompted authors like Dietmar Kamper or Peter Sloterdijk to talk about a "new, hidden, increasingly strong influence of hearing" in which the now questionable preeminence of the visual in our society is being countered by an ever more popular culture of listening.
It is here that the concept begins for t - u - b - e as a gallery for radiophonic art, installations and audio performances. The goal is to present the widest possible spectrum of acoustic art and, at the same time, to provide an infrastructure for new productions so that the gallery itself can serve as a source of impulses of its own. The program of t - u - b - e is subdivided into two seasons each year; each season is devoted to its own thematic focal point. The spectrum of events includes: the ongoing airing of selected radio plays, the mounting of sonic installations; the presentation of the gallery's own productions; discussions with people who develop artworks in acoustic genres (in the course of which the state of the new technologies will be reflected upon); audio performances; and multimedia artworks in which auditory aspects play a central role.
It is very likely that nowhere else in the German-speaking countries is there a comparable and permanent site for a special program of this sort, a site which is ideally adapted to fulfill the acoustic and visual requirements of productions in this particular artistic genre.