River Studies

Longterm panoramic line scans of rivers (2017 - 2005)


River Studies: Ganges / Chunar - Banares (2012)
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River Studies is an artistic research project about exploring the relationship of rivers and its people, rivers and its transforming cultural landscape, rivers and their function as carrier of cultural landscapes and identities. It utilizes custom, combined and unique methods in digital photography, data visualization, cartography and cultural mapping.

Rivers are natural waterways and lifelines of cultures. Their historical and contemporary roles are diverse and ambivalent. Rivers are connecting as well as bordering. Rivers are deployed as routes for trade and as routes of military actions, some are place of religious worships, others reduced to purely economical resources and shipping of goods. Rivers play an important role in every culture and nation around them - their basins give water and therefor life to its inhabiting people. As different all of their detailed functions and roles may be, they serve perfectly as a given cross-line through continents, cultures and peoples.

It has a long tradition to understand rivers as veins and lifelines of the 'system' Earth and as a consequence: humanity. It might have an even longer history to understand rivers as a timeless metaphor for life or the flow of history. That is one thing that makes rivers outstanding and quite fascinating. My other primary interest however is to understand rivers as intersection and connection lines through continents, peoples and cultures - cross lines that form a landscape of natural features and accumulated history, a landscape that is as much a cultural as a geographic landscape. How much of it is reflected by its appearance? Some differences are inevitable: urban and rural areas, change of vegetations, the number of barrages and power plants, but there are more gradual and subtle differences to discover and explore.

River Studies is the umbrella project over my river-related endeavours - be it panoramatic views from within (originally: Danube Panorama Project, Nile Studies) or above (What If You Would Pull Rivers To A Straight Line?). River Studies - Cinemascope(2013) is a cinema version of the project

Exhibition view, Hoehenrausch, Linz / AT, 2018
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Exhibition view, LP Art Space, Chongqinq / China, 2017
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Exhibition view, Schallaburg / AT, 2020
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read more:

Felix Stalder: Rendering a River. On the Danube Panorama Project by Michael Aschauer,
Notes & nodes: society, technology and the space of the possible, 2023

Erik Bärwaldt: Open Arts - Artistic Perspective
Linux Magazine, Issue 183/2016

Michael Aschauer: Introducing the River View Web Player & Other News from River Studies,
Elphel Development Blog, 2012

Michael Aschauer: Den Nil entlang. Über experimentelle Kartographien von Flüssen mit technischen Augen.
In: Christian Reder (Ed.): Kartographisches Denken, Springer, 2012

Michael Aschauer: Danube Panorama Project - Eine künstlerische Uferkartographie,
In: Christian Reder, Erich Klein: Graue Donau, Schwarzes Meer, Springer, 2008

The Danube Panorama Project (rev.) (2022)
River Studies (Cinemascope) (2016)
What if You Would Pull Rivers Into Straight Lines? (2010/11)
Nile Studies (2006)
The Danube Panorama Project (2005)

Making Of
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