In 2012 William Costa and Max Bogner met in Vienna and initiated their collaboration, now known as #WAX. Group collaborations incorporating elements of improvised music, sound-art, dance, conceptual composition and performance marked the beginning of their process. In August, 2013 they co-created and directed the festival #is.m (improvised sound and movement), a week-long festival of sound and dance workshops, performances, and lectures. Since then they have met infrequently and collaborated in the vicinities of Vienna and Berlin.
As personalities, within their practice and aesthetics, they are quite different – Bogner is flamboyant, Costa more reserved – leaving that aside and sometimes thriving of it, their unorthodox way of creating eclectic works, crossing genres, styles, and disciplines, is where they meet.
Their mode of collaboration has been, to create a new, minimal work for every performance, each time addressing a new concept and focal point. Generally, Bogner assumes a more active, animated and sometimes chaotic role, also performing in costume, while Bilwa maintains a stable and centered position, wearing simple black, and keeping composure.
Their first collaboration #Heart expanded on the idea of an amplified heart beat. The scenery placed Bogner on his back and bare-breasted on top of a pedestal with an amplifier placed inside. Contact mics attached to his chest magnified the rhythm of his heart, which he altered with breathing techniques, supposedly granting insight into the emotional state of the performer. Additionally Bogner symbiotically triggered feedbacks, closing or opening the loop between the microphone and amplifier, depending on the contact with the structure. At the same time, Costa forwarded the sounds through a mixer and rearranged them in a quadrophonic PA set-up around the stage.
In #VHS, a performance featured in an evening organised by #Multiversal, they chose video cassettes as a matter of focus, defining the compositional frame, due to their visual and sonic qualities. They continuously pulled tape from the cassettes, which were prepared with contact mics to amplify the micro-sounds created from the action, while discarding them into the air. As the tempo and density of the structure slowly increased piles of tape started to accumulate on the stage until the final 'scene' was triggered by strobing lights, thus altering the visual perception and re-contextualising the previous condensing time sequence.
For #Pendulum they set up a room installation comprised of 3 microphones suspended from the ceiling and amplified wooden plates on the floors which would also define the progress Bogner would make through the room. While moving towards the microphones, eventually swinging them over amplifiers positioned underneath them to create altered repetitive feedbacks, his steps got amplified over the plates. Bilwa picked up, mixed and directed the so created sounds over the loudspeakers throughout the space.
Their latest collaboration, #hiphop(ish), utilised aesthetics of Hip hop, but blended them with elements of contemporary composition, such as long time signature transitions between two static structures or abrupt cuts from one body of sound to the next, destroying the feeling of familiarity as soon as the crowd picked up on it and due to that altered and deconstructed the 'normally' established codes of genre. Additionally to that elements of performance and light design amplified the different phases of the composition. Bogner performed on vocals and a MPC 2000XL drum computer – a machine legendary from its use in the hay days of Hip hop – while Bilwa Dj'd beats and hooks.