Carsten Nicolai (born 1965) is a German artist and musician living in Berlin. Nicolai uses electronic sounds and visual art as a kind of hybrid toy to create his own microscopic view of the creative process. His world looks more like a laboratory, constantly changing in time and space, influenced by the impulses of our media world, the sound-the message as code-becomes the primary subject through visualized sound performances.
His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Documenta X (1997), the Venice Biennale (2001/2003), the Schirn Kunsthalle (2004), the Yamaguchi Center for visual Arts and Media in Japan, MoMA New York (2013), Milan's Fondazione Prada (2014), Hamburg's Deichtorhallen (2008), K21 Düsseldorf (2019), and Haus der Kunst Munich (2022). In 2007, in the course of his solo exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv, he was awarded the "Zurich Prize" together with the city of Zurich. In the same year he was in Rome as a fellow of the Villa Massimo.
Carsten Nicolai's artistic work is also reflected in his work as a musician. Here he publishes under the artist name Alva Noto. Notable collaborations have already taken place with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ryoji Ikeda (cyclo.), Blixa Bargeld and Mika Vainio. As part of the 58th Biennale di Venezia, Carsten Nicolai presented an interactive sound performance in the Mongolian pavilion.