Participative installation, simple listening devices and a soundwalk
In the autmun of 2018 I got invited to the Dialogfelder artist in residence program in Chemnitz, Germany. During the residency I developed multiple sound-transformation devices and composed a soundwalk to emphasise different aspects of interaction between the devices and the city.
This residency was fully funded and the organizers did a great job at introducing me to the city and integrating into the local art scene.
My arrival coincided with far-right demonstrations, some of which happened under the giant statue of Karl Marxs head. This surreal scene of opossities sharing the same space(without communication) was present during the entire visit and got imprinted into the presentation piece.
During the residency, I created simple mechanical “devices” that enable the audience to expreince the surfaces of the city through the sound.
Some devices were giant insect antennas that could pick up gentle hissing of the green grass or brutal noise of the concrete.
Other devices would transform small body movements into sound, changing the perception about the scale of the body.
There was also a cathegory of devices that required multiple people to interact and develop trust into each other.
All of them would also transform the sounds in specific ways, for example long tubes would create chorus-like effect, or interesting differences between the left and right ear.
All these elements were composed into a soundwalk in the public spaces of Sonnenberg district in Chemnitz.
The finished work started off with a installation under a tree, where audience would try to read excerpts from Kafka’s Metamorphosis in multiple languages, even the ones they were not familiar with. They were all connected by a giant yellow tube, which had also built-in speakers, and could take turns reading or listening. After that initiation, the audience would slowly transform into insects. They got the devices that let them explore themselves and each other. After that the transformation took another step, and the audience got giant antennas and the sound walk started. I was guiding them through sonically interesting areas, soft grass, harsh noise of asphalt or techno rhythim of paved blocks. All the people were welcome to participate, and at some point local kids got really interested, explored the area and showed us new interesting points like metal rails or playground scupltures. This was the opposite of that first impression of Chemnitz - everyone communicated and interacted with the enviroment in a playful way.
Photos by Mandy Knospe, Fabian Thüroff and me.