Stationsraum für assimilativen Zahlwitz

Photographs © Tamara Lorenz

Stationsraum für assimilativen Zahlwitz consists of an accessible room construction that holds a series of collagen sculptures. The white cube’s walls become actuated with acoustic drivers that transform the interior of the architecture into an auditory membrane. The ceiling is covered with translucent gauze, allowing the top lighting to imbue the space with extreme brightness. Positioned on the floor, ten cubic objects made from collagen are perfectly aligned in two rows. The object’s material appears organic; subtle traces of dehydration, mold and anaerobic bacterial processes indicate a biological time response. A voice coil is cast-in into each object, causing the elastic collagen to transport any projected sound to the outside of the cube’s surfaces.

The sonic layers of the installation are composed of two planes – the acoustically animated walls and the sounding collagen objects: While each cube radiates a spoken digit between one and ten, the frequency of this repetitive gesture gradually accelerates. Eventually, the process climaxes in a compulsive number cluster unless it collapses to start all over again. The sounds projected from the white cube´s walls are digitally processed field recordings taken in a closed psychiatric ward. The primarily silent daily routines of the patients counteract with sudden vocal gestures of partly enigmatic content, providing a subtle but slightly uncanny atmosphere.

Stationsraum für assimilativen Zahlwitz is an investigation into the cognitive construction principles of reality. It aims to provide an environment that challenges the viewer’s perception through light, visual and acoustic elements, temporarily leading to moments of spatial disorientation and intellectual insecurity. The short moments of compelled re-orientations are intended to be the most valuable spikes in aesthetic perception. The work is inspired by the concept of the State of Exception as examined by philosopher Giorgio Agamben, outlining a state of emergency as a powerful strategical instrument in the political domain.

Material: Gelatine, Voice Coils, Amplifier, Wiring, Lighting, Room Construction, Audio Driver, Computer | Audio Material: Spoken Digits 1-10, Acoustic Atmospheres and Spatial Impressions of a Psychatric Ward | Dimensions: Apprxm. 5 x 4 x 2,65m wdh | Year: 2005


Realized with kind support of the Psychiatric Department of the Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Reinert Gruppe, Galerie Haferkamp, Academy of Media Arts Cologne