Phenomena, Former Königstadt Brewery, Berlin 2019
5 sound channels and lights, 5:53 min loop.
The volcano pushes material and air,
The underground cavities reverberate. Virtual sonic rooms fade into this real room, filled by the spirit of a volcano. The vibration of the earth is collected from the ground and erupts inside the vault. The rumbling air is the skin between surface world and underground world, a shaft at the end of the room connects the underground vault to the street level, making sounds fluctuate.
The volcano is the membrane between these worlds. The structural forms of the cavities and their acoustics remind us of organic forms as if architecture was a living breathing being. Vibrations on surfaces and objects activate the room on a physical level, bringing life to rigid materials. The old remaining underground vault of the former Königstadt Brewery has the ground covered by small red stones that remind the texture of a volcano, and make additional sounds while one walks on them.
Excerpt of the exhibition text:
Phenomena are sound and light installations that place direct sensorial perception at the forefront. The underground vault of the former Königstadtbrauerei is filled by sound and light, which make spatiotemporal objects and environments of sensory experience emerge.We may think about natural phenomena, which include a vast amount of manifestations such as volcanic eruptions, waterfalls, fog, electromagnetic pulses, or physical phenomena such as freezing and boiling, and biological phenomena such as decomposition. Phenomena oscillate between becoming and elapsing. We may also ask about artificial phenomena, or at least such with a kind of human intervention. A lightbulb that turns on or off at human will is a good example.
Since antiquity philosophers like Plato and Aristotle have been occupied with the topic of mimesis, usually translated and simplified as “imitation of nature“, applied to the arts specifically in this context. Aristotle in his Poetics goes further and describes mimesis as a relation between Techne (translated as “craft“ or “art“) and nature. Techne completes nature by making manifest through mimesis what nature did not accomplish by itself. In this case the phenomena, as objects known through the senses rather than by thought or rationality, aim to be a medium to play with the question of mimesis (imitation or extension of nature) in the work of art. Through the intervention of the Königstadtbrauerei with these phenomena made of sound and light, the place can take new meanings. A waterfall invites us to listen closely and maybe dwell into the nature of sound itself, the spotlights enhancing architectonic surfaces remind us of the organic and mimetic nature of architecture, the conservation and decaying of human-made structures, the artificially made and the natural.
The compositions made partly of recordings collected in natural and urban environments, as well as electronically produced sounds, remind us of the tension and “symbiotic” relation between the human, technology and nature. When does abstraction reach the point, we do not associate its object with any natural phenomenon? We often automatically address sounds to known natural phenomena, for example white noise is often related to the rumbling of the sea. Thus, where is the border between nature and technology sonically? Where is the border between physical spaces and virtual-sonic acoustic environments, or, which of those becomes more real to our perception?