corroding loop(s)

Schausammlung Open Call, LTK4, Cologne 2020

5 Kanäle, WAV Player, 8 min Loop.

Corroding loop(s) is a site-specific sound installation in the Lutherturm in Cologne. This composition is made for the church bells of the Lutherkirche where the bell tower is located. Recordings of the church organ and the church bells are processed, stretched over time, and played via loudspeakers installed inside the bell tower. The sound continuum is composed around and mixes with the bells that ring twice a day at 12pm and 7pm.

The church bells were urban public clocks structuring everyday and ritual life, the rhythm of Western culture, in a specific cartographic and acoustic range. The act of walking and hearing , the body is directly addressed and connected to the ringing of the bell, while now with digital clocks on our cellphones or visual signs on wristwatches, the relation between body, time and urban space is different, detached from a physical space. Time is teared apart from space onto our skin, into virtual worlds, into machinery. From sonic signs we shifted to visual signs representing time. Social and ritual life formerly were structured into one general rhythm for all people, now we encounter various layers of lifestyles and rhythms all merging and overlapping together in one space.

The church is a stage for the theatrical, the ritual, ceremonies and remembrance. Time structures like calendars are systems, thus creating a narrative and a fiction for a society which changes in different areas of the world and cultures. Bell ringing formerly also served as a signal for other occasions, like a warning sign for example. What happens if the church bells never fall silent? For what purpose is a human community being called together here? What happens if an everyday background sound, to which we got used to, is heard in a transformed way? When digital and acoustic signals overlap, the memory of a bell and its actual sound?

The installation is located on the 4th floor of the bell tower, just directly under the belfry, from which a whole is opened into the room and one of the bells is lit visible to the audience. The audience in order to experience the installation needs to physically move inside the bell tower room, because from outside it is not heard. The visit becomes a ritualistic pilgrimage into a space where time is restructured sonically by presenting the bell sound in a different way. The mechanical attack sound of the motors that play the bells is amplified and starts like a beat which dissolves into sound textures. Our contemporary society is accelerating rapidly. Physical spaces dissolve into the virtual, one no longer lingers in the physical but relocates into the digital. The ritual disappears in our society, space and time perception change. In the constant stream of sound, the corrosion of time, bodies and spaces may become physically tangible.

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