Navigating Noise


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Navigating Noise is a poetic exploration of the means of orientation in space through sound and movement. The installation is an experimental, interactive sonic architecture through which visitors move freely, navigating its sounds and noises. This leads to subtle shifts in the perception of space.

Upon entry the visitor experiences an artificial, technological enviroment. S/he steps into a world of sounds brought forth by a beehive-shaped aluminium structure that is suspended in space. The structure is interwoven with approximately 130 meters of piano wire, which is interconnected with robotic muscle wire (Nitinol). The muscle wire is set into motion by voltage pulses that are modulated via the communication frequencies of the controlling hardware - ranging from1 Hz to approx. 15 000 Hz. As a result the installation is brought to life by the subsequently vibrating piano wire and the resonating aluminium body, creating an endless range of sound qualities.

Each sound hexagon has two in-built infra red motion sensors. The installation detects the visitor's presence and translates his or her movements into changing acoustic fields.
Depending on the activity level of a person the system generates and shifts between different sonic states. Each sonic state conists of a background mood and an activated mood - triggered by the presence of a moving body. When standing still s/he will be untraceable fort he installation, the system will forget his or her presence and falls back in its own moods and behaviour. Through movement and holding still the observer can navigate through soundscapes that are reminiscent of everyday noises that shift between natural and man-made phenomena. We can distinguish the ticking and whirring of insects, the buzz of electricity, musical tones, industrial and mechanical noises as well as sounds that could be ascribed to the digital era.

The visitor is asked to enter the exhibition alone, in order to be able to have a highly personal encounter with the installation. Manoeuvring through the complex range of sounds at a relatively low volume, the installation asks for a heightened awareness for your surroundings, your own presence in these surroundings (e.g. your steps, breath, the sound of the moving fabric of your cloths) and the acoustic atmosphere of the space.

On first instance the sound world of Navigating Noise seems to live a life on its own, as a self-regulating system with its own inner logic. But if you are willing to wander around or navigate in this world, willing to fall back on your audible senses and willing to orientate yourself towards the noise, meaning might reveal trough the randomness or the other way around, you will distract chaos within the algorithmic logic. And you might discover that sometimes your presence has a bigger impact on your surroundings than you thought.

Navigating Noise is a metaphorical space, linking a physical experience with the abstract notion of a world increasingly determined by data flows and electronic pathways. The installation renegotiates questions about the relationship between body, sound and space and between the natural and technological conditions of our time. How do we distinguish information in what appears to be noise? How do we orientate ourselves within a diffuse surrounding? l

dimension variable
material: aluminium, instrumental wire, nitinol wire, custom-made mechanics, hard- and software

assistance production: Antje Weller, assistance installating: Felix Burkhardt, programming network communication and counseling: Christian Dietz

produced with a workstipend of the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art and the the Stiftung Niedersachsen and with the Award of the Saxon State Ministry for higher education, research and the arts,
and with the kind support of the SMArt® Steps Program of Dynalloy.Inc
Thanks a lot for the support of the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, the TMA Transmedia Akademie Hellerau

The exhibition and conference "Acts of Orientation" 2015 was supported by the Schering Stiftung Berlin
The exhibition "Acts of Orientation" 2016 was supported by the Mondriaan Fonds and A Tale of a Tub Rotterdam