Navigating Noise

Navigating Noise is a poetic exploration of the means of orientation in space through sound and movement. The installation is a site-specific, 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 environment. S/he steps into a world of sounds brought forth by a beehive-shaped aluminum structure that is suspended in space.

The structure is interwoven with approximately 130 meters of piano wire, which is interconnected with robotic muscle wire (the kinetic actuator and shape memory alloy nitinol). The muscle wire is set into motion by voltage pulses that are modulated via the communication frequencies of the controlling hardware – ranging from 1 Hz to approx. 15 000 Hz.

As a result the installation is brought to life by the subsequently vibrating piano wire and the resonating aluminum body, creating a wide range of sound qualities. Each sound hexagon has two in-built infrared motion sensors. Detecting the visitor´s presence the installation 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 consists of a background mood and an activated mood – triggered by the presence of a moving body. When standing still s/he will be untraceable for the installation, the system will forget her or his presence and falls back in its own moods and behavior.

The visitor is asked to enter the installation alone, in order to be able to have a highly personal encounter with the installation. Maneuvering 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.

Through movement and holding still the observer can navigate through soundscapes that are reminiscent of everyday noises that shift between natural, man and machine-made phenomena.

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?

Installation Work / 2013-2016

aluminum, nitinol, instrumental wire, strings, cable ties, ukulele tuner, custom-made hard- and software

in close collaboration with Thom Laepple

a workstipend of the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art and the the Stiftung Niedersachsen

the Award of the Saxon State Ministry for higher education, research and the arts

the SMArt® Steps Program of Dynalloy.Inc

programming network communication and counseling: Christian Dietz