Kerstin Ergenzinger: Whiskers in Space at Kunststation St.Peter, Cologne Foto©Kerstin Ergenzinger

Whiskers in Space

Whiskers in Space is an artistic study of listening, noise and meadows. Fragmentary, sculptural mechanisms are sensing and measuring disquietude. They are sensitive to the noise of the fine air currents we are normally not aware of. Similar to the whiskers of a cat in the dark, the whiskers serve both as feelers and antennae.

The installation is connected to sensors – hot-wire anemometres – that measure the air flow in the room. The Whiskers adopt this noise as their own agitated, slightly nervous state of being and mirror and transform the signals of the changes in the currents. At the same time the movement of this mechanism feeds stimuli back into its immediate surroundings causing the installation to alternate between feedback and reaction.

Acting as if they were sense organs they are mirroring synapses and adapt to the changing level of air activity oscillating between reacting, neglecting and waiting until they are ready to be activated again. With our warm and moving bodies we are part of the system but not necessarily more critical than an elusive draft or the combined movement of the sculptures themselves.

The individual sculptures out of flexible expanded propylene foam are connected and animated by tension controllable mechanisms constructed with nitinol wire. Furthermore the foamy bodies of the sculptures acoustically amplify the frequencies of the vibrating wires sending out nervously rhythmic hums and tickings.

Installation Sculpture Sound Work / 2010

expanded polypropylene, nitinol, silicon, steel, custom electronics: air currents sensor: hot-wire anemometer

in collaboration with Thom Laepple