Activating Space | Prehending the City (2022)
Sound Installation for the midterm conference “Here, There, Somewhere in Between: Placing, Practicing, Configuring” @ KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany
Sound recordings available here
The installation Activating Space | Prehending the City is conceived as a thinking-with sounds or sonic thinking, configuring and activating space through practices of sounding and listening.
Various field recordings collected around Eichstätt during the months of September and October 2022 are being processed in real time, following a seemingly chaotic or random (dis)order, as an attempt in displaying the variety and complexity of rhythms and patterns com-posing even a small city such as Eichstätt. Through the processes of granular synthesis, time-stretching, and pitch-shifting, the sounds of the city are being de-territorialised, before being re-territorialised as they are being played back into the room. The room itself, exceeding the simple white cube, is being “activated”, as if gaining a new purpose, defined solely through sound.
The only synthetic sounds composing this installation are the low drones, pulsating at their own pace, and inspired by composer and sound artist Maryanne Amacher’s Tone of Place. Based on an analysis of the field recordings, the lowest continuous sounds are being isolated and translated into sine tones, varying in pitch over time, beating at different speeds, grounding the so-called “tone of place”.
The installation could become a movement from the striated space of the city to the smooth space of the drone and back from the drone as ground to the rhythmic patterns as figures. The visuals, reacting in real time to the sound, further striate the sonic space, from black and white noise to the display of the actual code running the installation. In this, the machines are kept open for change, questioning the determinacy of code and computer-generated sounds, and the grid-like mapping practices configuring the city.
Sounds made in SuperCollider. Visuals made in Hydra.