in the middle
4 concrete slabs (about 100 cm x 100 cm x 1 cm), steel cable, 4 tone generators, 4 low-pass filters, 4 amplifiers, 4 transducers, electric cables
exhibition how to look at sound art,
Galerie der HBKsaar,
This constellation of four concrete slabs consisting of two pairs (two slabs set at a distance apart of approx. 22 cm), placed in the gallery space at a distance of approx. 120 cm from one another, serve to create their own „room“. Visitors could stand between the pairs of panels as well as walk around them.
Though expecting that standing exactly in the middle between the two pairs of slabs would create the most interesting acoustic experience, I found that no geometric center was optimal in this way - which meant "the 'truth' is not in the middle". Rather, it was important to move around and take both a close-up and a distant „view“ in order to grasp different aspects of the work, Its symmetrical construction notwithstanding.
series of works concrete, sound, space
During my master‘s studies I worked intensely with concrete and sound – how does concrete „sound“? Can something as rigid as concrete be made to vibrate and if so, under what conditions? To investigate such qualities of the material, I cast thin concrete slabs of various sizes and experimented with structure-borne sound and pure tones. Finally, I made the material itself produce sound. Placing the concrete panels as sculptures in different constellations in different spaces, I worked with the specific spatial conditions, acted on those spaces and made them interact with the sound(ing) sculptures.
The starting point of my research was the idea of interconnecting a particular sculptured material, concrete, which at first sight does not „sound,“ and sound so as to become inseparable from one other. The sculpture became no longer separable from its „original“ sound. The precondition is that each material with its particular shape have a specific sound. My approach is intuitive and based on modeling experiments conducted while handling and listening to the material. Sculptural constellations then arise in direct relation to the surrounding space.
To generate the sound, I work with self-manufactured analog tone generators emitting sinusoidal waves to transducers in order to transmit the vibrations to the concrete slabs. Between each two slabs is inserted an amplifier and a low pass filter. In selecting the frequencies, I follow only what I hear: frequencies occur at each concrete slab, especially in the lower frequency range (> 30 Hz and < 100 Hz), which are particularly well audible and almost corporeally perceptible. The sound, with all its subtlety, acquires a certain degree of fullness. For me, these are the sounds that are the „right“ and „specific“ ones for the given concrete slab. The „right“ sound is a finely tuned combination of frequency and pitch, volume and low-pass filter settings (suppression of overtones).
In physical terms, I work with approximations to the natural frequencies of the concrete slabs, identified exclusively by ear. Subsequent measurements and digital analyses of the sound confirm these identifications. If the concrete slabs are stimulated at their natural frequencies, their resonance will be the strongest and they become the loudest to the ear, at least theoretically up to the „resonance disaster“ point, after which additional energy input will cause fracturing. I utilize this phenomenon, Itself an issue in bridge or building construction, for example, in my approach to sound art.
The sound can be felt as a vibration when touching the concrete slabs, analogously to the swaying of a bridge. The vibrations vary across the surface. They can also be perceived at the edges as motions of varying intensity.
The concrete panels do not tell any story, but are as unfathomable as empty screens. They are surface and body at the same time, constellating into sculptures. Combining them with sound energetically charges the concrete, as it were. The concrete sculptures open the space for a variety of perceptions: at close range or from a distance, acoustically, visually or tactilely.