interactive sound installation
(INM-Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt, Germany)

Keyholes was an installation featuring a number of small texts I wrote between 1986 and 1999 of intimate events, inspirations, illusions, dreams, all in connection with sound. Starting from the texts, the spectator could move on to four touch sensors to manipulate an acoustic field fo fire recordings, which was the convergence of text, space, and the limited interactivity provided.

The installation took place in the cellar of the former building of the Institut für Neue Medien, and was specifically made to fit the space. The windowless room measured roughly 12 by 12 meters and had four pillars in its center. Before constructing the mechanical parts, I reflected on the conditions of the room, architecturally and geographically. I set coordinates to structure the space and the components I was going to build. Two concentric circles were derived from the circumscription of the pillars on the floor plan. They were duplicated and tilted against the first two by the angle between north and the orientation of the building’s walls. The tilt served to escape the limitation of remaining exclusively with architectural specifics, and emphasized the installation’s orientation in a larger context. From the tilted circles a line was drawn that touched the door frame of the room’s only door.

Like theoretical positions of the four pillars’ duplicates, four touch sensors built into floor mats were installed as the control interface for the installation. Another line, rectangular to the one touching the door frame was set, both of them intersecting under one of the neon lights, still in proximity to the door, to contain the text collection on acrylic glass panels. The panels hung at eye level from metal rods fixed to the ceiling, so that visitors had to bend underneath (as in japanese restaurants) to enter into the remaining space and to use the interface.

Spots were devised for the eight speakers (four high frequency speakers on the floor, four bass speakers on the ceiling) along crossed lines, some of them referring to the original pair of circles, some referring to the phases and background. Installation as a medium is perhaps the one material art form which comes closest to realizing a personal topography, superimposing with the context of the location in which it is put.

Keyholes texts

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