You Will Understand It, When You Come Alone (2016)
14-21 August 2016, Ohrenhoch Gallery, Berlin, Germany (solo show)
Interactive audio installation; motion detectors, speakers, Arduino, MacBook Pro
You Will Understand It, When You Come Alone is an interactive audio installation, engaging the Ohrenhoch 2016 Soundactivism theme: “to what extent can we consider all of us as foreigners – as ‘others’?” As visitors move around the gallery’s basement space, they trigger motion detectors, thus unleashing a soundscape that flows back and forth between birdsong and political speeches about immigration in a variety of languages. The nature of this soundscape, however, is intentionally elusive. The basement space at Ohrenhoch is divided into two main chambers; a person exploring a given room within the space will only ever hear sounds emanating from the other room. If more than one person is detected in the space at any given time, the audio cuts out completely. Thus, a visitor who wishes to engage the installation must enter alone, and will never reach the source of any sound while it is being broadcast. As such, the visitor must remain an outsider throughout the course of the gallery visit, physically apart from the source of joyful sounds or straining to decipher meaning in a cacophony of voices spoken at a distance. The installation thus invokes the alienating effects of some modern technologies, and also compels the experience of permanent exclusion as enforced by unknown, arbitrary rules. The relationship between visitors’ movements and the resulting soundscape is governed by a variety of computer algorithms; control of the installation passes back and forth among these algorithms, producing a shifting, unpredictable audio environment.