Brooklyn-based sound artist and composer Bernd Klug has turned the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York into a social musical instrument. His art installation, traces of [dis]location, spans three floors and uses the architectural structure of the building to create multiple points of engagement. traces of [dis]location runs until September 16 and is free and open to the public.
A single wire weaves through a room at the basement level, connecting at various points to contact microphones, transducers, and hooks on the walls. Each point represents a different geographic location of an institution or individual who was involved in some way with the installation. As one walks through the room, the strings build up feedback, ultimately shortcutting the transducer with a loud snap.
Up a small flight of stairs is the second level of the installation, titled Bearing, which Klug created in collaboration with visual artist Johanna Tiedtke. Here, the pair showcases prints of visual traces of visitors to an earlier version of the installation at Galerie Freihausgasse Stadt Villach in Austria, which were captured on zinc plates in the floor and have since been scanned to UV prints on translucent paper. Beneath the prints, now hung at ACFNY, sit a row of turntables that continuously play the sonification of the same traces.
At the top level of traces of [dis]location is a small room with two speakers that represent a sonification of the building. The amplified soundscape includes the sounds of the building’s sewage system, elevators, and fire board, as well as a police scanner monitoring the neighborhood. Electronic noise is also gathered from visitors’ cell phones, adding to the low hum that represents the building itself.
On September 11, 2015, the string quartet The Rhythm Method will premiere Klug’s accompanying composition for the installation, string quartet and skyscraper. The group—consisting of Marina Kifferstein, Lavinia Pavlish, Anne Lanzilotti, and Meaghan Burke—will play different aspects of the installation itself, from bowing the strings on the first level to engaging with the electronic noise generated on the top level. The Rhythm Method’s repertoire will also be inserted into the installation through short recorded clips and manipulations by Klug.
string quartet and skyscraper was supported by New Music USA.