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Panels. An inquiry into the spatial, the sonic and the public

12 September 2010 – 16 January 2011
Sound installation 'Panels. An inquiry into the spatial, the sonic and the public' by artist Paul Devens could be experienced, viewed and heard. An alienating architectonic experience with a major role for sound/light.

The installation in the Wiebengahal with its characteristic semicircular concrete shell roof occupied the whole upper story, covering no less than 800 mß2. The work by Paul Devens offers the visitor an alienating architectonic experience in which sound and light play a major role.

Architecture – the mother of all arts – is often approached from a societal perspective nowadays. The project entitled ‘Panels. An inquiry into the spatial, the sonic and the public’ attempts to expand this perspective by dovetailing with an almost forgotten discussion in which architecture is primarily regarded as a formal and abstract language. By requesting renewed attention for the abstract qualities of architecture, the correspondences with disciplines such as music and dance become visible, and scope is created for interaction.

‘Panels. An inquiry into the spatial, the sonic and the public’ refers to previous experiments such as the Philips Pavilion, on which Le Corbusier collaborated with architect/composer Iannis Xenakis and composer Edgar Varése. At the time, this pavilion was described as a total experience involving architecture, image and sound.

At the invitation of NAiM/Bureau Europa, artist Paul Devens has realized an installation in the upper hall with a total floor area of 800 m2. ‘Panels’ attempts to provide the visitor with an intensified architectonic experience. The installation consists of acoustic panels that follow the contours of the roof vaulting, largely obstructing the view of the shell roof. The panels overlap and slide past one another, so that ever-changing patterns arise. With the assistance of loudspeakers, microphones and a computer, the so-called ‘Larson effect’ (feedback) is generated and the space is transformed into a instrument, so that the experience of the Arched Hall consistently alters both acoustically and visually. 

Photography: Johannes Schwartz

Graphic design: Experimental Jetset

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