kinetic light- and sound installation (2015)

In the spatial installation GLOBAL SOUND SPHERE, the great richness of diverse soundscapes from around the world is brought to life by the irregular movement of a spherical object. This object not only projects a moving beam of light across the installation space but also determines the selection, arrangement and playback of sounds in space.

At the centre of the installation, a blue sphere very slowly and sporadically rolls on a round table- like structure. This movement is driven by the slow, continuous tilting of the circular plate on which the sphere rests. A light shines from within the sphere, making it somewhat reminiscent of a human eye. This strange, seemingly disoriented object sheds a narrow beam of light that sweeps across the dark walls of the space like a search light. The noise of the tilting plate and the moving sphere is very closely amplified and acoustically defines the space of the installation. Almost droning, these sounds are projected from the perifery of the space, from the exact point lit by the sphere. The sound spins and travels along the walls, following the movement of the light.

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As the movement of the sphere slows and evens out, the volume of the sound also decreases. Gradually the sphere comes to rest and the light finds a place to linger. This is accompanied by a moment of silence. Then a soft and distant soundscape slowly becomes audible. Gradually, the soundscape becomes louder and more present. Seagulls are crying, waves are rushing, a ship’s foghorn is heard reverberating in the distance and the installation space fills with the sounds of another, distant place. The source of the sound comes from the direction lit by the beam of light.

For a short time the beam of light remains stationary and the soundscape inhabits the space. Then the constant, gradual tilting of the plate begins to move the sphere from its stationary position and the soundscape begins to fade. The original amplified movement of the sphere and the plate return and the observer is transported back to the here and now of the installation. Once again the beam of light scans the walls, searching for a new resting point. The process has begun anew. The beam slowly comes to rest and a new soundscape gradually emerges. Oracularly and cyclically the installation creates ever new spaces of aural experience.

The installation is connected to the extensive and ever-growing online-database RADIO APOREE and thereby has access to almost 30.000 recordings from more than 25.000 locations on earth (as of July 2015). The installation supposes that the walls of the space are the inner surface of the global sphere. When the light projected from the centre of the installation comes to rest at a specific point on the wall, a recording is chosen via a search request to RADIO APOREE. The geographical origin of the recording corresponds to the orientation of the light-beam. If, for example, the light is heading straight upwards, the installation searches for the sounds of the Arctic. Beneath the installation the sounds of the Antarctic are searched, horizontally one would find sounds from regions around the equator. The determination of the respective search- coordinates is enabled by a motion, direction and orientation sensor integrated within the spherical object at the centre of the space. This sensor also controls the spatial distribution of the sound via eight loudspeakers hidden in the corners of the space. A small display attached to the installation table shows information about the search request. Hence the visitor is informed about the exact location, time, title and author of the recording currently heard.

acrylglass, PLA-filament, led, batteries, microcomputer, 9DOF motion sensor, wireless transmitter

installation corpus:
mdf, wood, dc-motor, nylon strings, contact-microphone

installation system:
computer, 8 channel sound, internet, screen with animation for current sound information (artist, location etc.)

Special thanks go to Udo Noll for his kind support.