sound installation

6 to 12 CD player installation / 3 – 7 min loops / 2005-2006

There are up to 12 portable CD players + headphones on a shelve. Attached next to each player is a sticker with a name and a location (city or country). Each discman plays a 3 to 7 minute recorded atmosphere (field recording) in a loop. The recordings are from the location on the sticker, made by the person whose first name is also on the sticker.

AES-256 is the name of the voice compression the telephone software skype used in 2005-06.



(audio collage of the recordings)

At irregular intervals, I called friends and acquaintances, but also foreign people around the world, with the Skype internet phone software. I called them on their cell phones and asked them to use their phone as a microphone so I could record a few minutes of the ambient noise of their surrounding on my computer at home – using the internet phone as an electronic ear into the world. The recorded sounds in AES-256, are basically created by machines and shaped and manipulated by various digital compression techniques. There is almost nothing left of the originally sound once coded and decoded by all the needed devices (Skype). It makes it almost impossible to recognize the situation the sounds were recorded at (very rarely one hears word scraps, which could be French, English or German, which can than be used to link the recording to a specific region).

installation view at the University of the Arts Bremen gallery

AES-256 is a work about the lack and scarcity, the withdrawal, the destruction of sound material, and the distortion and manipulation of machines. What happens if technology intervenes in the imagination process? How much or how little acoustic information is needed to reflect a place and how much and what do we need to communicate?
The voice compressors in mobile phones, the analogue-digital conversion, the Skype compressor AES-256 and the digital-analogue conversion on the home computer, manipulate the world of audio so much that sounds and thus information can be destroyed beyond recognition. At the same time a unique and abstract composition can be created. A composition based on controlled randomness.
To decipher this composition will be our task in the coming years.

installation view at General Public art space Berlin