Sound Installation (2017)
Audible traffic signal systems, sinus tones, scaffolding poles, paper, adhesive foil, linoleum
Signalised pedestrian crossings are equipped with auditory orientation systems for visually impaired and blind people in many parts of the world. The "locating signal" or "pilot-tone" is a slow and steadily repeating click. It creates a rhythm for public space, guiding the way to and from the crossing. Upon pressing the pedestrian push-button, the "crossing signal", a series of loud and high pitched beeping sounds, indicates the pedestrians may enter the road. The rhythm pattern of the surrounding changes when the "crossing signal" ends and the "pilot-tone" restarts with a shift in time, relative to other audible signal systems at the crossroad. The sound installation NOTE SENSIBLE scrutinizes the individual perception of our daily sound environment in a space-time-composition on guiding systems.
Four original German audible traffic signal systems for visually impaired people are installed on scaffolding poles throughout the gallery. By orienting the speakers to a central point, the different "pilot tones" merge into a central rhythm pattern. The volume of the rhythm is automatically controlled by the ambient (background) noise level. A red button, mounted on the pole, invites the visitor to interact with the installation. Upon pressing it, audible signals are triggered, which juxtapose the “crossing signals”. For the installation, however, the “crossing signals” are replaced by sinus tones (C``, C#``, Eb``, G``) specifically assigned to each signal system. The 20-seconds interruption of the individual "pilot-tone" leads to a shift of the central rhythm pattern. When all buttons are pressed simultaneously, a chord resonates (C-minor triad plus C sharp). The acoustic colour of the chord references the piece "colour as sound". During this project, sound qualities of industrial environments were analyzed and keynotes were extracted from field recordings. The notes C``, C#``, Eb`` and G`` stand here as an abstract symbol for the complexity of the audible dimension of our civilized environment. By relocating rhythms of everyday ambient sounds into the gallery space, the potential (unconscious) impact of our ambient sound environment on our daily lives is brought into question.