• Nika Schmitt

bonn hoeren – sonotopia 2018 european student competition for sound art installation

nika schmitt (lu) locus motus sound installation in the fabrik45

since 2015, the beethovenstiftung für kunst und kultur der bundesstadt bonn has been presenting the european student competition for installation-based sound art “bonn hoeren – sonotopia”. this endowed competition for students of sound art, the only one of its kind in the world, aims to provide up-and-coming artists working in the field of sound art with an opportunity to gain greater visibility, audibility and exposure to a wider audience. nika schmitt, winner of the first prize of bonn hoeren – sonotopia 2018, is realizing her new sound installation »locus motus«, funded through the competition prize money, in fabrik45. her sound installation explores the physical and sensory borders of the given interior space. in this spectacle, constant changes, predictable and unpredictable ones, visible and invisible ones, play an important role in the spatial and temporal perception of the location. rhythmic order collides with uncontrollable sounds. the space is reflected in kinaesthetic, acoustic, and visual impressions, which allow the visitor to take part in a continuous process of change of his/her surroundings. nika schmitt about »locus motus« (2018): the interior of fabrik45 does not only house the installation but is also the linchpin to the work itself. neither the work nor the space are perceivable without one another. the shapes of the functional architecture are on the one hand affirmed and on the other rejected by the installation’s coherent and systematic structure. in its resemblance to an industrial system, it seemingly refers to the factory’s initial purpose. its role, however, and its nonfunctional and nonmaterialistic product are in contradiction to its nostalgic aesthetics. the installation is comprised of a kinetic staging. in sets of two, long steel tubes are aligned and hung horizontally, one pair after the other, on transmission belts. at one end, the tubes rest on a wooden structure. driven by electric motors attached to the steel beams of the ceiling, they are made to rotate rhythmically. the friction of the rotating steel tubes on the wooden surface causes varying frequencies that produce a constantly changing composition of sounds. each tube rotates according to its own periodic time system. yet the predictable sequences transform into an erratic continuum of repetitions that is impossible to follow. the entirety of the installation appears to engage in a timeless spectacle. in contrast to visual repetitions, the drastically changing soundscape reflects the installation’s transformation over time. a combination of rough noises, clear sounds, and minute friction sounds enter into a play that influences the auditory perception of the setting. the sound frequencies, the mechanically powered elements, together with the given interior suggest an altered spatial and temporal perception of the location. by a set of rhythmic and arrhythmic stimuli, the visitors’ sense of time is challenged, causing them to subjectively experience the constant process of change of the environment. technical assistance: Rolf Schmitt, Dennis Muñoz Espadiña, Lukasz Kazmierczak, Maarten Davidse the exhibition is a part of the project bonn hoeren – sonotopia 2018, funded by the beethovenstiftung für kunst und kultur der bundesstadt bonn. In cooperation with the fabrik45 and the beethovenfest bonn. cultural partner: wdr kulturradio