audio; steel, speakers, florescent lights, CD player, amplifier, custom switching device
Hans Peter Kuhn uses eight narrow steel panels that are hung eye level across a 50 ft. wall. Thirty-two magnetic speakers are affixed to the steel panels and play random patterns of found sounds, recorded by the artist. Harsh fluorescent lights illuminate the stark space.
The installation was created for the space on the third floor at Mattress Factory. It responds directly to the dimensions of the room it is in. Since the sound is moving in random patterns along the length of the piece, it makes use of one dimension of the space and allows not only visual but also aural orientation for the viewer.
The materials used respond to the "industrial" background of the building - standard fluorescent light fittings are placed as they might look in a small factory setting - and it relates to the history of Pittsburgh as a former steel city.
Along one wall of the space, 8 long panels of sheet metal are fixed to reach from one end of the room to the other. The panels are 8 inches high and are mounted at approx. 4 ft high above the ground. Thirty-two loudspeakers stick to the metal with the magnets in back of the units. The distance from speaker to speaker is 18 inches. Parallel to the metal sheets there are 8 fluorescent tubes hanging from the ceiling, about 2 ft. off the wall and just above average head height. Soft sounds are moving randomly from speaker to speaker. These sounds are recordings of daily life ambiences - for example, a distant highway, or working sounds from a steel plant, or the sounds of supermarket. Due to the deconstruction of the recordings by routing them to another speaker every fraction of a second, it becomes totally impossible to recognize the original sounds. They lose their meanings and become abstract. Hans Peter Kuhn is a Berlin-based artist and composer who creates large-scale, site-specific light and sound environments for public spaces, museums, theater, and dance. Kuhn's work has been exhibited at Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA PS1, New York; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; the Venice Biennale; Metropolitan Opera, New York; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; ICA, London; and Museum of Fine Arts Boston, among many others. Kuhn was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the 1993 Venice Biennal for