What the blind see [installation]

interactive sound installation accompanying the exhibition “Notation: Kalkül und Form in den Künsten,” Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 2008. 

Can one imagine music notation as pure perception? What would cognition-based notation look like? This installation explores sound descriptors as a basis for notation, interaction, and synthesis. Samples are arranged in an imaginary space of timbres, a virtual notation system, a garden of signs. Microphones record the motions of the public in the garden and trigger the system to imitate their gestures. Natural sounds and the sounds of neighboring installations can enter the system as well. The delicate balance of sounds, like a natural ecosystem, is easily disrupted. But the system quickly re-adapts and continues its development. The title, taken from an article by neurologist Oliver Sacks, suggests the metaphor of notation for the internal representations of sound that we all carry with us.

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