Pulsating Patio

Pulsating Patio, Festival Heroines of Sound, Pallasseum (Feld 1)
Pulsating Patio, Festival Heroines of Sound, Pallasseum (Feld 1)
  • Pulsating Patio, Festival Heroines of Sound, Pallasseum (Feld 1)
  • Pulsating Patio, Sound-container in front of the Pallasseum (Field 1)
  • Pulsating Patio, Radialsystem (Field 2)
  • Pulsating Patio, terrace, prepared with sound sources
  • Listening from the jetty at Radialsystem (Field 2)
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Pulsating Patio (Field 1 + 2)

Two site-based sound installations, Festival Heroines of Sound, Berlin 2015

I tried to interconnect two places in Berlin, two acoustic situations, that would normally exist separately in urban space. I found sounds in both environments that I could dislocate and newly implant. 

The Pallasseum and Radialsystem: I liked their contrasts in terms of soundscape and acoustics. I also found their social and functional differences interesting, as well as their architectural parallels as post and beam constructions (glass or concrete on remnants of WW2):On one hand, Radialsystem, a former pumping station, as a well-frequented venue – on the other, the Pallasseum, as a residential complex; the situation at the waterside, and in contrast, the Pallasseum’s overpass as a concrete crossbar amplifying the din of traffic.

Radialsystem, built in 1881, is characterized by its special location on the water. Its terrace, situated directly at the Spree river, is embedded in veins of water-, automobile- and train traffic, offering an opportunity to consciously attend to the urban soundscape: muffled traffic sounds from the Schilling bridge, boat motors, shore birds, and water sounds dominate the immediate acoustic environment. From time to time the rail traffic of Ostbahnhof station is audible from farther away. On some days you hear the pulsing rhythms of party boats or the music of adjacent techno clubs.

Meanwhile, the sonic atmosphere in the district of Schöneberg is completely different. The Pallaseum, constructed on a WW2 bunker, and formed like a bridge over the street, was built in 1977 according to designs of architect Jürgen Sawade – a residential complex in a deprived area. The soundscape is dominated by residential and road noise. The building over Pallas Street functions like an acoustic amplifier.

On opening a clothes container at this site, I discovered a container noise and implanted this sound on the Radialsystem terrace. To do so, I installed an array of speakers near the water on the Radialsystem terrace and added an acoustic drawing made up of lines to the site. When you linger on the terrace, you can hear the metallic container noise: For this, I stretched, amplified and spatialized the sound. The tonal field of networked sound sources suggests a vertical line, rapidly driving itself onward. In contrast, from the jetty below, you can hear residential noise that I found at the Pallasseum, placed statically at four points in space.

I also gave the Pallasseum site a new listening space: in the container in front of the building, in the confined space, in miniature, I hid a second sonic apparatus. Whenever someone approaches the sound-container they hear the banks of the Spree at Radialsystem and sound excerpts from the Heroines of Sound Festival 2015, which is layered daily with the latest sonic events in a site-based process of consolidation.