Saturday, September 21, 2013

Goodbye singuhr-hoergalerie

Tomorrow marks the final day of the current installation at the singuhr-hoergalerie in Berlin. This "sound gallery" focused on aural installation art that took advantage of the gallery's location in the former water reservoirs of the Wasserturm in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. Sadly, this will be the final season for the gallery in this location, which has been home to singuhr since 2007.

The current exhibit consists of two installations -- one beneath the larger tower, and one beneath a smaller tower. The smaller reservoir was home to the installation by Jens Brand, "Raumarbeit II", which included a rotating machine that simulated planetary rotation. A large mirror on the end of the rotating machine, along with a strong light rotating at a different speed, gave eerie reflections of visitors and utilized the centralized location very well.

The larger reservoir housed the acoustic art of Max Eastley's "Aeolean Circles", which played sounds at random intervals throughout the labyrinth of the reservoir. The echoes within the concentric concrete rings, which were nearly completely dark in areas, was pleasantly disorienting. The installation also included bamboo "wind harps" atop the exterior water towers, whose sound was transmitted down into the underground chamber.

Having only lived in the neighborhood for less than two months, I am glad that I was able to visit this final installation at this site for many reasons:

  • The architectural features of the historic space are fascinating in and of themselves. According to the gallery attendant I spoke to the day I visited, the grandeur of the space was sometimes very difficult for sound artists to outshine.
  • The architectural features of the larger, labyrinthian reservoir are well-suited to use for an aural art installation.
  • The installations themselves took good advantage of the acoustical properties of their locations.
  • Once the singuhr-hoergalerie closes, no one knows when the space will again be open to the public.

It is too bad that people will no longer be able to experience the space in such a unique way. I do hope that I can one day revisit the space, and that singhur-hoergalerie is able to find an equally intriguing location in the meantime.

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