Spatial Sound Installation (2014)

The site-specific sound installation Inversion serves the purpose of a change of perspective within the historic Tieranatomisches Theater (Veterinary Anatomical Theater) Berlin, inverting the hierarchic relationship of humans and animals.

The work is inspired by a copperplate print from 1610 showing the Veterinary Anatomical Theater in Leiden, the Netherlands that shows the seating galleries of the depicted Veterinary Anatomical Theater crowded by animal skeletons, looking downwards on to a human corpse being dissected in the center of the stage. By placing loudspeakers in the galleries to represent distinct animals, the installation Inversion translates this illustration into a spatial acoustic experience and animates the archival recordings of the animal voices.

The multiple sonic layers conjoin in the middle of the room where animal corpses were dissected for the first time more than 200 years ago – and where a blank space today serves as a reminiscence of the anatomical lifting table. Specially interpreted for this installation by the Counter Tenor Johannes Reichert, fragments of the baroque composition Close Thine Eyes and Sleep Secure (1688) by Henry Purcell were audible quietly when walking onto the position of the dissecting table.

Inversion was realized with kind support by the Animal Sound Archive at the Museum of Natural History Berlin, Dr. Karl-Heinz Frommolt, TU Berlin (Department of Audio Communication) and Studio Potsdam. Graphic Design by stereokompost. Special thanks to the team of the Tieranatomisches Theater Berlin. Curated by Felix Sattler.

Animal voices:

Asio otus (Waldohreule)
Balearica regulorum (Kronenkranich)
Bos taurus taurus (Hausrind)
Bufo viridis (Wechselkröte)
Canis lupus familiaris (Haushund)
Camelus dromedarius (Dromedar)
Cervus elaphus (Rothirsch)
Corvus corax (Kolkrabe)
Elephas maximus (Asiatischer Elefant)
Equus asinus (Hausesel)
Felis chaus (Sumpfluchs)
Gracula religiosa (Beo)
Helarctos malayanus (Malaienbär)
Halichoerus grypus (Kegelrobe)
Luscinia luscinia (Nachtigall)
Martes martes (Steinmarder)
Orcinus orca (Schwertwal)
Ovis aries domestica (Hausschaf)
Panthera leo (Löwe)
Pan troglodytes (Schimpanse)
Phoeniconaias minor (Zwergflamingo)
Sus scrofa (Wildschwein)
Tettigonia viridissima (Großes Heupferd)
Vulpes vulpes (Fuchs)

Short video documentation (external Vimeo link)