Audio-architectural installation by Bernhard Gal and Yumi Kori, Franziskaner-Klosterruine, Berlin, April - May 2002
see the cloister ruin as a time
in a spiritual context as well as in terms of its architectural-functional
The now-ruined Franciscan monastery in Berlins Mitte district was built in the 12th century and severely damaged in World War II. The south side and roof of the church have disappeared; the original spatial concept can be experienced only as a trace. In Machina temporis, Bernhard Gal and Yumi Kori try to revive the spatial dynamic of the site, without reconstructing the building itself. Translucent textiles accentuate spatial zones that were originally created by the archways of the aisles. By moving under the fabric, the visitor passes through zone after zone. Under each textile screen, he experiences a separate acoustic zone based on concrete sound recordings carried out on site (Zone 1: the distant hum of an airplane, Zone 2: bells of neighboring churches, Zone 3: rain). In the apse, the visitor is finally wrapped in a multi-dimensional sound space created by 12 loudspeakers positioned in a semi-circle, hidden behind red textiles in niches of the apse. Here, the previously separated acoustic layers come together creating a virtual acoustic sound space that merges with the real environmental sounds of the city....
Artistic and organizational support: Ruth Scheurer
to: Förderverein Klosterruine, SFB - Andreas Hagelüken, singuhr-hoergalerie
- Carsten Seiffarth, Barbara Barthelmes, Werner Zellien, Michael, Glen
Listen to a sound excerpt (5.00)
Art and world
Intermedia installation by Bernhard Gal and Yumi Kori in the Franziskaner Klosterruine, Berlin Mitte
The smearing of the border between world and work is part of the challenges and also risks of situation-specific art. The architectural space itself with its aesthetic, historical and social implications is more than inspiration for an artistic work, which would inevitably experience shifts of meaning and formal changes in any other place: the location is freely selected by the author which is an artistic act itself and thus a substantial component of the work. Situation-specific art is thus a massive affront against the autonomy movement of absolute art. With the world it forfeited its existence; the world is not its subject, but its constitutive element.
In the case of sound art in an outside space, the penetration of work and world is already predetermined by the medium. Beyond that, the ruin of the Franciscan Monastery Church in Mitte, which Bernhard Gal and Yumi Kori selected themselves as a location for their installation 'Machina temporis', is itself an architectural materialization for the permeable setting of inside and outside. The gothic brick wall marks the church's spatial limits towards the Muehlendamm, but the church is opened up upwards and to the opposite side. The visitor automatically supplements the fragment of this cube-shaped-formed building and recreates the interior lost in the bombardment.
The temporary installation of Bernhard Gal and Yumi Kori brings this act of creative imagination to consciousness. The Architect Kori, who teaches in New York, stretched three white textile layers across the main nave of the church, creating three zones which the visitor passes through on the way from the portal to the Apse, diving under the transparent shields. These zones, presumptuously called time zones by the artists, are each characterized by soundscape compositions of Gal. Their sound material was derived from sounds found at the site. After deep, calm structures, which hardly show their origin in traffic noises, follow metallic bell sounds and finally more strongly moved nature sounds.
In the Apse, where further loudspeakers sound behind five niches veiled by red textiles, these three sound levels merge into a varied and always differently weighted fabric, extended by naturalistic bird chirping, which reconnects with the real sound world of the monastery ruin. The deep red in the altar area, with its inevitable pantheistic nature quotation, unfortunately crosses the threshold to sentimentality in an otherwise structurally reduced installation. Yet it is also in the Apse where every 135 seconds a cymbal tone marks a temporal orientation point, similar to the installation "Defragmentation/red" that Kori and Gal had designed at the Kryptonale in the large water reservoir at Prenzlauer Berg two years before. With this signal, which is much too far spread as that its regularity could be reconstructed by hearing, Gal creates a productive irritation over the experience of musical time, which in its aesthetic quality goes far beyond the somehow a little exerted setting of the three zones outside: The time period of the visitor is shaped by the current acoustic activity of the outside space, to which "Machina temporis" opens itself. This way, the time machine is less the art than the world itself, which to see and hear art may teach.
(English translation: Gromoga Productions)