Client: City Government of Berlin, Germany
Location: Berlin, Germany
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $90,000
Gerrit de Vries
Speaker sculptures are public participative sound sculptures . They are conceived onsite and reflect local buildings, specific structures and architectures. They are constructed with up to 3000 recycled loudspeakers (all connected). The sculptures can function both as a mobile “Speakers Corner“ — a “hotspot“ for local participation and self-expression but also as a stage for small events and concerts.
The public, local artists, musicians, choral groups and organisations can participate by relaying songs and messages via Bluetooth, Twitter and individual Smartphones, or by connecting their devices and instruments via a direct “line in.” Additionally, for example, the ARENA sculpture can be used as PA system for events, DJs, and small concerts. The volume is controllable via a mixing board, individual amplifiers and receivers situated in a small storage space nearby.
In my new project I plan to create a public speaker system that allows the public and internet viewers to interact with one another.
Via a live steaming video cameras people can see what is happening at the sculpture (and who is visiting it), at the same time via landline telephone and mobile phones callers/streaming viewers can talk to the people directly on site.
People can communicate with each other without contact.
Since 1990 I have been creating interactive sound sculptures made with hundreds of recycled speakers. Found in public places, these
electro-acoustic sculptures have taken on various shapes like an gateway, an arena, a country field, a temple, an igloo or a wall.
The materials: e-waste, recycled loudspeakers and electronics can all be obtained locally.
Collaboration with local recycling companies, builders, youth organizations, neighborhood groups, rappers, grafitti artists and musicians.
The speakers are all connected and allow passersby to express themselves through them: the sculptures are equipped with amplifiers, a mixing board, a microphone, a "line in" for guitars and music players, Bluetooth receivers, telephone answering systems (anyone can call up the sculpture and talk through it for 3 minutes), "audio" Twitter, and radio receivers . Additionally local bands, "open mike" participants, and community organisations can use the sculpture for meetings and events. Most of my Speaker Sculptures are temporary, some are permanent: the loudspeakers and membranes are replaceable, the base structure onto which they are fixed is solid and waterproof. The main electronics is situated in a closed space not far from the sculpture. The volume is regulable via a mixing board. The sculpture itself has only signal cable and therefore is not electrically dangerous. Graffiti (for example "Speakers Arena"): sprayers are most invited to "tag" the backside of the sculpture (visual graffiti = oral graffiti). My work is site-specific: each individual project is created specially for a public space, sometimes directly embedded into a pre-existent structure. A precise budget requires a residency or preview visit. The artwork itself can be created on site in cooperation with recycling companies and industry, youth organisations, local associations, neighborhood groups, handworkers, electronic "techies". The work is communicative, cooperative and collaborative.