Höhenrausch /High-altitude Euphoria
Sound installation
Collaborative project with Waldo Riedl

images / text

A round, white table stands at the intersection of two adjacent spaces. On it, twelve glass bowls arranged in circle are filled with six different alcoholic drinks that slowly evaporate, leaving residue behind in accordance with the consistency of each fluid. The bowls sporadically make a clinging sound triggered by a mechanically produced vibration of the tabletop.

Sonars, so-called Ultrameters, hang above six of the bowls and measure the distance between the level of the gradually evaporating fluid and the measuring device. In addition, two further measuring devices in the space register the height of the visitors entering the space. Each documented person produces a frequency depending on their height; tall persons produce higher sounds, short persons produce lower sounds.

The following measurements were taken: the relationship between the average height of the ceiling and the evaporation rate of the liquids, the average height and number of visitors as well as the relationship between the different evaporation rates to each other. A computer standing in one corner of the room collects and evaluates the data. Every 15 minutes, the data is audibly printed out on continuous paper with a dot matrix printer in the form of curve progressions, bar charts and number sequences.

The sounds occurring in the installation—the actual sounds as well as their timings—are in an extreme relation to human perception. Some sounds are generated in real time (measurements of the entering visitors), others occur sporadically and unexpectedly (vibration of the table), others appear stretched out in time, but in a precise rhythm (printouts of statistical data). The composition last for the entire duration of the exhibition and can therefore only be experienced in part by the visitor. The measurements collected during the exhibition are ultimately used to calculate the statistical variations in the height of the space. The space gradually gains in height on the one hand as a result of the evaporating liquids and the gradual falling of the level of the liquids. But, on the other hand, its height also rapidly decreases with each entering visitor. /