Sound installation

CD player, movable dual loudspeakers, trolley with a parabolic acoustic mirror



Technical basics
Seismograms of 21 earthquake stations recording seismic events across the world on the very same day (December 14, 1997) from various perspectives are audified, consecutively stored as soundtracks and commented on. The recordings are reproduced using a set of mobile, dual loudspeakers whose two membranes vibrate synchronously (with reverse polarity).

Artistic aspects
Extract from the inaugural address by Maija Julius: “Starting out from Berlin, Dombois acoustically circumnavigates the globe with his visitors. [ … ] As visitors can reposition the moveable loudspeakers and the parabolic mirror anywhere in the room at any time, they can influence the acoustic features of Surf. However, in contrast to the windsurfer’s sails, the parabolic mirror does not have a window. The saddle in front of the parabolic mirror offers the perfect focal point from which to listen to the sounds. The measuring device is thus aligned ideally towards the body, however, not necessarily in relation to what is to be measured. The entire installation is staged with tongue firmly in cheek. Surfing the sound material allows you to playfully explore the reflection and refraction of sounds in the room. At the same time, you may also function as a factor, which alters the object being explored – analogous to a motorway in the proximity of a seismological station. Dombois employs the acoustic representation of the earthquakes as expansion of earthquake research. Yet by only audifying the data, instead of varying them according to subjective criteria, he creates an acoustic diversity, which captivates our attention. The fact that he is not only concerned with reproducing research data in a more accessible medium than that of models and measurement data is beyond question. After all, you can, of course, simply enjoy the sounds themselves. When surfing among the musical units my favourite was Chiang Mai in Thailand, where the sound resembles the bubbling of a stream, combined with a soft plopping noise. This is joined by a second layer of sound, which approximates the chirping of crickets. Comprising 21 sequences, this acoustic piece is evolving now into a reflection on the exhibition venue itself, in which the room’s acoustics become a constitutive element of the work.”

Cf. also the online version Surf''