Oh Knight in Shining Armour

(2008)

Multi-channel sound composition for a portal rotary crane by Gerriet K. Sharma
Installation by Gerriet K. Sharma and Martin Rumori

Essential for this acoustic overall situation is the fact that the noises of the surrounding area are changing continuously and dramatically within 24 hours. Thus, the “entirety of everything audible“ in connection with the composed tones is constantly rearranged.

Lexus Crossover Award 2008


The underlying space-sound score is composed of four parts:

  1. First of all noises, primarily coming from the microphone driven and processed material sounds of the crane (metal, squeak, short relieving of splices, wood creaking, grinding etc.) are chordal and rhythmically arranged together. In groups and clusters these noises are projected and moved by speakers that are attached to the crane or they are fixed at their coordinates. At this stage one important element of the composition is the arranged gap, the silence, allowing an embedding into the sound setting of the incalculable surrounding area. By the ambient noises, the sound shape of the installation is amplified into a continuously changing entirety. From time to time the sounds of the crane disappear over these background noises, consumed and swamped with the sound flood during rush hours.

  2. In the next part the crane tones intermingle with the sounds that can be associated with the historic background of the crane. Railway noises, dockwork sounds, loading actions, the sound pool that conforms to the “acoustic memory” and the previous functions of the crane is a link to the tool’s former dedication which is out-of-date now. The composition now comes to be distinctly more expansive and self-confident concerning its ar- ticulation. Accents sound vivid and dynamical and begin to complement the background noise of this place.

  3. The third part of the composition successively consolidates rhythmical and quicker movements of modified sounds of the material heard until then. This is accomplished by using flat and drone- like ambient tone structures that begin to circumflow the crane. A form of acoustic glow, maybe a luminescence of the object is sought-after. Continuously turgescent areas permeate throughout the surrounding, making their voice heard and maintaining their acoustic place now. Almost like a struggle, a “pipe up“ in this artificial modernistic and fashionable surrounding of the new harbour, the crane is increasingly attracting attention to himself. In accordance with his age and history he is not doing this in a sharp or sensational way, but rather constant, discreet, almost withdrawn into himself. The whole composition is striving for the culminating point. In the surrounding this is especially perceivable when the sound comes to an abrupt end and it becomes silent.

  4. Five minutes of immobility - silence – the cycle starts again.

By illuminating the crane during the night and the fading away of ambient noises the place where the installation is located changes: a small stage with a missing audience. Due to the nightfall the sound shape finds a new interpretation. At a dead and lonesome place the sound of the work changes into an own foreign language and comments the “neuköllner” cosmopolitan visions of steel and glass. Like an inhabitant coming from another time who is returning home - nothing left of what he has memorised – the old watchman is standing at the new gates of his city.

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