raumfarben 02 (2009)

raumfarben 02 [soundinstallation] 09.05. – 28.06.2009 klangstaetten|stadtklaenge|Braunschweig

A soundinstallation for the interior space of the St.Aegidienchurch in Braunschweig.
It creates a soundspace which plays with how visitors experience time and space and works with the
emotional perception of space – the architecture of the church starts to „talk“.

Starting point is the interior space of the church in its function as a sounding body, as well as the
sounds and noises from the outside in its social, functional and rhythmic structure.

excerpt raumfarben 02


This acoustic unveiling of hidden features in architecture perhaps finds its most perceptually and
aesthetically engaging example in the Berlin based artist duo tamtam’s (Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl)
sound installation raumfarben 02 created in the context of the 2009 Klangstaetten | Stadtklaenge
festival in Braunschweig Germany. Researching the acoustics of the 15th century gothic St. Aegidien
church by activating specific resonance features of the architecture with tuned prepared sounds
diffused through a minimal amount of loudspeakers within the space, Auinger and Strobl sought to
“make the architecture speak” by bringing forth timbral qualities (farben in German) directly shaped
by sound’s behavior with the architectural configuration of the building.

In raumfarben 02 sound is used to subtly excite the structure and bring forth proportions and volumes;
architectural shapes based on the actual geometric proportions of the church. But tamtam’s precise
design of the interior acoustic environment also brings the inhabitants of the sacred space into a
different listening state, highlighting the strong contrast between the sounding space brought on by
the church’s precise architectural proportions and the exterior sounds of trams, automobiles and

Indeed, in discussing the work, tamtam described that after a certain threshold period of time
listening inside the church, visitors to the installation reported the sound of the outside world as
“gray and harsh” [ ]. Here, exciting the space of the church not only leads to the space enhancing
the music. Rather than sound using the space as a kind of neutral “sounding container,” tamtam’s work
reminds us that the perceiving body’s ability to hear is not intrinsically given but subject to the
spatial-social contexts of complex, dynamic and continually transforming acoustic environments.