Der offene Schaltkreis is a sound installation by 
  Christoph Haag, Martin Rumori, Franziska Windisch 
  and Ludwig Zeller   |   ___________________________________
____________ _______| |  / _________________________________                          
____        |     __| |./ /
    |   -   |__          /________________________________________
    |_______|_____/\  |\___________________________________________
                    | |
                    | |
                    | |
                    | |
   Offener Schaltkreis (Open Circuit) is an interactive sound in-
   stallation developed at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. 
   It mainly focuses on openness, which applies to all facets
   such as optical appearance, the interface given to the user, the 
   technical tools being used and the collaborative style in which the 
   installation has been developed.
   > At the Academy of Media Arts, art, technology, and science
   > work together for mutual enhancement. Different ways of think-
   > ing meet: theory encounters practical design, technological pro-
   > grammes and artistic imagination combine.  [*]

   The interactive sound installation Offener Schaltkreis is actually
   a result of such a meeting of two different programmes within the
   KHM: Hybrid Space and OSFA.
   The Hybrid Space was founded by Prof. Frans Vogelaar within
   the media design department.
   > A new interdisciplinary field of design, researching the trans-
   > formations of architectural, urban/regional space of the emerging
   > 'information age', explores the dynamic interaction of architec-
   > ture/urbanism and the space of mass media and communication
   > networks. It develops scenarios for the interplay of public urban
   > and public media space. [*]

    The OSFA series of workshops introduced by Martin Rumori is
    connected to Klanglabor within the department of arts and media
    studies. OSFA translates to 'open source for arts' and emphasizes
    on all aspects for using open source technology for artistic pur-

    Offener Schaltkreis is experienced by putting freely placeable
    speaker-cylinders on a labyrinth created out of open copper tracks.
    Since these tracks carry electrical audio signals, corresponding
    sound layers become audible. This simple principle of operation
    is derived from another project, created at about the same time
    at KHM: Talking Cities Radio. While Talking Cities Radio
    is an interface for the audible content of an exhibition, Offener
    Schaltkreis aims at being a sound installation whose aesthetical 
    criteria were entirely developed collaboratively from scratch.

    Model of a city

    In a city the acoustic impressions differ from place to place, just
    like inhabitants and surroundings are different. Every neighbour-
    hood has its characteristics and on the way through a city, not only
    the visual, but also the acoustic environment is constantly changing.
    Within this installation we wanted to strike emphasis on the pos-
    sible simultaneity of inhomogeneous enviroments. The juxtaposi-
    tioning of heterogeneous topoi through the simple arrangement of
    audio sources, as the translation of what inhabitants of a city face
    on a daily basis. A heterotopia, not in a strict foucaultian sense,
    but as the coexistence and interference of places, in this case repre-
    sented through audio sources. The experience of a urban environ-
    ment gets downscaled and transferred into a room. An experience
    which is not given, but dependent on the activity of the perceiver
    and his will to explore his enviroment.
    > They wander through the sectors of New Babylon seeking new
    > experiences, as yet unknown ambiances. Without the passivity of
    > tourists, but fully aware of the power they have to act upon the
    > world, to transform it, recreate it. [*]

    Through putting the speaker-cylinder on the tracks a concrete
    place of sound is created, which uses the copper as a source for
    its emission and therefore for its sensual manifestation. But this
    concrete place of sensual manifestation is not connected to a special
    place on the map. It is not static but in a permanent shift, just like
    its audio source. Free positioning of the speaker-cylinder allows the
    visitor to create her own soundscapes. Soundscapes, which open
    themselves only through time and movement in space.

    Transporting audio

    The system of copper tracks on the ground derives from the
    transportation networks of a city. This fact made it obvious from
    the beginning, to work with sounds and noises of the city, includ-
    ing their transformations and synthetic imitations. For every copper
    track an individual piece of sound has been created from collected
    sound material.
    The installation is constantly playing. For every track a virtual
    read head loops in various speeds through a given sound piece. Ev-
    ery track includes four parts, which create, while playing all tracks
    together, changing auditory scenes.

    The visitor as an author

    A silent labyrinth created out of open copper trails on the floor
    carries the electrical signals of a multichannel sound repository.
    By putting freely placeable speaker-cylinders on them, the carried
    sound layer becomes audible. Offener Schaltkreis reacts depending
    on the manner in which the speaker-cylinders are used: if noth-
    ing is moved, the sounds stay calm and soft, but if cylinders are
    repositioned, the currently played sound material is modulated by
    increasing speed, pitch and velocity.
    If nothing happens during a few minutes, the installation starts
    cooling down, back to the quietest, lowest level, where it remains
    sleeping: just like every acoustic space sleeps while nobody is
    there. As soon as a single cylinder is moved during this state, the
    sounds of all speakers suddenly jump to a higher level of activity.
    Thus, they give the impression of a social structure: a sensitive,
    pulsating, constantly shifting body, built with sound


    Der offene Schaltkreis was set up @
    Lange Nacht der Museen, Köln.
    make art 2007, Poitiers.
    Fun with Software, Bristol.
    Funware, Eindhoven.