An unlit space, audience blinders are mounted at eye level and equidistant along the walls, square black metal boxes with four round spotlights in each. After a moment of quiet, a low drone begins, an evenly undulating bass, and after that, a pause. The spotlights begin to glimmer as the tone is heard again, its vibration enveloping the whole body. The same is heard and seen once more after a second pause. A third pause is followed by the spotlight’s glare. When the lights are at full blast, a shrill fixed tone is heard. A repetition after yet another pause, followed by two more repetitions of the low tone with glimmering spotlights and then again the shrill, continuous tone with bright white light. After another pause, the same sequence starts over from the beginning. The clearest principle is the coupling of pitch and intensity of light. Along with the acoustic and visual events, the temperature fluctuates. The spotlights' full light quickly warms the air in the space. And when they are darkened, a clicking, ticking sound can be heard in the silence between the electronically created sinusoid soundsthe lights cooling off.
The dramaturgical arrangement of alternating silence and sound, of darkness, glimmer and blinding light is directed at a prospective observer. An individual perceiving is presumed. The individual’s expectation of eventfulness is anticipated, alternating with eventlessness. Perception is carried to its limits. The deep tones approach the boundary of audibility. The high tone is just below the boundary of the imperceptible. The low long-wave tones expanding throughout the space can be felt even as they penetrate beyond to the surrounding environment.
The visitor is the one who triggers what is seen and heard. A sensor has been installed at the entrance to this space. Without knowing it the sequence of pauses, tones, and light is initiated when the visitor enters or leaves the space. At the > WHITE NOISE installation at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin (Hamburger Bahnhof), visitors could be seen approaching the open passageway to the space, without venturing in. Where paintings normally hang, only lamps can be seen. But the spotlights are not lit. Instead, it is dark in the space. Cables and loudspeakers are seen, and nothing elsenot even a sign reading »out of order«. Anyone lacking sufficient curiosity might leave the exhibition never having seen the electronic performance. Others pass by and then are drawn back when another visitor enters the > WHITE NOISE space and triggers the event. Some hear the deep booming in other rooms of the exhibition while looking at paintings, objects or sculpture. Following the waves to their source, perhaps they find nothing, or just a glimmer. Perhaps the glimmering light is not compelling enough to chance entering the space. The deep tone expands generously, even beyond the spacesufficient to see and hear. On top of that, the vibrating deep tone is not pleasant. Perhaps then the sudden flood of white light is the occasion to enter the space. But the sheer amount of light is unbearable to open eyes.
In a somewhat experimental installation, > WHITE NOISE lets hearing hear and seeing see, hearing see and seeing hear. The acoustic frequencies are within the range of the audiblethe deep sinusoid tones fluctuate between
This becomes apparent in the interpretations of observers who understand > WHITE NOISE as narrative music.
If bird chirping accompanied the glaring light, perhaps an image of the sun would appear. The sound of frenetic applause would make it apparent that in this space, the observer is standing on a stage. White light is neutral and
In the series of photographs entitled > WEISSES RAUSCHEN (WHITE NOISE), the white surface is the result of images. Just as in the photography of the series > SHADOWS, > WHISPER and > BLUR and the > SPIRAL photograph, television images were photographed. »The camera sharply depicts the surface of the screen. Given the difference in speed between the progression of images on the screen and the closure of the camera aperture, the photos become blurred and movement on the screen becomes visible.«  Analyzed mechanically, the human eye's processing of images of movement created on film is laid bare. The individual images fused together in the perception of the observer
These photographs convey only an indirect physical impression in that they depict movement. They are far removed from the powerful physical effects of the arrangement of noise and light in > WHITE NOISE. This differing impact can be traced to the difference in media and to the different senses that are engaged. When observers enter the space of > WHITE NOISE, they are standing on a stage. Something happens to them there. It is not an exaggeration to say that they experience pain there. In contrast, observers remain relatively unscathed when viewing these photographs. They are confronted by physical urgency only in a metaphorical sense, as the somewhat colorless light and blurred images recall X-rays. At most the discomfort of reading these »X-ray pictures« seems aggressivethe images are available for interpretation and yet evade it too. But the observer long trained in abstract images can avoid this frustration too. Someone observing the light-and-sound installation can take an analogous attitude. In fact the acoustic/visual event loses some of its threatening quality when it is understood as a purely musical sequence and comprehended in its sheer duration. Contemplative indifference would avoid the confrontation with our own fears.
translation: Janice Becker
 Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yellow Wallpaper: And Other Stories, Dover Thrift Editions, 1997
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