(In) Audible Air – Monheim Triennale 2023

Written by caroline

(In) Audible Air is a new work by Caroline Devine commissioned by Monheim Triennale for The Sound – Sonic Art in Public Spaces between June 3 and July 2, 2023. Information at Monheim Triennale II website.

(In) Audible Air is a multi-channel sound installation by artist Caroline Devine for two locations in the city centre of Monheim am Rhein. Both are transformed by a sonic intervention. Devine establishes a dialogue between audible sounds and inaudible signals of nature.

One of the sites is within Rathauscenter, where various sounds of nature, including birds, bats and insects, can be heard through loudspeakers located in an atrium above a seating area, directing the view to the sky. This area offers visitors the rare opportunity to sit in a commercial space without consuming. Sound transducers attached to glass panels in the Rathauscenter, diffuse the lapping of the Rhine regularly displaced by passing container ships, across the windows. Devine’s installation establishes a link between urban and natural space, acoustically reminding visitors of the impact of human activity on nature.

The other site is the high-rise building at Eierplatz. There, the artist has activated an empty glass showcase of the Co-Working Space Monheim, which is reminiscent of a shop window. Sound transducers are installed on the four glass panes of the showcase. Usually, such techniques use the glass like a membrane as a loudspeaker to draw the attention of passers-by to the visual design of the shop windows. In Devine’s installation (In) Audible Air, however, the display case is empty: visitors are immersed in a visually and materially intangible auditory experience. Stepping close to the glass, a sound composition can be heard that consists of normally inaudible, naturally occurring VLF radio signals and acoustic resonances of the Sun that Devine has sonified from scientific data.

For (In) Audible Air, Devine applied techniques she had used in the sonifcation of solar resonances to her exploration of birdsong. Recordings were dramatically slowed and processed to reveal a gradually unfolding and unfamiliar sonic palette of overtones.