Us creatives have a funny relationship with limitations. Often, losing them means shaking off self-imposed constraints and opening our minds to wider possibilities. Use them purposefully and in moderation, however, and limitations can inspire innovation.
For some adventurous students, that limitation has been challenging themselves to produce music without using the computer. Like switching off Google Maps in a vast city, navigating an unconventional route may yield unexpected breakthroughs. Doron Sadja – audiovisual artist and tutor of all three of our music courses, including the Creative Production MA – decided to take it one step further. For his latest sound installation at Geoff Stern Art Space (open until this Saturday the 16th of November), he went completely against his own instincts.
“I decided early on to work against my instincts and to put an extreme limitation on the work”
“EAR PRESSURE is a new eight-channel sound installation,” Doron explains. “I often preach to my students about breaking down structures that we’ve built in our own working process, as a way of pushing one’s music further. In EAR PRESSURE I really tried to do that. Most artists, including myself, approach multi-channel sound by panning sounds to different speakers, which simulates movement. I’m really passionate about spatial sound and there are eight wonderful sounding speakers at the gallery. I was very tempted to create lush textures with lots of panning, but I decided early on to work against my instincts and to put an extreme limitation on the work: NO PANNING.”
“Any sound that occurs must come through all the speakers and cannot move from one speaker to another. This limitation meant that I needed to experiment with all sorts of psychoacoustic effects – binaural beating, phase cancellation, standing waves, combination tones, etc. It was an exciting process in which I was able to get deep into the physics of sound. The sounds in the work spin around the room with an elaborate choreography. However, the installation relies only on the way that sonic vibrations collide in space and meet with our ears, rather than how a sound pans from one speaker to another. It’s a really interesting work that can also be difficult to listen to – it tickles your ears in ways you may not have known were possible – but its really fascinating!”
“It’s a really interesting work that can also be difficult to listen to – it tickles your ears in ways you may not have known were possible – but its really fascinating!”
As an international platform for contemporary sound art, it is not surprising that a number of dBs Berlin music students were already interning at the gallery when Doron’s installation began. Electronic Music Production & Performance Bachelor student and self-described sonic explorer Henri Falk is one of them.
“EAR PRESSURE is very interesting,” he enthuses. “I have found the installation really inspiring, since I am making soundscapes and performing electronic sound baths myself. The concept of playing to such an extreme extent with psychoacoustics – in this case, making your own ears produce sound, and making the perceived sound warp depending on the spatial position of your ears – was new to me. I had never experienced anything like it before. I also really like the sound design.”
Experience EAR PRESSURE for yourself at Kreuzberg’s Geoff Stern Art Space. Go tonight, the 14th of November, or to the closing, this Saturday the 16th of November. Both dates are open from 6:30-9:30pm. Learn more about Doron Sadja’s fascinating and diverse work on his website. Follow Henri Falk on Instagram and his website.
Did you hear the news? 2020 applications are now open! If you’re thinking of joining us next year to study any of our HE Certificate, Bachelor or MA courses, don’t miss our action-packed Open Day on Saturday the 23rd of November. This is your chance to tour our studios and facilities, meet our international creative community, and get stuck into some exciting workshops. What’s more, Doron will be leading a presentation on the boundless possibilities of the Creative Production MA course! More info on the Open Day here.