Excitatory Yards – Bundeskunsthalle Bonn

Excitatory Yards, 2023

Participatory Space Synthesis Installation For Two Rotatable Speaker Panels And Electronic Sound

With Michael Akstaller, Thomas Richter, Oliver Mayer, Marcin Pietruszewski

With his two experimental sound stations, Excitatory Yards, Jan St. Werner allows the architecture of the Bundeskunsthalle to be perceived in a conscious and different way, as the installation functions as an acoustic amplification of the building and the outdoor space in dialogue with the visitors.

A single loudspeaker is actively rotated by visitors, triggering different sounds and creating the opportunity to acoustically experience and explore the Bundeskunsthalle in the inner courtyard and its surroundings on the museum forecourt at different sound frequencies. In addition, the ear itself is activated and phantom sounds can emerge. The work combines three important aspects of the phenomena of sound and hearing: Sound generation, impulse response of the environment and interpretation of the human perceptual apparatus. The artist thus invites an experiential construction of visual and acoustic spaces in which the visitor is not only an observer but also a protagonist of this ‘spatial synthesis installation’.

The environments of the two ‘courtyards’ – a small, enclosed one (inner courtyard) and a large, open one (museum forecourt) – are co-actors in a composition. This includes the two spaces as well as the deliberately disparate experiential movements of the visitors. Although the two ‘courtyards’ are part of an overall architectural concept, they are too far apart to be experienced simultaneously and together. As visitors explore them, they become intertwined: One remembers certain sounds, reflections, and perspectives and links them to the experiences of the slightly more distant surroundings; in individual perception, sound and environmental coordinates come together.

A greater awareness of the architecture, the space, and one’s own acoustic and visual experience in a game of distance and proximity is an essential part of the work.


Video by Frank Buchholz