Erich Berger (AT/FI) POLSPRUNG – Disastrous test arrangements

Installation, 2012

POLSPRUNG is the first installation of Erich Berger in a cycle of works that deal with the psychology and politics of disaster. A polar reversal (POLSPRUNG) is a reversal of the earth's magnetic field, which, according to science is cyclical and at the moment long overdue. Starting from (im)possible disasters during a polar reversal, an attempt is made to generally ask how we deal with threat scenarios and states of emergency. We are especially interested in the role of the mass media in the production of a permanent state of emergency, as well as the social function and the possible exploitation of disasters for personal, economic and political purposes.

Disaster test arrangement # 1: Polar reversal detector A magnetometer measures the earth's magnetic field to detect a possible polar reversal. As a polar reversal on average lasts 10,000 years, we will witness during the exhibition only a short section of the process if a jump begins. A sonification makes the deviation of the pole from its “normal” position heard.

Disaster test arrangement # 2: Muon telescope A Muon telescope permanently registers the gamma radiation caused by the solar wind. The measured data are compared with the speculative disastrous gamma radiation data during a polar reversal in a sound installation.

Disaster test arrangement # 3: Reading Room Includes information about polar reversal research and disaster speculation, as well as a magnetite laboratory and disaster notebook.

Erich Berger (AT/FI)

Erich Berger is an artist and cultural worker based in Helsinki/Finland. His interests lie in information processes and feedback structures, which he investigates through installations, situations, performances and interfaces. His current explorations of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now. Berger has exhibited widely in various museums, galleries and major media-art events in Europe and worldwide, like Ars Electronica, Linz (AT), File Festival, Sao Paulo (BR), Sonar, Barcelona (ES), or the Venice Biennial (IT). His works received several awards and prices from Prix Ars Electronica (AT), the Bavarian Broadcasting Station and ZKM (DE), Vida Telefonica (ES), LABoral (ES), Files Prix (BR).