Marnix de Nijs (NL), Edwin van der Heide (NL) Spatial sounds (100dB at 100km/h)

interactive audio installation

Deleuze asserts that “grass grows from the middle”, and not from beneath or from above. This could be applied to artists whose main concern is the world and the context in which they create. Marnix de Nijs and Edwin van der Heide, authors of the interactive audio-installation Spatial Sounds are true offspring of their environment — a highly technologically developed and crowded world of com-munication in which cyber-identities are possible. Since machines (phone, computer, cell phone, car, plane) are platforms and media-tors of a swifter and more effective communication, the authors of Spatial Sounds have decided to invent one. Their creation is a para-digm of itself, one questioning the present-day role of the machine.

The Spatial Sounds installation is similar to contemporary music devices, ones meant not exclusively for reproduction, but for real-time interactive composing of sound sequences as well. It is also has the characteristics of a car or some other robot — it moves, accele-rating to 100km/h, rotating around its axis in a Sisyphus-like trajec-tory.

Finally, it can be compared to surveillance devices, since it depends on this technology in order to establish communication with the viewer. It is a project of a time in which the supervision society — as defined by Foucault — becomes one of technology-mediated control. A time in which prisons — the embodiment of dis-cipline and surveillance, Panoptikon — are gradually replaced by machines that allow you to enter a space only if you have the right password, fingerprint, colour of voice or genetic code.

What is Marnix de Nijs and Edwin van der Heide’s answer to a fundamental question of contemporary society, the one regarding the relationship of machine and man? Their installation perfectly illustrates Lacan’s thesis about the nonexistent, yet active relation (a thesis Lacan applied to gender-relations). The fact that the man-machine relation is absent cannot prevent man from imagining one, even though the machine, possessing neither cognitive nor emotio-nal capacities, does not try to establish communication but simply to execute what it has been programmed for.

Marnix de Nijs (NL)

Marnix de Nijs is an Rotterdam based installation artist and researcher who has been working with full body participation in immersive audio visual environments since the late nineties. His works include mainly interactively experienced machines that play with the perception and control of image and sound, but also, radical and humorous pieces such as his Bullet Proof Tent & Lingerie, the Physiognomic Scrutinizer and his Autonomous Oil Reserve. Impelled by the idea that technology acts as a driving force behind cultural change and is therefore capable of generating new experiences in which societal habits and communication are rethought, his work thrives on the creative possibilities offered by new technologies, while critically examining their impact on contemporary society and human perception.

De Nijs' works have been widely exhibited at international art institutes, museums and festivals. He received honorable mentions at the Prix Ars Electronica in 2013, 2005 and 2001. In 2005 he collected the prestigious Dutch Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award, for his entire oeuvre.


Edwin van der Heide (NL)

Edwin van der Heide lives in Rotterdam. He studied sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He has given performances all over the world as a composer and performer of electronic music and has created and exhibited various sound installations. The under-lying theme of these works is to develop new musical instruments, new techniques for performance, and new methods of sound gene-ration/production to develop new musical language. Van der Heide is also a member of Sensorband, a group that gave performances using sensor-based instruments at the ICC in 1997. Together with Marnix de Nijs he won honorary mention in the interactive art cate-gory of the Ars Electronica in 2001 for the Spatial Sounds project.