Something intangible and ephemeral fills the gallery’s rooms: sounds emerge from the downstairs area, produced by 5 flue pipes and one reed pipe, all between 13.8 and 15.7 feet long, that are suspended in a horizontal position. Das Numen feed readings—wind velocities and directions—from twenty weather stations into a computer program that converts the data into impulses. The latter in turn control valves that allow compressed air—wind, in organ-maker parlance—to pass through thepipes, which begin to sound. For the visitor in the lower gallery, the instrument readings recorded synchronously at various locations around the world and transferred into sounds make for a curious aesthetic experience. Scientific data that, due to its enormous quantity, often goes unused is transformed into sensual sounds. Another important component of the installation Das Numen Meatus is the space around it: there is no sound without a resonance chamber; without air there is no resonance, no wind, no climate. And life as we know would not exist without the atmosphere.
Das Numen is Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner, Markus Hoffmann, and Felix Kiessling—all four studied at Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente, which was affiliated with the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) and premised on the methodological primacy of experimentation. In this spirit, the four artists work both individually and in temporary collaborations under the label Das Numen. Engagement with the surroundings as well as with the present moment would seem to be a defining feature of their art, which addresses social issues as well as natural realities. Earlier projects by the group were implemented at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the Deutsches Architekturzentrum Berlin, and the Schinkel Pavillon, among other venues. The artists often draw on the expertise of specialists and scientists in their efforts to produce vivid objective representations of complex processes in works that frequently recall experimental setups. Displacing the phenomena under consideration into the art context, their art raises important questions.
A publication in English and German with an essay by Boris Pofalla was released in conjunction with the exhibition.