This weekend, a one-off installation at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art is breaking the boundaries of sound and art to explore themes of endurance, permanence, and ritual. sync is a 24-hour long performance led by artist Lydia Ourahmane and musician Daniel Blumberg, which gives visitors the chance to take part in a collective composition with their own heartbeats as the foundation of the sonic experience.
The installation takes the heartbeat as a symbol of an individual yet commonly experienced indication of endurance. Hang on while we get technical for a second: heartbeats are known in cardiovascular science as ‘chaotic systems,’ and they have the spooky ability to fall into a ‘synchronisation of chaos,’ where individual rhythms sync up to become part of a collective. In her performance, Lydia is tapping into this experience of organised chaos to create something completely unique. At the same time, visitors gain access to one of Berlin’s most innovative institutions after hours, and are themselves a key creative component of the piece.
Lydia’s work has so far focussed on themes of materiality, body, and place, and sync is no exception. This time, however, the KW wanted to challenge her to transcend the material and move into the nebulous realm of the sonic. That’s where the help of artist/musician/composer Daniel Blumberg comes in, who’s involved in coordinating the musical experience. The premise hinges on the corporeality of each visitor, yet simultaneously transcends the realm of the material.
The event is part of the larger Pause project at the KW, which encourages deep engagement with one-off, immersive installations. The pieces are intended to embody a sense of liminality, both in their content and in their form as impermanent installations.
Visitors can attend either as listeners or as participants, and can stay as long as they wish. The installation is open for 24 hours, and is free to enter at any time. Note that this is intended as a silent event, with a live recording taking place throughout.
Images courtesy of Lydia Ourahmane and Daniel Blumberg
Words by Elise Shepley