The Other is an interactive audio installation incorporating temporary an reconfigured architecture, audio only resonance and interaction measurement with heartbeat sensors.
The visitor enters the project space and is requested by an assistant to apply the heartbeat sensor to his chest. Then he is lead to a separee and finds himself in this dark, small place in front of a door – alone. Suddenly moans, knocks and laments from a person can be heard from the room behind the door. The voices inside call for help. The intensity of his knocks and laments increase, he screams. Whatever the visitor tries to do – there is no answer and the door is locked. At this point the assistant comes back and explains what just happened to him.
The Other is an installation which basically measures the heartbeat and plays back short sounds from a sample bank which are in accordance with his rate of heartbeats. The higher the heartbeat gets, the more intense the screams and knocks from inside will be. Behind the door there is nothing else than an actuator applied on the door to create the knocks and a speaker, responsible for the voice. Both are connected to a computer running a MaxMSP patch which fetches the heartbeats and creates the “answers” in form of the audio resonance.
We exhibited this installation at the Hochschultage at the University of the Arts in Bremen in February as a preview for the project “The Tell Tale Heart” (T3H). A few dozens of visitors “enjoyed” the experience. Although for most people it was obvious that it was set up (depending on the introduction by the assistent, a lot of improvisation here created some interesting reactions), most had a stressful moment in the separee. Most tried to open the closed door, some even thought that there was an actual person inside, trying to communicate. Some were confused, trying to look for help from the assistents. Others were completely repelled, stating that they don’t want to experience it. But in the end for most it was an interesting experience.