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Expo.02: Sound Tower on arteplage Biel-Bienne



The «Klangturm», literally the «sound tower», is an interactive musical instrument. A capsule with a built-in sound station is suspended inside the tower. In the capsule, a team re-mixes the hum and murmur of sound from the waters of Lake Bienne, the winds of the Jura and the arteplage crowd. The maelstrom of sound continuously flowing up and down the tower is based on a week's composition of sounds from the universe, the core of the earth and the storms on Lake Bienne. Musicians perform playing their own instruments in the tower's dynamic sound stream. You can join the «Klangturm» whirl directly via your mobile phone: +41 32 322 64 04.

The artistic concept

Expo.02's ringing symbol. The shell of the tower designed by Austrian architect team Coop Himmelb(l)au is the supporting beam for an interactive musical instrument. A unique constellation of loudspeakers produces a virtual acoustic kaleidoscope. Vertical whirls act as background for the projection of the most varied sound experiences : the result comes over as a continuously breathing sound stream. The sound stream is based on a weekly composition which reacts to the environment on seven different aural levels and can be altered and structured live by musicians.

Inside the Klangturm

The sound grows in intensity as you enter the tower. At about three metres' height hangs a weatherproof sound direction capsule manned by three sound engineers who constantly direct the sound produced. The capsule has a built-in digital playstation containing the necessary technical equipment for producing and directing the sound stream. Giant balloons with small loudspeakers float about the room. The sound tower's shell, which is open at the top, conceals more loudspeakers. Microphones catch the hum and murmur of the crowd and the sound of the lake's water and convey them to the sound direction room for mixing.

Activities in and around the Klangturm

The Klangturm is freely accessible during Arteplage opening hours. During the day, fully automated play alternates with «DJ» presentations. A Klangturm sound engineer and a sound director determine the ringing tower's acoustic breaths and movements. The day's most significant acoustic production is recorded and processed for the evening's sound tower play. In the evening, the Klangturm sounds like a time-lapse play-back of the day. Once a week, well-known guest musicians appear and perform a concertante version of the Klangturm play live.

Exhibition partner: SUISA and SUISA Foundation

With the "Klangturm", SUISA and the SUISA Foundation express their support for a modern, innovative music scene in Switzerland
SUISA is the Society administering and safeguarding the rights of authors and publishers of musical works. SUISA represents 18'000 composers, writers of lyrics and music publishers in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, licensing over 100'000 musical performances, broadcasts, re-transmissions and duplications per year. Thanks to reciprocal agreements with over 100 societies in other countries, SUISA represents a world-wide repertoire of 1,7 Mio composers, writers of lyrics and publishers. The SUISA Foundation for Music seeks to promote the creation of music of all genres in Switzerland.

swissmusic swissinfo (source: SUISA)

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