Red Noise / Rotes Rauschen
How does the invisible become audible? Is that which cannot be grasped by the senses perceptible? Kerstin Ergenziner’s (1975) installations question our relationship to reality. They remind us that processes by which we assess and evaluate our environment are subjective, unstable and characterized by perpetual change. In her reactive installation, the Berlin based artist generates vibrations and renders their random, almost imperceptibly subtle, motion visible and audible through the undulations and sounds of a shape that appears natural, but is, in fact, purely artificial. Her unusual use of materials, which comprises an important part of her artistic approach, is perplexing even to experienced contemporary art viewers: the elements employed in Red Noise, for instance, have more to do with natural and medical science, than with exhibition spaces. The suspended, kinetic object, which resembles a gigantic dry leaf, is brought into motion by a seismometer and nitinol wire. The resulting movement is also influenced by the footsteps of visitors entering the exhibition hall.
A seismometer is an instrument that turns the motion of the ground into some other, more measureable physical phenomena (e. g. electric potential). These, in turn, stimulate the nitinol wire, which is also referred to as a shape memory alloy, as it is it is an extremely elastic alloy composed of nickel and titanium. Since the nitinol wire regains its original form after the physical impact that causes it to stretch, it can also be used as artificial ligament or muscle.
In physics, noise generated by predetermined but unpredictable processes is brought into correspondence with colours. Red noise or Brownian noise is generated by random movement and most closely resembles the sounds of a soft waterfall or distant showers. The stochastic movement of particles floating in gases or fluids, as well as the red noise produced by their collisions, were described by Robert Brown (thus supporting the theory of atomic structure).