1992/98 Leitner
1992/98 Leitner


LEITNER_03_1998_Vertikaler Raum

Speaker on the wall at the height of the attic and in the ground

Ton-Raum Buchberg

[Sound Space Buchberg]

Sound installation

5 loudspeakers in metal boxes, originally with CD player, now with digital player

Courtyard dimensions: sides 12−14 m, height: 15 m

Design 1989/90, 1st development stage (4 speakers) 1992, 2nd development stage (5th speaker) 1998

Site: upper castle courtyard

Fluttering sounds, percussive sounds and soft splintery sound elements are perceived by visitors not visibly but as an exclusively acoustic completion to the upper courtyard at Buchberg Castle. Comparable to a finely woven veil, a subtle mesh of sounds stretches between the space of the courtyard and the sky. The solid materiality of the structure that dates back to the Middle Ages and the immateriality of the sound phenomenon enter into a symbiosis. Bernhard Leitner has developed sound spaces of different characters for Buchberg. He has a cello sound roll in a circular motion from the top to the bottom of the space; he creates the impression that sounds are penetrating through the pores of the walls and that breathing movements expand into the courtyard and then contract again.

These pulsating artificial sound phenomena are accompanied by diverse natural sounds: birds flying up in fright, the babbling of the fountain, banging window casements, gusts of wind surging into the courtyard and not least the sounds of the castle’s residents. The special acoustic quality of the castle courtyard allows a randomly defined contrapuntal game between natural and artificial phenomena to develop. The lack of permanent background noise, as is characteristic of the urban environment, makes every sound ‒ whether loud or quiet ‒ appear clear and distinct and take effect as an autonomous element in the overall context. This quality encourages earnest and engrossed attention among the visitors, focusing their senses on the space-creating impact of acoustic movement phenomena. The opportunity to concentrate and hone one’s hearing in this way is rare in a world with permanent background noise. By challenging visitors’ acoustic spatial perception, BERNHARD LEITNER adds a new dimension to their experience of the built ‘architecture’.

In contrast to the autonomous art spaces that are integrated in various wings of the castle and whose entry exclusively serves the reception of art, the sound space is part of the residents’ living space and changes their world of experience. The availability of different sound-space phenomena hence offers a choice determined by times of day and year, moods or chance. Visitors’ reactions to the castle are also exciting, leading them step by step from their first perception of disconcerting sounds to pinpointing their source to recognizing the unusual acoustic experience as a formative phenomenon.

The installation in the courtyard of Buchberg Castle was realized in two phases. In the first development stage in 1992, BERNHARD LEITNER installed four loudspeakers at the height of the attic so that they create a square in the distorted rectangle of the ground plan. Six years later, in 1998, he added a fifth sound source to the installation in the ground of the courtyard. As a result, he considerably expanded the possibility of creating vertical sound architectures. Visitors now move through two overlapping spaces whose form and means of reception differ fundamentally and yet constitute an inseparable whole: a built static space and an acoustic dynamic space.

BERNHARD LEITNER uses theTon-Raum Buchberg [Sound Space Buchberg] as a laboratory. From time to time, he sets up a workspace in the courtyard and experiments with new sounds, regularly developing surprising sound-space configurations.

(Revised text by Dieter Bogner, first published in Bernhard Leitner. SOUND : SPACE, Ostfildern 1998)

First presentation in the context of the Buchberger Sommer 1992 [Buchberg Summer 1992]


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