Site-specific Sound Installation, 32 channels (2014)

The site-specific sound installation Inversion serves the purpose of a change of perspective within the historic Tieranatomisches Theater (Veterinary Anatomical Theater) Berlin, inverting the hierarchic relationship of humans and animals.

The work is inspired by a copperplate print of the anatomical theater in Leiden, the Netherlands (ca. 1610) that shows its seating galleries crowded with animal skeletons, looking downwards on to a human corpse being dissected in the center of the stage.
By placing loudspeakers in the galleries to represent these animals, the installation Inversion animates archival recordings of animal voices (selected from the Animal Sound Archive at the Museum of Natural History Berlin) and translates the illustration into a spatial acoustic experience.

In the Tieranatomisches Theater, the seating galleries were closed to visitors for the presentation of the installation, so that the only listening position was in the center of the space, where animal corpses were dissected for the first time more than 200 years ago.

Specially interpreted for this installation by the Counter Tenor Johannes Reichert, fragments of the baroque composition Close Thine Eyes and Sleep Secure (1688) by Henry Purcell were audible quietly when walking into the center of the space.

To further enhance the inversion of the space, ambient sounds from outside the building were transmitted into the interior and spatially distributed there.

The multiple sonic layers conjoin in the middle of the room where a blank space today serves as a reminiscence of the anatomical lifting table.

Animal voices:
Asio otus (Waldohreule)
Balearica regulorum (Kronenkranich)
Bos taurus taurus (Hausrind)
Bufo viridis (Wechselkröte)
Canis lupus familiaris (Haushund)
Camelus dromedarius (Dromedar)
Cervus elaphus (Rothirsch)
Corvus corax (Kolkrabe)
Elephas maximus (Asiatischer Elefant)
Equus asinus (Hausesel)
Felis chaus (Sumpfluchs)
Gracula religiosa (Beo)
Helarctos malayanus (Malaienbär)
Halichoerus grypus (Kegelrobe)
Luscinia luscinia (Nachtigall)
Martes martes (Steinmarder)
Orcinus orca (Schwertwal)
Ovis aries domestica (Hausschaf)
Panthera leo (Löwe)
Pan troglodytes (Schimpanse)
Phoeniconaias minor (Zwergflamingo)
Sus scrofa (Wildschwein)
Tettigonia viridissima (Großes Heupferd)
Vulpes vulpes (Fuchs)

Inversion was realized with kind support by the Animal Sound Archive at the Museum of Natural History Berlin, Dr. Karl-Heinz Frommolt, TU Berlin (Department of Audio Communication) and Studio Potsdam. Graphic Design by stereokompost. Special thanks to the team of the Tieranatomisches Theater Berlin. Curated by Felix Sattler.

Short video documentation (external Vimeo link)