Oliver Kunkel
Sleeping Beauty Syndrome I

Setup in a room without windows, in a clinical atmosphere, totally aseptic except for the excrement of the doves which the artist, Oliver Kunkel, let out during the opening, Sleeping Beauty Syndrome I refers to the codename of a military project established by the government during the era of Reagan when a system of weapons working with microwaves, temporarily adopted in Iraq, was investigated.

In the center of the room there is a reproduction of a mobile phone microwave antenna, bare walls all around, in every corner a reconverted speaker from which the viewer listens to a multi-tracked sound file in Dolby-surround. That one is dominated by a “Shepherd-Sound” that is called as his innovator: a sound that produces an illusion of permanent swelling, after a few minutes a noise of haunting affection because there is no releasing climax. Is it a trial? Who transmits and who receives? That sound file is underlaid with a whispered text of 45 minutes. The remained tracks are sine curves of high-pitched and really low-frequented tones between 63 and 100 megahertz, extremely unpleasing for the human sense of hearing, as well as the familiar automatic laughing that is used for comedy shows.

The whispered text taken from the internet expresses a conspiracy theory about a supposed incident in Great Britain while the era of Thatcher: the government is reported to have sent microwaves, called ELF (extremely low frequency)-waves, by radio masts to socially disadvantaged, urban areas in order to depress riots, unbeknown to the population. Those waves shall prevent aggression and have an effect on the human psyche. The automatic laughing on the track comments on the theory. But: there is still an uncertainty about the real impact of such waves because it isn´t proven accurately. Oliver Kunkel designs his installations at the computer: constructing stereoscopic pictures of his exhibition space and virtual role models of all objects within. He compares his work with that of a sculptor: First of all he builds a basic shape that receives a complete appearance using methods like shaping and rendering. This form is brought to perfection including the reflections of the virtual surrounding. Those objects can be viewed as computer prints in the first room of the KJUBH Artspace. The scene seems to be a fairy tale: bellied creature like forms at the end of the tree root with throats from which a sangenious, tough liquid flows out – victims? Of which crime? The pictures contain details of a virtual tracking shot defining what the cause for the morbid situation of the creatures could be. Lets glance at the top of the tree: there is a hidden mobile station.

As well as in other topically related pieces, the artist deals with diffuse social fears regarding technical developments, new scientific expertise and the exponential wave that is symbolized within the “Shepherd-Sound” to point out the increasing economic growth.



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