Lego Kit Box (1999)

Lego Kit Box by Coti K. & Dimitris Charitos (1999)

“Lego Kit Box” (1999)

by Coti K. and Dimitris Charitos

An 8-channel audiovisual installation exhibited at Mylos, Thessaloniki

 

A way of relating music with space is by designing a three-dimensional environment, comprising certain visual and auditory elements, which encompasses the visitor  and affords a truly spatial experience. In order to achieve that, the musical piece should be decomposed to its constituent elements and the sound sources, which emit these elements, should be positioned within this environment. If the visitor can freely move within this environment then this movement allows for experiencing the various aspects of the environment in a subjective manner.  “Lego Kit Box” took place in a warehouse within the Mylos gallery complex in Thessaloniki, Greece, during May 1999.

The central concept behind “Lego Kit Box” was the idea of positioning a series of pre-recorded musical pieces (Coti K., 1999) within a certain three-dimensional environment and of accompanying them with visual content, relative to the conceptual context of the pieces. This was achieved by using 8 different sound sources , which played the 8 different channels, corresponding to the constituent elements that each musical piece was decomposed to. These sound sources (system of amplifiers and speakers) were appropriately positioned within the space of an old warehouse. Their position and the big enough distance among them was intended to afford the possibility of moving at certain areas within the environment and listening to a significantly different mix of the 8-channel musical pieces. Visitors were therefore given the opportunity to de-mix the music according to the way that they moved within the environment and positioned themselves relative to the sound sources. In this sense, each visitor experienced the environment in a uniquely subjective manner.

The auditory content of the installation was accompanied by 4 video monitors displaying 4 tapes of time-based visual content, which corresponded to 4 different thematic sets of imagery (nature, city, house, body), associated with everyday life in the urban environment. These monitors acted as very subtle elements of light, within an overall darkened space and induced movement within this space, consequently revealing the auditory experience. In addition to these visual elements, a dimly lit, very long, linear light tube defined the limits of the overall installation space within the larger space of the warehouse. The 4 video tapes comprised visual imagery from the real world, recorded and edited in such a manner so as to avoid direct association with the specificities and role of depicted objects and to concentrate on their form and movement.

The process of treating real visual imagery in such a way was in accordance with the use of sound recordings from the real world, which was a fundamental characteristic underlying the composition of the musical pieces. These recordings captured significantly spatial auditory experiences. Subsequently these sounds were edited, digitally treated, often positioned out of context and accompanied by other real or digitally produced sounds, in order to produce a soundscape which existed as another parallel reality in its own right.

Following discussion with several visitors, it can be suggested that the spatial experience afforded by this installation was primarily auditory, as originally intended and that the affective impact of this experience was strong and visceral. However, the experience had a somehow passive character. This passiveness could be attributed to the linear character of the audiovisual content and to the sense that the visitor could do little to affect the way that the experience evolved apart from moving around and perceiving different aspects of the audiovisual display.