Dia De Los Muertos

An Earth Worm Triggered Installation
(video projector, generative code, earth worms, IR camera, active speaker), 2010
Sound by Michael Merkelbach

„Dia de los muertos“ is the famous Mexican festivity at the Day of the Dead, where people celebrate and honor the deceased. Incidentally „Dia“ is also the German term for slides. Referring to both the piece presents a light kinetic installation for the dead that provides an ambient character to invite also the living visitors to relax and meditate about death. The installation was shown in 2010 at the “Kunstraum Mausoleum” at the old cemetery „St. Matthäus Kirchhof“ in Berlin. An ancient mausoleum was destined to be the exhibition space.

Death is the termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Usually worms are the ones that finish this job. In doing so they create new soil, which is the base for new life. Therefore worms play an important role in the circle of life and death. They may impersonate the end but they also stand for the beginning. That’s why worms were chosen to generate the structures and movements of the ambient room of „Dias de Los Muertos“.

Analogue and digital projections are moving all over the walls of the exhibition space. Those slow movements plus the sound create an ambient atmosphere within it. A terrarium filled with soil is standing on top of a pedestal, which is situated in the centre. A colony of earthworms lives within that soil. An IR camera is shooting the movements of the worms, which are shown on a monitor inserted in the pedestal. Simultaneously a computer program tracks the movements of the worms. According to these patterns it modifies the projections and the sound depending on it.

Kunstraum Mausoleum", St. Matthäus Kirchhof, Berlin 2010
Neues Deutschland "Kunst im Mausoleum" 02.08.2010

Wolfgang Spahn is a visual & sound artist based in Berlin. His work includes installations, performances of light & sound and miniature-slide-paintings. His art explores the field of analogue and digital media and focuses on both their contradiction and their correlation.
He is faculty member of the Sound Studies and Sonic Arts, Berlin University of the Arts.

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Here is most of the hard- and software the artist developed for his artwork.
- Analog Computer
- Pop Neuron
- Paper-Duino
- Paper Synthesizer
- Paper Bits
- Raspberry Pi Hats
- VGA Synthesizer
- Sound Boards



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