Young Luxembourg-born sound artist Nika Schmitt has her debut in Berlin with her new sound installation »umwandler«. Starting at the end of July, this piece transforms the Large Water Reservoir (Großer Wasserspeicher) on Belforter Straße in Prenzlauer Berg into a sounding transformation center of energy.
The artist installs a system that produces electrical power but at the same time stops the flow of energy, deforming its own power needs by charging and discharging itself. Nika Schmitt transforms the energetic processes generated by the system into continuously changing sounds and sound movements in the space.
Nika Schmitt’s kinetic sculptures and installations are marked by a special combination of sound, electronics and mechanics. Her pieces focus on complex physical processes in a surprisingly simple and intuitive way. The questions she explores are universal and her artistic realizations are often humorously paired with sometimes wondrous mechanical procedures. »umwandler« is a sound installation that is technically based on the principle of the copper coil prevalent in electrical engineering. Winding copper wire in rings around a core generates a magnetic field, or, in other words, energy. Schmitt transfers this metaphor to the entire Water Reservoir — a subterranean space whose impressive brick vaults are made up of a circular architecture with four rings formed around the center — in principle a reel made of stone! But one with considerable dimensions: The diameter of the Water Reservoir is 40 meters, the circumference of the outer ring is more than 100 meters.
Schmitt installs cables radiating from the center of the Reservoir which run entirely through the rings of the building, returning from the outer ring back to the center. This is where the actual »umwandler« system is located. In principle a generator which — similar to that of a turbine — converts motorized magnets and loudspeaker-generated kinetic energy into electricity. This system is the installation’s energy provider. From here, the electricity is conducted via the cables through the rings of the Water Reservoir. Yet the system loses voltage on the long paths through the architecture. It automatically discharges itself and this process cannot be precisely predicted. The electrical impulses that run through the rings continuously change, and the results of the charging and discharging processes are chaotic.
Sound installation: Nika Schmitt „umwandler” by singuhr — projekte
27.7.-13.08.2023 | Open: Wed — Sun from 2-8pm
Großer Wasserspeicher | Belforter Strasse in 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg