State of Being at Edith-Russ-Haus

WHISKERS IN SPACE by Kerstin Ergenzinger

Whiskers in Space by Kerstin Ergenzinger

In July I went to Oldenburg, Germany. The main reason for my visit was to see the exhibition State of Being at Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art with Yunchul Kim and Kerstin Ergenzinger. It was really nice to be able to see this exhibition. I know the two artists quite well from working with them in several exhibitions, so it was a great pleasure for me to see some of their new projects. I liked the exhibition a lot and found it very interesting. I also think the two artists’ works respond very well to each other.

This article will focus on Kerstin Ergenzinger’s works presented in the exhibition. Read about Yunchul Kim’s works  in another article.

Whiskers in Space – a kinetic interactive  installation
The installation consists of several white, feathery, moving objects – whiskers. Each whisker  is about half a meter high. This work was nicely installed in the main hall. Kerstin Ergenzinger had placed the whiskers in a group starting in the back corner towards the centre of the space.

Each whisker moves independently and behaves like small  feelers examining and exploring their surroundings. They are sensitive to both the space itself and visitors, even micro-scale noises that we normally don’t perceive, but become aware of through the whiskers’ behaviour and reactions.

The whiskers are connected to sensors that measure the micro-scale current in the room. To make them move, Ergenzinger uses a nitinol wire mounted on each whisker. Nitinol wire is a fascinating material, which in low temperature is more soft and flexible, but when heated gets stiffer. At high temperature you can give it a certain shape which it will “remember”, and which it will gradually return to.

As the sculpture bends, it generates sounds that reinforce the impression of small tentacles responding  to their environment. Sometimes the whiskers synchronize, suddenly giving the impression of a field of grass moving in the wind, until they get interrupted again and return to their former individual behaviour.

The installation is a co-operation with Thom Laepple


Rotes Rauschen by Kerstin Ergenzinger

Rotes Rauschen by Kerstin Ergenzinger

Rotes Rauschen, a kinetic and reactive installation

A moving sculpture is hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room. It’s moving, sometimes in tiny and sometimes in large gestures, which makes the sculpture come alive, like a large undefinable creature floating in the center of the room. Its movements generate an electrical humming and the material is also creaking and cracking, which enhances the impression that it is alive.

The installation includes a seismometer connected to the suspended sculpture. The seismometer measures motions of the ground movements to which the sculpture responds with a nuanced and unforeseen behaviour.

In Kerstin Ergenzinger’s words: Like an ear, the sculpture listens carefully (in)to the space and renders the omnipresent slow frequencies of ground motion into the range of human physical perception.

The installation is co-operation with Thom Laepple.

Visit Kerstin Ergenzingers website.


The seismometer in Kerstin Ergenzingers work Rotes Rauschen

The seismometer in Kerstin Ergenzingers work Rotes Rauschen


    Picture rights belong to the artist unless otherwise stated