Sound Installation, 2010
(headphones, transducers, escalators, environmental noise)

ruhrprotokolle combines fragments of everyday life narration with the acoustic environment of the Ruhr Area. The voice recordings are processed binaurally, which, when listened to over headphones, results in them being embedded into an urban aural reality.

ruhrprotokolle is an installation incorporating two layers of sound material: recorded fragments of everyday life narration, and the acoustic, urban environment of the listener (preferably the metropolitan sounds of the Ruhr Area).

The narratives are recordings of people talking about their lives in the Ruhr Area. Accounts of a devastating fire in a newly renovated flat, after having just moved in, the founding of an independent record label or simple observations of daily routine, all form the multi-layered spoken material. These recordings are gently superimposed and split into fragments by an algorithmic rule, while smaller parts of the narratives are kept intact. In addition, the voices are processed binaurally so that, when listened to over headphones, they blend with the acoustic environment of the audience.

The resulting sound tracks are made available to the public. The audience is invited to download the tracks to their mobile audio players so they can listen to them wherever and whenever they like – preferably in the Ruhr Area and preferably in shuffle mode. The escalator at the entrance to the exhibition provides an acoustic situation, especially designed to encourage the visitors to listen.

ruhrprotokolle might result in a concentrated but distributed, non-local yet locative arrangement, with purely sonic and semi-narrative portions, halfway between documentary and fiction, the manifestation of which is almost impossible to visualise: it might not even take place.

ruhrprotokolle is inspired by "Bottroper Protokolle" (Bottrop Protocols), a German classic in the field of documentary literature by the writer, director and psychotherapist Erika Runge. Published in 1968, "Bottroper Protokolle" is a collection of uncommented, mostly unedited accounts of everyday life by people who were directly or indirectly affected by the closure of the coalmine Zeche Bottrop-Rheinbaben.