Ars Electronica 2007
Festival-Website 2007
Back to:
Festival 1979-2007


Vacant Space

'Janek Schaefer Janek Schaefer

Using location recordings and panoramic images collected in a wide variety of empty interiors from around the world, Vacant Space reveals and celebrates the life of space without us present. Every place has its own character, which is hugely influenced by its specific soundscape. On entering, the gallery appears silent as projections of unoccupied spaces merge and slide across the wall. Plugging headphones directly into the projection wall itself reveals random layers of amplified location recordings that directly influence the scrolling visuals in three different ways. Three spaces are heard at once in an ever-changing composition, endlessly creating new places. Sound travels around corners and through windows—sound activates space, and space is essential for sound waves to live out their lives.

Imperfections lend character to the world, so forget “noise cancelling headphones” because this is a study for sound amplifying headphones, where you can hear the edges of time. The installation is never the same twice, and deliberately embraces the context of the iconic white gallery by “amplifying the void”.

Produced in collaboration with Chris Watson and David Tinapple
Commissioned by The Sonic Arts Network