“Plan C” is a new sound & light installation. Set up inside the bridge over the Rein (Deutzer Brücke) in Cologne, in the framework of Brückenmusik.
The Deutzer Brucke has the echoes of a cathedral but not its silence.
Also, it has the fullness of sound of a public and therefore open place, but is still a closed, virtually secluded piece of architecture, in which you can act acoustically any way you want to.
Thus the Staalplaat Soundsystem in their installation for the Bruckenmusik 20 were able to work with volumes which would be out of the question for public spaces of the conventional kind.
For their installation Plan C, realised in 2014, the artists’ collective, originally from Amsterdam, today spread around sundry cities, chose a double strategy which temporally alternated between subordination to the sound scenes given in the bridge, or opposition to them with powerful sound.
For Plan C, Staalplaat Soundsystem installed two groups of very different sound producers on the highest point of a drainage pipe suspended inside the bridge on threaded rods.
In the first segment behind the entrance hatch, tender melody fragments sounded from little motor-driven musical boxes fastened to the pipe at wide intervals and whose punched strips, closed into loops, were projected as patterns onto the opposite side wall of the darkened space by little lamps.
Their high- pitched melodies contrasted clearly to the sound of the traffic, but were sporadically drowned by the swelling noise of the trams, so that the alternation of transparency and masking made the listener sensitive to the traffic roaring above the spaces.
An opposing function, namely that of completely drowning the total sound happening, including the omnipresent traffic noise, was given to a second group of very simple but extremely effective sound machines.
A total of twelve arge wooden boxes, with orbital sanding machines vibrating on their sides, distributed all over the three bridge chambers, were placed beside the little musical boxes. The playing together of several of these mighty- sounding instruments, coordinated at regular ntervals, filled each bridge segment with a deep and loud bass note which drowned the whole sound scenery and stimulated an mpressively long echo by its high energy level.
Perceived at a greater distance, from one of the neighbouring chambers, the sound happening was reminiscent of the thunder of a storm.
Staalplaat Soundsystem supported this association with their light installation in the central segment. Here, the duration of the body echo in the material of the bridge was made visible along the stretch of 180 metres by vibration-sensitive LEDs on the threaded rods of the drainage. The little light sources reacted with light impulses to the vibrations of the wooden boxes, which were transferred via the drain pipe to the threaded rods, and with them the shaking caused by passing trams and heavy goods vehicles.
From the neighbouring chambers, the sporadic remaining light of the flickering lamps, rising and falling, was reminiscent of far away sheet lightning.
This impressive sound-light-installation in the central chamber was followed subsequently by an intervention in the third chamber, which by its casualness, was again set on contrasting. Here, in the only weakly-illuminated space, a little sensor- steered vehicle felt its way along a marking in the floor.
Condemned to follow the same way along the track, a closed loop, again and again, the little robot, moving along with difficulty, seemed like a cave-dweller who had come unstuck in time.
text by Hubert Steins .
This is an image of our audio recording! From one of our music boxes, this is what audio looks like spectral