SUB (2019)

Audiovisual Installation. LED Wall Display, Surround Sound.

Set in pitch-darkness, SUB is a meditative, yet dramatic work. It is the second composition for a blackout space, after SOL, 2017. It is also part of a series of phenomenological environments, that started with the performance FEED, 2005 and the installation ZEE, 2008.

The absolute darkness of SUB (without emergency exit lights or similar) is broken, in intervals and for parts of seconds only, by bursts of animated abstract forms and amorphous patterns. Returning back into darkness, ghostly retinal after-images inhabit visitors retinas, slowly shifting  and fading until the next eruption of light.

With the work's gestalt both initially unsettling and then increasingly hypnotic, visitors are invited to drifting off into an ambiguous state of sensory deprivation and - overload, slowly adapting to an unfamiliar terrain.

The ambient, synthesized surround sound-scape of SUB both accentuates the moments of light as well as continuously informs and sustains the installation.

Before entering, the audience is asked to leave behind their phones and any other communication-, photographic-, or light emitting devices. This is to prevent light pollution in the installation space. But also, posting to social media, taking selfies, or texting are put on hold. Experiencing SUB thus allows for a meditative break, a moment of minimized visual sensing, without the noise and distraction emitted by a hyper-mediated world.
SUB has no beginning or end, visitors may enter at any time and stay as long as they so desire. Depending on one's position in space, visual and sonic impressions will vary substantially.

Due to the phenomenological nature of the work, video documentation is not available. Available photos depict 1⁄3 sec moments of light, before retinal after images, which, as said, can’t be documented.

SUB – Production Credits:
© Kurt Hentschläger, 2019-22
- 2019 Production residency by MANA Contemporary with additional support for the installation premiere by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York & Hyphen Hub New York.
- Initial project research and production supported by OK Center Linz, & CTM Berlin.
- Production Assistance New York: Jonatan Martinez
- Technical Supervisor Touring: Alexander Boehmler
- Management: Richard Castelli / Epidemic
- Thanks to: Isabelle Meiffert, Claudia Hart, Martin Sturm, Genoveva Rueckert, Richard Castelli, Chara Skiadelli, Florence Berthaud, Pierre Laly, Asher Remy Toledo, Richard Garet, Ysabel Pinyol, Rezarta Seferi, Liridona Seferi and everybody at Mana Contemporary.

Photos #1-3 © Bruno Klomfar 
Photo #4 © Nicole Stoddard

© Kurt Hentschläger 2022