'Hear and Now' exhibition, Archivio di Stato, via Senato 2001
Pictured - The sound and its essence outside the Salone del Mobile, 4 - 9 April 2001
"Hear and Now is the natural development of the project started by Bang & Olufsen, last year at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
In this second edition, we find on stage the representation of the concept of technology, by means of its unexpected poetical charm and its magical relationship with the world of sound.
A large carpet of springs, unforeseen sound suggestions, a "sea of tranquillity" which can be crossed among enveloping views and sudden openings in space. It is an invitation to emotional, sensorial and bodily involvement to live the concept that this Danish brand has been developing for years: products that do not use technology as a goal but as a means.
For the concept to become reality, once again this year I decided not to rely upon an architect, a designer or an art-director, but upon Peter Bottazzi, who embodies all these three figures and is, actually, none of them, just like any poetical spirit. "
The concept comes to life in 1,500 square meters thanks to 4000 Kg. tons of springs, 100 Kg pvc. That's true. But it would be like talking in terms of decibel, hertz, high-end, gulp...
Bang & Olufsen cannot be experienced through technical data or product specifications, but in the dialogue proposed by technology to the man's senses.
That's why I prefer to talk about sheep. The sheep that, from the glass walls of the B&O headquarters in Struer, you can see grazing in the fields around the little village in the north of Denmark surrounding a real "tailor's shop" of the audio-video world: the Bang & Olufsen design and production centre.
Here, the hubbub of metropolitan life is but a faraway echo, here I have seen the heart beating behind the simplicity of forms, behind the aseptic appearance of a microchip. And I felt joy. The joy of a child jumping on a bed. Who enjoys it very much.
It is a dry installation, without tricks, where materials assemble without mediation. There is no compromise between technology and design.
It is an oasis-project, horizontal, stratified, where we can find our human nature again, rediscovering the pleasure of walking, jumping, standing still and listening. The floor rises to unveil the company's underskin.
Surfing on the whole surface, the different gum, metal, transparent and luminous coatings underline the different sound areas, and everywhere there is a beating heart, focus of the home of the ear, source of spiralling transparent sound tubes.
I wanted to point out the presence of the protagonists in this tale: naturally, it is better to be there than to learn about it. When Tanja mentioned to me her wish to involve me in the visualisation of the world of sound with the eyes of Bang & Olufsen, I started concentrating on listening.
Hear and Now is the home of the ear, of its sense of balance, of unbalance, of perceiving, of listening to erase the blackboard and recall everything into play. That's how the idea came out of creating a spring carpet, in order to amplify sound and visual experiences: the many souls that make up the world of Bang & Olufsen products.
Soft steps on the "Via Flautea" (Stefano Scarani, sound designer)
"The sound of Hear and Now consists of ten sound sources distributed in four sites, four different families, an orchestra scattered on the Archive-territory where you are free to walk around. "
"From the underskin depth, the vocal rhythm of "Raptus" introduces the following rhythmic suggestions of the "Via Flautea", where three versions of "Aulos" (piece for flute and synthetic sounds) intersect creating different shapes.
Then you reach the reminiscences of nursery rhymes whispered by plexiglas bubbles containing the speaking cushions. The crescendo culminates in the great spiral which sends its message from the Earth to the sky, the beating-heart spiral that takes up the obsessive rhythm of "Raptus" again to transform it and to hurl its voice to the outside.
Music and sounds were purposely composed for Hear and Now and reproduced by Bang & Olufsen audio systems."
Hear & Now featured B&O Products:
Created: 24th January 2007
Modified: 2nd April 2007
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