Sensual awareness, perfidious experiments



A trial in auditory monitoring

by Andrea Züllig, Heiko Schätzle

#StudioIntegrativeDesign #Master-Thesis

The work of Andrea Züllig (Masterstudio, Institute Integrative Design) and Heiko Schätzle (MA transdisciplinarity, ZHdK) is an audio installation that was conducted and on exhibition in Basel between Dec. 14 - 22. 2018.

Contentwise, two topics are intertwined in the work. The attempt in listening observation is an artistic exploration in the field of sound art. The focus here is to investigate the relationships between locations, their specific work processes and the associated sound diversity and to understand them as continuing artistic material. The location, which serves as a starting point for the development of the work, is the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of the ETH Zurich, located in Basel. In collaboration with Daniel Gerngross from the D-BSSE, the authors question the laboratory routine of synthetic biology. Laboratory equipment and machine sounds are coupled to optical test methods that continuously shape and change the listening experience.

With the step into the laboratory, by questioning specific work processes, a comparison of artistic and scientific working methods is almost inevitable. In discussions and encounters with various scientists it showed that speaking about one's own way of working leads to mutual irritations and misunderstandings. To investigate these irritations and to illuminate them on a theoretical level forms the focus of the second subject complex, which juxtaposes the places laboratory and studio and regards the concept of experiment as a possible common denominator of an artistic and scientific working method. Based on a mutual lack of understanding, the questions about the underlying cognitive concepts are discussed and brought into relation to the issued sound installation.

"At midday, the installation sounds a bit different than at dusk and during the night, and the most restless state is noon when the sun is shining on a beautiful day. Ibon, the software engineer, gets a headache. We welcome the unstable phase of destabilization and its transformation to an orderly state with every hour while the daylight fades away. In night's haziness, the sound components arrange themselves more and more perfectly aligned with the gel electrophoresis. "


Dr. Christine Schranz

, Studio Integrative Design

Andres Bosshard

, Transdisciplinarity, Arts & Media – ZHdK

Dr. Sønke Gau

, Transdisciplinarity, Art Education – ZHdK