David Ebner

David Ebner

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Wellenwald mit Bunker


Sound Installation

Place & Year

Trier, 2016


200 x 60 x 150 cm


Aluminium foil



The installation Wellenwald mit Bunker combines sound and materials such as concrete, wood, wires, and antennae. The shown installation is a reissue of a piece made by Joseph Beuys back in 1972, called Fichtenstamm mit Munitionskiste. The original work is transformed into a contemporary interpretation through the use of material and sound referring to topics like the digital age and the impact of technology.

The installation Wellenwald mit Bunker consists of a spruce trunk that leans on an object made of concrete. The surface of the trunk is completely covered with aluminium foil. The structure and shape of the wood is still recognizable, but seems strangely transformed. The antennae mounted on the trunk are pointing in various directions, monitoring their surroundings. White wires extend from the antennae to the inside of the concrete object. The shape is a reference to bunker aesthetics that manifest themselves in rounded corners and small holes.

The dimension of sound functions as a fundamental aspect of the reinterpretation. The sound stands in contrast to the visual part of the installation: while the spruce trunk and bunker are placed on the ground, the sound is a hovering counterpart that spreads out, is moving. The sound that can be heard from the inside of the bunker is composed from two different sources. A digital sound file is played from a data player that is connected to active speakers.

The sound file created specifically for the installation has the purpose to surround the installation with a droning atmosphere. The second source is the antennae, which transform electromagnetic waves into audible signals. These signals are generated from waves emitted by electronic devices, which are not recognizable for human ears but can be received by the antennae. That way the surroundings affect the sound in realtime, adding signals from devices like mobile phones to the existing layer of sound if the device is close to the installation.

While the piece of Beuys is a reference to World War II, Wellenwald mit Bunker functions as a foresight using multiple metaphors. While the wood of Beuys is a representation of a dead element, the present wood is covered with aluminium foil to become a disguised object with the function of extending the range of the antennae. Furthermore, signals that are not communicating become audible. There is no dialog between signal and listener, the content appears closed, drawing the attention of the spectator and provoking them to listen carefully. The present digital world appears to be connected yet remains without content and intransparent at the same time. While Beuys makes use of mythical references such as death and religion, the Wellenwald mit Bunker is mystifying the present and the future, drawing a picture that appears technoid and archaic at the same time. The processes happening inside of the bunker remain an enigma.