TO BE HEARD AND SEEN: SenCity – an acoustic city trip

In the exhibition “SenCity” at the AUDIOVERSUM in Innsbruck, visitors embark on an acoustic city trip. In the project, realized by artist Deborah Sengl, guests immerse themselves via headphones in an augmented audio world, whose central theme is a city, illuminated in a socio-critical way. The augmented audio installation was created by the two sound artists Peter Kollreider and Thomas Aichinger (Sonic Traces). Tyrolean writer Barbara Hundegger provides a poetic intervention.

The AUDIOVERSUM is enriched by a new special exhibition under the heading “TO BE HEARD AND SEEN”. Through “SenCity – an acoustic city trip”, complex scientific findings are conveyed in an artistic setting. Guests move through a painted city labyrinth in 3D and get to see typical human-animal hybrids – so-called chimeras. With the “SenGang”, an audio-visual tour for young visitors has also been developed. “We are very much looking forward to this extraordinary exhibition in our Science Center and to opening up a new world to our guests,” says Julia Sparber-Ablinger (Head of AUDIOVERSUM).

Virtual sound world expands the immediate reality
“SenCity” focuses on the various city sounds and noises. There is almost no text, except of the poem “hör-weiten” by writer Barbara Hundegger. Otherwise, the visitors are asked to invent their own story through acoustic and visual stimuli, in the midst of a heterogeneous cityscape with “old” and “new world”. In the original, the city’s facades were drawn with black ink on paper and were then attached to floor-to-ceiling wooden structures.

In terms of color, the only thing that stands out in the urban spaces of “SenCity” are the human-animal hybrids. The figures have human bodies with animal heads to show the “animal character” of humans. “Through this form of expression, I want to address different worlds of human life and question social role models,” argues artist Deborah Sengl.

Connection between visual and acoustic art
The innovative artist always tries to find a new approach to contemporary themes, as evidenced by her use of the animal as a metaphor or the format of an “Escape Room” – as recently shown at the Museumsquartier in Vienna. Her ability to give visual art comprehensive space and to combine it with acoustic elements, predestines Deborah Sengl for an exhibition at the museum of hearing in Innsbruck.
In the AUDIOVERSUM, of course, acoustic art is on a par with visual art: The two sound artists Peter Kollreider and Thomas Aichinger are the creators of the storytelling and audio design of “SenCity.” “The ‘audio’ component gives visitors a completely new experience in connection with the art on display,” says Kollreider. Aichinger adds, “With the help of ‘Immersive Augmented Audio’-reality, guests can experience acoustic worlds with their own movement.” All that is needed is a pair of headphones and a programmed cell phone, which is handed out on site upon entry to the exhibition. The goal of the mediation via “noise-canceling headphones” is to stay in the here and now with the eyes, but to escape with the ears.

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