screen utopia

Festival Dystopie - Berlin - 2020

“Screen Utopia” is a participatory installation that combines cellphones and multiple screens stacked-up to form a colored luminous wall. It explores the color light flow emitted by the screens as raw material to produce sound. 

Commissioned and inspired by the "Dystopie Sound Art festival" (Berlin, 2020), the installation explores dystopia on two levels. First, as a claustrophobic spatial experience. Second, as a catalyst for paradoxical sensorial experience: "see with ears" and "hear with eyes."

Festival Dystopie, Berlin, [email protected] Giusti

The dystopian spatial experience stands in contrast to the inaccessible utopian place. Utopia is there, in the future, out of sight, beyond the line of the horizon, where sunlight comes. Dystopia is here, in the present, right in front of the eyes, where the light from screens lifts a dazzling bright wall that feigns to overwhelm the darkness.

Two processes generate the second level of sensorial experience. On one side, the sound waves operate the color features on the screens; on the other side, the color signal comes back to low frequencies. The monochromatic signal on all the screens is identical, but the slow color flow and the material differences between the monitors and cellphones screens produce subtle color variations.

The light emitted by the vertical screens wall that fills the room is transformed into body frequencies by sub-woofers. An equivalent process occurs by the tiny speakers from the audience's cellphones transforming the light variation into high sonic frequencies. The installation adds different sonic layers with the audience participation.

Fixed or mobile screens keep magnifying and restricting our eyes, whether by erecting walls or wearing luminous electronic necklaces. Perhaps it is our archaic fascination for the light that led us to the era of "Screen Utopia," heralding a flatter, listless, and dystopian world.

Festival Dystopie, Berlin, [email protected] Giusti