Toine Horvers
Collection: Acoustic architecture – Architectural acoustics

Anatomical names say something about form and space. They are a brief description of the object, the material or the space in the body. There are edges, wings, lobes, protuberances, folds, openings, cavities, grooves, crevices etc. They are all organic forms and spaces, but in order to be able to chart them we use the geometric spatial designations length, width, height: the parameters of architecture. According to that system, the body, or parts of it, is sawn into slices: in axial (horizontal), coronal (frontal) and sagittal (sideways) sections. As a visual artist I work with the tension between these strictly scientific cartographic systems, and the meditative, almost religious effect of reciting their Latin names in the physical/architectural space.

‘Acoustic Architecture – Architectural Acoustics’ immediately made me think of the ear: the ultimate example of acoustic architecture. My manuscript is about the architectural principle, prescribed by Vedute as a starting point, of length, width, height (32 x 44 x 7) versus the organic sound space of the ear, made audible by the human voice in the three directions of the xyz axis. In a medical book I found a detailed atlas of the human ear in three section systems, with sections of 1 and 2 millimetres. Each of the three systems consists of 16 sections. I recorded all of the Latin names of the parts in each section on a 2-minute audio cassette (one section on each side). The whole thus consists of a sort of archive of 24 cassettes. In order to distinguish between the three different section systems, I read out the names of each system at a different pitch. The manuscript, the available space of 32 x 44 x 7 cm, contains both this archive and the audio equipment in order to make it spatially experienceable.

‘What is God? He is length, width, height (the three dimensions of sensorially perceptible space, with moreover the mysterious, for us inconceivable), depth.’ (Bernard of Clairvaux)