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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.90 Santiago ago. 2015 

Demountable structures

Dinamics of the Void
Santiago, Chile, 2013


Alfredo Thiermann(1), Ariel Bustamante(2)

© Michelle Gravel, Alfredo Thiermann

The Antarctica is not only a distant territory but also an empty landscape whose visual imaginary is under permanent construction. It’s one of the few places where man is still facing myth and where the boundaries between reality and fantasy are blurry.

Yet, if the visual imaginary of Antarctica is a work in progress, its acoustic imaginary is probably virgin. From this observation as a starting point, Dynamics of the Void looks to build an acoustically isolated place in the middle of the city, an artifact able to bring the sounds –or their absence– of what we would associate to the landscape of Antarctica.

A black tubular structure, 18 meters long and weighing 20 tons, made out of high-density polyethylene, hangs from a metallic exoskeleton and supported by 6 mm thick fixed tensors. Once inside the spectator faces 30 sources of sound, all of them organized following the geometry of a helix and hidden at different points in the tubular structure.

Exterior sound is dissolved through the elastic elements that sustain the tube, reducing the connection to the outside world and the now remote inside space to a minimum. At the entrance, a door closes. The visitor is immersed in an isolated atmosphere, suspended from the immediate context. On the other end, a backlit screen receives some kind of visual stimulus in the middle of darkness.

The visual and acoustic landscapes of Antarctica have provided the elements to build not only the silence but the distance as well. The artifact remains as a moving container of an autonomous void which produces real, fictional or imaginary versions. There’s no cartography or sounds present in this space; only their reinterpretation and re-contextualization, transporting the spectator to the fictional reality that the Antarctica imaginary suggests. 

Cross section. Published scale 1: 50.
Legend: 1. Bolt Parker G 12.9 3/8" × 3" black; 2. Bolt Parker G 12.9 3/8" × 4" black; 3. Steel C beam 80 × 40 × 3 mm 80 × 40 × 3 mm; 4. Diagonal: tubular steel 80 × 40 × 3 mm; 5. Beam: tubular steel 80 × 40 × 3 mm; 6. Steel plate 80 × 3 mm, welded to steel beam; 7. Tensor ojo-ojo 5/8" 8. Mean 6 mm; 9. Aluminium tubular clamp 3/16"; 10. Galvanized steel cable 6 mm; 11. Tube HDPE t= 10 mm, Ø 150 mm; 12. Speaker
Ø 142 mm bolted to HDPE tube; 13. Tube KRAH HDPE; 14. HDPE 20 × 50 mm rib, welded to inner tube; 15. Expanded metal 75 × 35 × 3 mm, welded to steel beam; 16. Bolt with screw 1/2 × 8", galvanized @100 cm; 17. 50 × 3 mm steel plate anchored to HDPE rib with flexible connection; 18. Plate HDPE t= 10 mm; 19. HDPE 50 mm hose welded to inner and outer tube @ 22.5º

Left: Front view.
Right: Side view.
Published scale 1: 125

Architect: Alfredo Thiermann / Artist: Ariel Bustamante / Engineer: Mauricio Sarasua / Contributors: Érica Pavez, Blanca Valdés, Elvira Valdés, Pablo Thiermann, Carola Roa, Sofía Oportot, Carmen Valdés / Location: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile / Commission: Consejo de la Cultura de Magallanes / Structural design: Mauricio Ahumada / Construction: Krah Pipping / Date of project: 2012 / Date of construction: 2013 / Materials: Exterior structure: steel. Tube: 3 meter diameter steel structured tuve. Finishings: hdpe and structural metallic mesh / Built area: 97 m² / Cost:--.

1. Alfredo Thiermann | Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2012. In 2014 he was nominated for the PCHAP ITT Chicago award, and presented his work at the MoMA, New York. He currently lives in Princeton, United States.

2. Ariel Bustamante | Sound artist. In 2012 he was part of the collaborative team Sound Development City where he made several sound experiences in Berlin, London and Zurich. He is currently on a two-year artist residency in Helsinki.

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