The Science of Installing Art


Kochi: The rooms are ‘treated’ with carpets, coir on the walls and dark curtains, speakers are placed anywhere from the ceiling level to the floor; some sound systems, such as the ones in American sound artist Miller Puckette’s ‘Four Sound Portraits’, spread across four rooms, are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, while the audio of Latvian artist Voldemars Johansons’s lashing ocean waves in ‘Thirst’ hits the visitors through giant subwoofers.

The range of sights and sounds at the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale offer a novel experience for visitors, but installing the sensitive works was one that required much planning and experience on the part of the Biennale production team.

“All the projects chosen by curator Sudarshan Shetty are highly experiential. We faced the challenge of all the sites being used spaces, not specially made for displaying artworks,” said Bose Krishnamachari, Co-founder, KMB.

“Some of the projects have been executed by scientists and mathematicians, like Miller Puckette, where sound is sensitive and we had to create ‘home theatres’ suitable to each work.”

KMB ’16 roped in Vikram Joglekar, the country’s top sound engineer, as production consultant for installing the 39 video and two solely audio installations.

Joglekar first came from Mumbai on a site visit in August to study the spaces. “We had to check out how to fit each installation depending on the space, decide on the correct sound system and figure out how to provide each artist with the best acoustic experience,” said the award-winning sound engineer.

“We had challenges with logistics, time and the resources, but the organisers and volunteers at KMB ’16 have pulled off a great experience; it feels wonderful to see visitors appreciating the works,” said Joglekar, who pointed out that Russian team AES+F’s work at the Anand Warehouse, where multiple projectors had to be synchronised together to make one work, was the most difficult to install.