Stefan Endewart

The Whispering Wall

The Whispering Wall is a 24-channel sound installation contained inside a mirror wall. The wall measures 250 cm x 500 cm x 53 cm, the loudspeakers are installed inside the wall, power is provided by a solar panel installed in the upper surface of the wall so that the installation functions independently of the electricity grid. Other elements in the construction are straw bales and a wooden frame.

The starting point for the work is the peculiar discrepancy between the Hansaplatz and the surrounding residential district and which can clearly be felt on the Hansaplatz. The spatial and social activities on the square are not in harmony with the spatial and social activities in the middle-class and highly manicured post-war modernist residential district – which still has the neat and institutionalised feel of an architectural exhibit. It is as there were an invisible border running around the area of the U-Bahn station, and a completely different attitude to public space is expressed on either side of it.

The Whispering Wall is positioned on this invisible border and invites the residents and visitors to the square to reflect on physical and mental walls. The sound installation is a score of whispering on 24 channels, which moves through the wall, making it “speak”. Both physical and mental walls are a form of boundary, which are always constructed by people themselves and are culturally determined. Walls create an outside and an inside, a before and after. They create protected spaces and construct prisons. We tend to accept the walls that surround us and forget that we have constructed them ourselves.

At the same time the construction of The Whispering Wall references the potential tasks of the city of the future. Large sections of the installation can be reused as prefabricated building elements for a small straw bale house – and the solar panel could provide part of the electricity needed.