The project

The WHISPERING WALL is a collective of portable, interactive, individual audio devices. Connected to and through the internet, these sound-units play audio works, stored in a virtual cloud. Each Whispering Wall performs its own, specific Work. It’s a global, Internet-of-Things work of art.

On the concept
The idea behind the Whispering Wall Project is to sound-connect places on a global scale and to create virtual places using audio. Audioworks are stored in a cloud and can be played or performed by Whispering Walls all over the world, by the use of Whispering Wall Units. Each Whispering Wall plays its own specific audiowork, which is based on where it is situated.

The Whispering Wall enables me artistically to independently create sound works the way I want to. It challenges me, providing me with the scale and technical possibilities I need and at the same time forcing me to rethink sound and the way I (want to) use it.

Content-wise and from a philosophical point of view, the Whispering Wall has to do with ‘change’ or resistance to change, with time and space and with various ontological questions. By connecting places, by creating virtual rooms using sound only, the Whispering Wall is a giant, virtual, audio world, that invisibly and inaudibly converges with the ‘real’ world. It is a heterotopia, or more precisely, it creates heterotopiae, liminal places. You enter a world in a world, which is existent and non-existent at the same time.

From a social point of view, the audioworks are often based on or represent social and personal relationships, experiences, thoughts and ideas. It is as if you can hear yourself think, like a train of thought or the little voice in your head. Memories, thoughts, conversations, songs, sounds, music: the virtual sounds in the cloud are like the virtual sounds in our heads.

From a technical point of view, the Whispering Wall is an internet-of-things work of art. All audioworks are collected in the cloud, and every unit is connected to this cloud, always and everywhere, forming a collective of individual entities. Every unit is unique and plays its own, particular audio-part.

From an audio and musical point of view, this is a new way of listening to audio, a new way of composing and decomposing, of constructing and deconstructing. Audiofiles are cut up and divided over many small speakers, even over large distances, which gives a unique spacial effect and brings numerous new possibilities.

On philosophy
The liminal phase (derived from Latin, ‘limen’ meaning border, threshold or entrance) is a psychological, neurological or metaphysical subjective state of mind, existing as a border between two different existential area’s. Characteristic are ambiguity, openness, and indecision. One’s sense of identity disappears to a certain extent, causing disorientation. It is a transitional period in which existing borders of thinking, self knowledge and behavior become blurred; a situation that can lead to new insights and perspectives.

In 1967 the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) introduced the term ‘heterotopia’, by which he referred to confined places that exist within the actual space we continuously live in. These places have their own purpose, and different rules apply within them. One example of such a place is the cinema: when the lights go out you enter another world with a different set of rules. But also a church, station, cemetery or library can be such a place.

On the artist
Albert Raven (1967) is a dutch artist living in Berlin. He studied jazz-piano and arranging at the Royal conservatory The Hague and the Hilversum conservatory and Media-art and photography at the Hanzehogeschool Groningen University of Applied Sciences Minerva Academy.

My work is about change and resistance to change, and consequently about time. Driven by the notion that what we call ‘Time’ does not exist, I question this world-without-time, using sound by means of the Whispering Wall project and image by the use of photography.