After being diagnosed with tinnitus, it seemed that I could no longer hear silence, only faint and sometimes loud clusters of persistent ringing. It can not be switched off or paused like a device. Eyes can close but ears stay open, always sensing and hearing.
Niet Stil is a meditation on the impossibility of stillness using mechanized noise-producing heirlooms procured from abundance and death. I constructed components around the forms of found materials, selecting objects portrayed in protocapitalist Dutch still-life paintings. The sculptures were constructed into autonomous musical instruments with visual and sonic signifiers derived from home decor, fake food displays, and analog modular synthesizers.
Like the modular synthesizer, all of its functioning parts are interdependent within a self-contained system. Proximity sensors mounted near rotating irregular handmade forms, scan their surfaces like the laser head inside of a CD player. Some of the scanned surfaces have smooth visual cues and others are textural. The sensors read and transmit the resulting dynamic data which modulates synthesizers and activates electromechanical speaker valves, gongs, bells, and tines. Integrating electronic randomness with mechanical sloppiness, the sounds, and movements continuously change as the spectator is within range of the installation.
Niet Stil, contains acoustic, spatial, immersive, and improvisational elements that all happen at once and in different places throughout. It can not be completely captured in a video or audio format. It must be experienced in person.