The Critical Media Lab and CAFKA are pleased to announce that Berlin-based artist Benoît Maubrey, internationally known for his interactive sound sculptures and wearables, will be speaking about his artwork at the Critical Media Lab on Thursday, March 29 at 5 PM. 

Benoît Maubrey is in Kitchener to produce a new work, ARENA, for CAFKA.18, the biennial exhibition of contemporary art in the public spaces of the Waterloo Region, which runs from June 2 through July 1, 2018. 

ARENA will be a mobile interactive sound sculpture, conceived in the shape of a small amphitheater, and constructed with 300 recycled loudspeakers. The sculpture will function both as a mobile “Speakers Corner“ — a “hotspot“ for local participation and self-expression but also as a stage for small events and concerts.

The public, local artists, musicians, choral groups and organizations can participate by relaying songs and messages via Bluetooth and individual Smartphones, or by connecting their devices and instruments via a direct "line-in." Additionally ARENA can be used as PA system for events, DJs, and small concerts. The volume is controllable via a mixing board, individual amplifiers and receivers situated in a small storage space nearby.

ARENA will be constructed at Lot 42 in Kitchener and will debut at the True North Waterloo conference in May. It will be installed in Carl Zehr Square at the Kitchener City Hall during the CAFKA biennial.

ARENA has been made possible with the support of Celebrate Ontario.

Benoît Maubrey is the director and founder of DIE AUDIO GRUPPE, a Berlin-based art group that builds and performs with electronic clothes, Benoît Maubrey is also well known for his Audio Ballerinas – dancers who wear speaker tutus and make music based on their movements. He studied visual art at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and moved to Berlin in 1979. Recent and ongoing projects by the artist are taking place at the Contemporary Art Center, Cairo (ongoing); Karaoke Torii, Kamiyama, Japan (2016); Kobe Biennale, Kobe Japan (2015); MaerzMusik, Berliner Festspiele (2014); Audio Igloo, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl, Germany (2013); and The Cube, Hard Rock Hotel, Palm Springs, California (2013). He currently lives in the village of Brück in Brandenburg, Germany.

Image above: Benoit Maubrey, FIELD, 2017. A field is „planted“ with 48 recycled loudspeakers as archeological artifacts. The loudspeakers „talk“ and „sound“. The loudspeakers are half-buried in the earth and connected to 4 amplifiers equipped with SD cards with voice samples. There are 4 rows corresponding to 4 channels. The 12-volt system is powered via photovoltaic cells. The sound: local recordings in the dialect of Schwabische Alb (Hülben in Baden-Württemberg) from 1940s and 50s (birthday, wartime letter, folksong, New Years celebration…).

Photo: M. Haussinger