Camera Silens
Olaf Arndt, Rob Moonen
Brief description of the work:
An installation in an anechoic chamber, medical chair and a closed-circuit surveillance system
Materials, dimensions, duration:

Camera Silens, Environment 1994, 600x600x540cm steel, wood, acoustic insulation material, chair, observation camera, monitor, lightbulbs

Location (venue & dates, public/ private):

Shown at ZKM Karlsruhe, Neue Gesellschaft fuer Bildende Kunst Berlin, Haus der Kunst Muenchen; also during exhibition Open House at the O.K. Centrum fuer Gegenwartskunst Linz, Austria

Audience information (size, mode of participation):
One participant at a time can enter the space. Deprived of other sensory input, the participant will only hear the sounds of breathing, swallowing, heartbeat and bloodstream.
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Features in Hans-Peter Schwarz (ed.), 'Media Art History', ZKM Medienmuseum, Prestel, Munich 1997
Collection of the ZKM/ Medienmuseum Karlsruhe, Germany
Floorplan, scheme:
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Intense engagement with a body; observing one's awareness of listening; endurance
Further context:

"Camera Silens does not fit easily within the common categories of art criticism, due to its complex and ambiguous use of media. Merely listing the material components of the project, going through the array of obscure archival material used to research the concept, or describing the spatial installation will not lead to an interpretive understanding of the project. However, it becomes immediately obvious that the environment not only possesses a formal sense of its own, but makes reference to a larger meaning beyond the bounds of its existence as an artwork. [...] The reports of those who have experienced the work reveal that, in it, a form of low-tech cyberspace exists: a cybernetic room, pre-programmed to perfection with total control, which suggests escape as the only possible reaction." (web site)

Camera silens is another name for a torture chamber that uses sensory deprivation to break prisoners' mental resistance.