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Topography of Sound

French architect and musician David Letellier has collaborated with Belgian artist group Lab(au) to create a kinetic sound installation, writes Mandi Keighran.

Topography of Sound


January 20th, 2011

Brussels-based artist group Lab(au) has been navigating the space between art, architecture and information design for over a decade. In 2003, the group – whose name means ‘Laboratory for Architecture and Urbanism’ – founded MediaRuimte, a gallery for electronic arts with a program running the gamut from exhibitions and screenings to audiovisual performances and artist-residences.

The artist residencies, termed MR.tmp, are part of a program for creation, development, production and distribution inside the MediaRuimte.

“I quite believe in this idea of collaborative design. I like to be confronted by people who are completely different,” says Manuel Abendroth, one of the founding members of Lab(au). “Like this you stay quite active.”


The most recent collaboration to take place in MediaRuimte was between Lab(au) and Berlin-based French architect and electronic musician, David Letellier, better known as Kangding Ray.

Tessel, Letellier’s first installation work, is a kinetic installation that prompts reflection on the relationship between sound and space.

A suspended topography of non-regular triangles rotates in every direction. Twelve of the triangles are fitted with motors and eight with audio transducers, creating a shifting soundscape.


As the surface of Tessel slowly reconfigures itself, the electronic sounds change, creating a dialogue between geometrical sculptural forms and sound.


Like much of Lab(au)’s work, Tessel is a framework into which a variety of parameters can be programmed, making the installation performative, interactive or reactive. For the first exhibition, which took place late in 2010, the movement and sound was a composition by Letellier.

Tessel is a co-production of MediaRuimte and Galerie Roger Tator in Lyon.

“It’s much more than just showing the work here,” says Abendroth. “It’s putting it in other spaces and creating networks.”

Visit Lab[au]’s website for more information on where and where in the world to see Tessel. Click here to see the installation in action.



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