Mememe
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About the artwork

Interactive Sound Installation combining sculpture and sound with a Real-time Location Systems.

In the encounter with Mememe you are not a distant observer, but an active participant, and noisy play, freedom and movement replace soundless, invisible surveillance. This constitutes a break with formalistic views of art, according to which the surroundings and the context are not especially important to the aesthetic and subjective appreciation of art. In the case of Mememe, it is precisely the performative relationship between work, viewer and space that seems to be the all-important starting point for the creation of meaning. It establishes a visual and auditive dialogue between work and audience, a dance between technology, art and man (On the Edge Catalogue 2006 by Marie Nipper, Annette Damgaard, Thorsten Sadowsky).

The installation Mememe is based on a Real Time Location System, RTLS, a tracking system used by, among others, the military, car manufactories and grocery stores. Four sensors are placed so as to form a quadrangular space containing various pairs of shoes that the visitors can put on. The shoes are tagged with an advanced RFID chip that via the tracking system tells a main computer where the shoes are located. Each of the shoes communicates with a sensor that generates a sound, depending on where in the room the shoe is. Different sounds are generated in different zones, and the installation encourages you to play with the sounds, using your own body as an instrument. Each pair of shoes has its own recognizable sound –its step sound, and, as indicated by the title of the work, the shoes seem to be doing everything possible to attract the viewer’s attention: Me-me-me! Choose me-me-me! The shoes likewise react if they get too close to each other, or if you try to leave the room.

Tine Bech worked with Ubisense, a technology company who combine an ultrawideband (UWB) technology platform with a real-time software solution. This live indoor tracking system was ‘hacked’ and altered with permission.

The work Mememe was a collaboration between lead artist Tine Bech, technologist Sam Woolf and Dave Lawrence sound designer. Their work is characterized by a predilection for interactivity and for installations that explore the relationship between work and viewer through a combination of sound and movement, robots and everyday materials, complex interactive technology and visual simplicity.

Exhibitions

DRHA (Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts) conference, UK 2008.
Falmouth Live, UK 2008.
Aarhus Centre for Contemporary Art, Demark 2006.

What people said

If you want to generate sound from Tine Bech’s installation ‘Mememe’, you have to become an active participant and be immersed in the artwork. There is no way around, you need to wear suitable footwear. There is plenty to choose from! Rubber boots with a “bird’s nest” of wires, which in an ingenious way creates a sound design that is dependent on the wearer’s motion pattern. …Tine Bech’s work far outweighs the interactive. The work is intentionally changeable and the dimension between sound and image hits a nerve that – apart from inevitably speaking to the spectator’s sense of humour – is connected with the sentimental. This was clearly felt by this writer, due to the fact that a pair of fancy pop boots with a zipper in the side was part of the installation.
– Noisy borders By Lars Svanholm

Tine Bech’s work Mememe proposes a phenomenological appreciation of art that activates the whole body and all the senses – where the artwork becomes something more than just a visual and intellectual experience.

In ‘Mememe’, it is the relationship between technical possibilities and man as a sensing creature that is examined. Mememe is an interactive work that invites the public to put on a special pair of high-tech shoes that responds with sound to the wearer’s movement. The work encourage collaborative play that can seem pushy in a world where machine have usurped many ordinary human tasks.
-Catalogue On the Edge, Mememe. By Annette Damgaard, Curator; Marie Nipper, Curator; Thorsten Sadowsky, Director Aarhus Contemporary Art Centre.

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