Carsten Nicolai’s syn chron – A one of a kind masterpiece

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005, photo: Uwe Walter, Christian Gahl/wernersobek.com

Introduction

Artists have an enviable knack for coming up with staggering designs. Carsten Nicolai is no different. In syn chron, he teamed up with his group of architects to design a one of a kind sound, light, and architectural masterpiece. It’s unthinkable how Carsten Nicolai conceptualized the rarely talked of art.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005, photo: Uwe Walter, Christian Gahl/wernersobek.com

Syn Chron stands as one of the unique artworks from Carsten Nicolai. It’s a project that showcases his skills to the nth degree. In the art marvel, Nicholai and his team combined skills and ideas ranging from electronics, sound art, and design. The outcome; an installation revered as a symbiotic blending of sounds, light, and architecture.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005, photo: Uwe Walter/musikwerke-bildender-kuenstler.de

Installation video

40 sec

How it was made

The masterpiece is a gigantic polyhedron extending to 14 meters with a height and width measuring 4 meters. All the material, finishes, interior, and exterior surface design installations had a motive. For strength and image permeation, the crystal design uses a honeycomb structure.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005, photo: Uwe Walter, Christian Gahl/wernersobek.com

It features minute-starlike speakers on its surface for sound and display enhancements. Dotted images planted on laser projectors emit and amplify light to create a distinguished visual impact. The hollow interiors allow for sound resonance, and visitors can enjoy the savory tunes from in or out of the syn chron.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2005, photo: Uwe Walter/musikwerke-bildender-kuenstler.de

Sound & Light

In syn chron, Nicolai observed high tech engineering concepts to attain harmonious pulse sounds and sign waves. Perfect squares, a mathematical model, comes to play in designing a sound system to achieve electronic sounds. Syn chron comes as a multifunctional piece of art — first, it’s a sculpture, its features and form are so gripping. For its beauty, visitors behold it.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006

Its exquisite interiors and exteriors combined with the light emissions from the emitters and laser projections provide an unparalleled spectacle. Incorporation of sound programming and electro-acoustic technology allowed the syn chron team to achieve installation of the acoustics and ethereal sound tunes. After being designed in Germany, Berlin, the syn chron has awed many for its performances. It has featured in the SIA congress, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media and the Bern Biennale.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006
Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006

The team behind the work

The developers and the team that helped Nicolai implement the installation featured a range of top-notch engineers, designers, and architects. In Finn Geipel and Giulia Andi, from Lia in Germany, syn chron had elite architects.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006

Finn Geipel braces rich experience, plus he is a revered architectural professor at the Berlin Institute of Technology. The two architects pride in designing top projects, including St Etienne, Cite Du Design and the Grand Paris Metropole Douce.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006

The project also features Werner Sobek, a structural engineer known for designing the Sony Center in Berlin. Sobek’s role in syn chron involved developing the supporting structure of the masterpiece. David Letelier, designing virtuoso renowned for creating the levitating Kinetic Sound Sculpture in France for the Saint Sauveur chapel, Caen features as the supporting artist.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006

Above all, Nicolai used top-ranking programming companies, advanced laser and electronic technology, and the revered Nibo for sound programming. Rob Feigel, a top musician, killed it all with his spectacular productions. Apart from syn chron, Nicolai has conceptualized top projects including unicolor and unidisplay.

Carsten Nicolai - syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan
Carsten Nicolai – syn chron, 2004, lightweight structure, steel, aluminum, laser projection, sound system, rubber, 1250 x 800 x 460 cm, installation view, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), Japan, 17.12.2005 – 19.02.2006

All images: Carsten Nicolai unless otherwise noted.

 

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