Psychedelic photo opportunity

One thing I love about doing photo walks in the city are the opportunities for discovering something new. One day I was walking around the neighborhood and there was a small sign advertising a “sound exhibition” for a very small fee. They used an old water cistern for various art projects one of them displaying sound installations. I love art installations so bought a ticket and went in through a very thick black-out curtain.

And once inside the atmosphere hit me. It was dark and musty with some sections illuminated in the color of blood. There were weird sounds everywhere. Scary ratcheting noises, vibrations of different frequencies, buzzers and even some bells. It felt like a different almost alien world. And it wasn’t sound only. The installations were visible and had some well placed lights shine on them. A fascinating kind of sensory overload. I spent quite some time in there soaking up the sights and sounds.

I did not really have the best lens with me for this kind of place. A short telephoto lens. The Olympus Pen’s image stabilizer would also be completely overwhelmed by the lack of light. And of course I never carry a tripod. So I took a few shots and completely embraced the blurriness and sensor noise. I wanted to capture this installation.


a silver disc supsended in midair
Silver Disc (2012) Olympus Pen E-P1 + M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 1/3@F1.8 ISO 1600

This UFO shaped disc was suspended in midair via a small string that would also transmit vibrations to the disc making it “sing” in different frequencies. The vibrations alone would make it impossible to get a sharp image. I went for an “obviously fake UFO photo” aesthetic instead. A glowing saucer with a badly hidden string. There were no barriers so anyone could in theory touch the disc but no one dared to. I guess it would have stopped singing for a moment until agitated again by its string.


a corridor lit with red light
Seeing Red (2012) Olympus Pen E-P1 + M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 1/4 ISO 1600

The water cistern consists of several circles that were used to regulate the water. One circle was lit blood red. It looked scary but also beautiful. There is something that gets activated in your brain when being exposed to red light. Maybe this must be how submariners felt in the war? I felt on edge and hyper alert but still safe enough knowing it was an art project.


blurry discs
UFOs are real (2012) Olympus Pen E-P1 + M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 1/3@F1.8 ISO 1600

A pair of UFOs chasing each other. These are the discs from the first image. I love the blurry and grainy look. It looks like proof of the Roswell incident ;-). If you are curious about the location. There is a good article with many pictures here. It is a pretty popular spot and there are tours inside the cistern occasionally. Sadly the “sound gallery” has moved on and there are no longer any installations of this kind.

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