Sue De Beer: Haunt Room
Friends of the High Line is pleased to present Haunt Room, a new public art installation by Sue de Beer in the 14th Street Passage on the High Line. Haunt Room will be on view from Friday, October 28 to Sunday, December 4.
Opening a few days before Halloween, de Beer’s Haunt Room is an interactive structure designed to induce haunted feelings in the viewer using infrasound, an audio tone below the threshold of human hearing. Audio tones at very low frequencies are inaudible to humans, yet they are cited as the cause of strange sensations people feel in spaces thought to be haunted—a sense of presence, a dizzy feeling, an inexplicable smell. This theory was tested by designer Usman Haque and the psychology department at Goldsmiths College during a series of experiments, which helped inspire de Beer’s work for the High Line.
Building on the basic concept of the Goldsmiths experiment, de Beer has created a 15 x 15 x 9 foot structure constructed from smoke-colored Plexiglas panels that visually evoke the Seagram Building in Manhattan. As park visitors enter the structure, they encounter a 14-sided featureless chamber inspired by The Beatles’ Abbey Road recording studio and the test site for the Goldsmiths experiments. The space between the interior and exterior walls is filled with lights emanating a soft glow, and speaker cabinets emitting low-frequency audio tones outside the range of human hearing.
“In my last several years of work I have become interested in the psychological/optical response of the human body to physiological 'prompts' – things like Brion Gysin’s ‘Dream Machine,’ or the way hypnosis can produce visions. I also find it fascinating the way that specific architecture can prompt memory, or nostalgia, remind one of lost time or time passing.”
About the Artist
Sue de Beer lives and works in New York. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in venues including the New Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, PS1/MOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in Los Angeles, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Kunst Werke, the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, and the Kunsthalle Shirn in Germany, the Neue Gallerie am Landes Museum Joanneum in Austria, the MuHKA Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, and the Museum of Modern Art, Busan, in Busan, South Korea. De Beer’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Goetz Collection. She received her M.F.A. from Columbia University in 1998.
This High Line Art Commission is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art Commissions are made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr., with additional support from Vital Projects Fund, Inc. This program is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.