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Photo by Austin Kennedy

Sue de Beer

Haunt Room

October 2011 – December 2011

14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street

October 28 – December 4, 2011

Sue 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.

(1-3) Photo by Austin Kennedy; (4-5) Photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

Artist bio

Sue de Beer (b. 1973, New York) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Christian Ehrentraut Gallery, Berlin (2012); Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2011); Art Production Fund in association with Park Avenue Armory, New York (2011); and the MuHKA Museum, Antwerp, Belgium (2008). De Beer’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece; and the Goetz Collection, Munich.


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.