High Line Art, presented by Friends of the High Line, announces Haunt Room, a new public art installation by Sue de Beer located within the 14th Street Passage on the High Line. Haunt Room will be on view from Wednesday, 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 will create a 15×15 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 will be 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.”