Graphic: Section of the Olympic Park with IÜPA and the machine

Graphic: IÜPAs sensors and translations machines




A Lecture on Prominent Forms 

July 2022, July 2023
Sound- Installation at a former ticket office of Munich’s Olympic Park.

"A Lecture on Prominent Forms" was the first  intervention of the programme Fair Play;a series of five site-specific exhibitions at a disused ticket office in Munich's Olympic Park.

During this exhibition, the building of the ticket office was transformed into the headquarters of the fictive "Interpretation and Translation centre for Pseudotectonic Acoustics” (Interpretations- und Übersetzungszentrum für Pseudotektonische Akustik (IÜPA)), where a machine would supposedly measure the underground frequencies of its surroundings and translate them into sounds that the human ear could perceive as phonemes, syllables and words.

The suggested existence of such a machine created the necessary fictional context for the transmission of "A Lecture on Prominent Forms”. A text that dived into the landscape of the Park and used it as a practical scenario for a critical analysis of the social and political role of predominantly high vertical structures in architecture. These received the new-created term “Prominent Form” during the lecture. Moreover, the text is written as if its author and speaker were the Olympic Mountain itself. By being a Schuttberg -an artificial mountain made out of rubble from the ruins of German cities after WWII- the Olympic Mountain would be a Prominent Form itself and therefore an expert on the topic.

It is important to have in mind that the landscape where the building is located, the Olympic Park, is a terrain deeply connotated by the historical and political context around its construction. The former Oberwiesenfeld, a waste ground and former military airport, was modelled into a landscape of hills and organic-shaped paths that hid under itself rubble from World War II. This constructed nature, together with the new-built stadiums should present West Germany as a "green, open and democratic" country for the whole world to see during the Olympic Games. The unique and problematic condition of the Park makes it an interesting place to reflect on the political role that architecture plays in our societies. And so, in "A Lecture on Prominent Forms" the Olympic Mountain goes through the history and definition of this newly invented term: from neolithic tumulus to natural mountains as ready-mades; the Prominent Form is a symbol of human victory against gravity, a monument to vertical hierarchy and power.

During the exhibition, the public was invited to peek in through the windows of the building in order to find various mysterious objects that hint at the function of such a machine, as well as to distinguish some intelligible sounds coming out of the ticket house. Meanwhile, a simultaneous translation of what was supposed to be the pseudo-tectonic sounds into human voice was being played through the megaphones of the centre, after being captured by a network of sensors located under the park. This "translation" was a spoken version of the text "A Lecture on Prominent Forms", read in German, English and Spanish.


Here you can read a transcript of the text in English.

The voices for the audio piece were played by Elias Allgeier, Santiago Archila, Carmen Arias, Miriam Enssel, Nils Norman and Essi Pellika.

Flyer design: John Haag
Photographic documentation: Alex Jeskulke