Sound design for museum exhibitions

The Hated Castle – Hammershus Visitor Center

The Hated Castle is an exhibition in the new visitor center of Hammershus, Northern Europe’s largest medieval castle ruin, placed on the Danish island Bornholm. The exhibition presents a new take on the history of the castle, which also includes a very dark and brutal period of imprisonment, torture, exploitation and misery. The sound design for the exhibition falls in two parts:

Female Skull

When you enter the visitor center, you encounter a human-sized skull: an enlarged replica of a real female skull, that was found in the grounds of the ruin. Walking around in the area, you will sometimes be able discover small echoing whispers and crumbling sounds, animating the skull. The sound is emanating from within the skull, so of you place your ear close to the eye socket or jaw bone, you might even make out a few words before they dissolve into an echo again. The sounds are arranged in a sequence with  intervals of silence, and they fluctuate between three hidden speakers, to create the experience of a spirit slightly moving around, appearing and disappearing. Length: 7 min. loop.

Soundscape Projection

The main exhibition is placed in a large dark room, with a model of the castle ruin in the middle. On one wall, a 11,5 meter wide video projection in point cloud style accompanies the 10 minute long soundscape, that serves as an abstract storytelling over the history of the castle.

Most of the sounds in the soundscape are created using the same kind of materials that the castle and the castle’s history are made from, primarily in the form of stone and metal. Big building rocks and sheets and chains of metal have been used to create the  sounds, that through digital manipulation has been processed into the dark and brutal soundscape that can be heard in the first part of the soundscape. The rest of the soundscape mainly consists of continuous and ambiguous drones and echoes, that dwell on the passing of time and movements through the fascinating and timeless landscape surrounding Hammershus, with notes of both hope and melancholy. The soundscape plays in stereo, distributed in four loudspeakers in the ceiling. Length: 10 min loop.

Listen to the full soundscape: The Hated Castle @ Hammershus Visitor Center, Bornholm

The exhibition opened on March 22nd 2018 in Hammershus Visitor Center, Bornholm. The exhibition is created for the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark (Nature Agency) in collaboration between Museum Sydøstdanmark and YOKE, and it is funded by The A.P. Møller Foundation.