Teamwork with the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Sound masterpiece with an Empa heart

Jan 15, 2015 | RAINER KLOSE
For his latest sound masterpiece, Belgian artist Aernoudt Jacobs turned to Empa technology. It will be on display at the Vienna gallery IM ERSTEN from January 28, 2015. Inside the artwork, there is a membrane made of electroactive polymers, also dubbed “artificial muscles”, which simultaneously generates reflections and sounds.

Aernoudt Jacobs: «Induction Series 4» (2013). Photo:


In October 2014 the Belgian artist teamed up with Empa researcher Silvain Michel, an electroactive polymer specialist, to test a prototype of the mirrored sound membrane. The sound masterpiece that resulted from this collaboration can be heard and viewed at the gallery IM ERSTEN at Sonnenfelsgasse 3 in Vienna from January 28 to February 14. The exhibition is part of the University of Applied Arts Vienna’s art research project Liquid Things ( and will be open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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  Aernoudt Jacobs (l.) and Silvain Michel testing the sound membrane at Empa – the heart of the new installation. Photo: Empa


Over ten years of sound art
Aernoudt Jacobs has spent over ten years combining physical phenomena with art to make sound installations, which he exhibits all over Europe. In the installation Permafrost, for instance, he amplifies the crackling sound of freezing water and melting ice. Jacobs‘s work Photophon is based on the photoacoustic effect discovered by Alexander Graham Bell: the artist chops up white laser light and lets his fragile installation “sing” different tones. And in the series of installations entitled Induction Series, he uses electromagnetic induction to tease out tones from various objects that are reminiscent of birds twittering. 

In his work now exhibited in Vienna, the tones follow a choreography that combines movement and sound. The visitors will recognize exactly what they hear, but the tonality will keep changing – a combination that produces an unconventional yet very palpable echo effect. 

Visit and for a glimpse into Aernoudt Jacobs‘s installations.
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