On 10 April 2017 at 16:00 CET the Luisterhuis, The Listening House, a new architectural sculpture and sound installation by Machiel Spaan/M3H Architects (concept, design) and Rozalie Hirs (music composition), was shown to the public for the first time. It is part of the Dolls’ House Project, a traveling exhibition of model houses, each designed and assembled by a renowned Dutch architect. The accompanying book was also presented on 10 April 2017 at Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
The Dolls’ House Project was initiated and curated by the architect Peter Masselink as a benefit exhibition to enhance awareness about congenital metabolic disorders: the Inborn errors of metabolism. A series of exhibitions of eighteen sculptures throughout The Netherlands during 2017-18 is to be concluded by an auction of all sculptures; the revenue will be donated to scientific research on the diseases.
Luisterhuis (2017, The Listening House), a collaboration by Hirs and Spaan, can be regarded as the successor of their location-specific interactive sound and poetry app Curvices (2013) with virtual listening rooms, spatially designed by Spaan. The outdoor spaces can be explored by walking through the museum park Klankenbos, Neerpelt, Belgium (2013-present), Citadel, Den Bosch, The Netherlands (2014-present), and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam (2015-16). In Curvices, GPS technology localizes the listener’s position and triggers the respective song or soundtrack. In The Listening House the rooms are actually physically present as part of the model, an abstract dolls’ house, designed by Spaan. Again each room possesses its own soundtrack. The rooms and their sounds can be explored by walking around the model and approaching the desired position. Sensors judge the proximity of the listener and trigger the corresponding sounds signalling the environment and function of the living spaces.
With special thanks to Casper Schipper (electronic wiring setup of speakers and sensors), Remko Spaan (woordwork), Layla Hollestelle and Menno Ubink (technical support).