The Resonance Effect

Arne Hellwege – Commoveo


By Cyrine Ghrissi

Following the arrows to enter one of the biggest rooms at the Stationskwartier in Leeuwarden (NL), you observe a white semi-circle in the middle with the sound of a machine located at the back distracting your senses, you keep entering to discover what’s inside with wood pipes showing up. Moving separately in the small space, One of the audience started first to pull the wood pipe’s key generating a sound tone that triggers me and the others to respond and pull the knobs of other circular shape wood pipes giving rise to louder tonal sequences played by collective visitors engendering sound visualization into digital patterns on the back left wall.

Responding to the object vibration launched by one visitor to expand and affect all of us to follow the call, pull the instrument’s keypad, and create a louder tone frequency thus establishing a connection between all the visitors and a responsive relationship that entails progressive, mutual transformation and adaptation, Arne Hellwege installation investigates and explores the theme of resonance in today’s society.

Inspired by both religious and societal rituals besides the idea of resonance proposed by the German philosopher and sociologist Hartmut Rosa¹, the craft-oriented and 3D designer uses analog and digital mediums for his interactive and social installation to explore questions that prompted during the covid time and investigate society’s connexion and relationships in today’s fast pace and consumerism era.

Continuously experimenting and exploring asked questions, Arne’s “Commoveo”² installation which was developed for Sign, a vivid and experimental project space for actual interdisciplinary art located in Groningen (NL), reacts as an analog interconnection between Humans to evoke resonance.

“With resonance, I found it interesting because it explains the in-between humans and our behavior with objects.”

Better entering the big room with the red carpet collectively, visitors were invited to pull the keypads that will translate the instrument sound into a digital pattern movement on the back wall. Located in the middle with only a quarter open to the public to enter inside, thus offering an intimate and private moment in the spacious room, the white circle contains on its sphere side 13 church wood organ pipes tubes stand vertically, a microphone in between, and each of the organ pipes contains in the underside of its mouthpiece a keypad to pull by the hands generating a reed to vibrate, causing the whole pipe to resonate and produce sound. Alike wind systems, mechanical forces, and pipes are all packed into the body of a positive organ and allowed to resonate with a sound rooted in tradition despite its compact size. The cuboid pillars function as the board used for the soundboards of pianos. Technically, the product designer Arne Hellwege used a Blassbalg³, an old device to press the air and feature it out the turbulence from the air source which is a vacuum cleaner that was set at the end corner of the room making noise and connecting the old wooden box via wires and cords hidden by long white cable cover tunnels designed as banks. Furthermore, The mechanism was made with plexiglass to separate/ close the airflow and open it via laser cut.

With craft skills and knowledge in physics, the 3D designer Arne created the organ wooden pipes, known as one of the oldest instruments in Europe which span over 500 years and are still widely used today, especially in religious services in churches, synagogues, besides, concert halls, schools, and other public buildings.

Pulling the keypad and inviting everyone to play the organ installation which generates timbre, and sound from the air system functioned by the old device system which as result reflects to envisage the sound as an interactive video viewed in a digital live render, thus distracting the visitors to focus on the tones, Arne Hellwege has created this sensor experience, in collaboration with his friend using the TouchDesign visual programming language.

Combining objects, old traditional ones that still function and produce sounds, set off analog and digital mediums, Arne Hellwege collates between old techniques( organ pipes) and the contemporary audio reactive piece that preacts on the old object to show new patterns.

“There are very much in relation, the analog sound to be visualized not only hear it but also see it.”

Arne Hellwege Commove’s interactive installation is part of his experimentation process that follows “COMMUTATIO” installation, the Latin word stands for both “change” and “exchange” to create “ COMMOVEO ”: con (“with, together”) +‎ moveō (“move”).

Using an old-crafted object that was once used for public gatherings, to send a call triggers all of us to react and generate louder sounds that will visualize into digital moving patterns, Arne Hellwege has evoked resonance and opened a discussion for its importance in Human related contemporary subjects and matters.

During my curatorial text writings task, I went alone to the big room where I wanted to depict, contemplate and interact with the work, I remember sitting there and thinking how much it felt different when I was with other visitors and the importance of interaction to coexist.


1] Born August 15, 1965 in Lörrach, is a German sociologist and philosopher, who teaches at the Friedrich-Schiller the University of Jena.
2] Latin word stands con (“with, together”) +‎ moveō (“move”)
3] German word for bellows or pair of bellows which is a device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air.


Photo by Tom Meixner