The smallest Murmur (Theseus slaying the Minotaur), 2019

collaboration with Eddie Villanueva, in Workflow, curated by Shane Darwent;

midi sprout, plants, synthesizer, inkjet print mounted on wall, pedestals;

With The smallest Murmur (Theseus slaying the Minotaur), Sandra Erbacher and Eddie Villanueva interrogate the architecture and landscape of the open-plan office as a psychic space that alienates and imposes disciplinary control and emotional trauma onto its subjects.

Their sculptural and sound intervention included in Work Flow uses indoor plants, which have traditionally been introduced into the office to create separations between high traffic and quiet areas in an attempt to lower workplace stress, improve air quality and, ultimately, enhance productivity and profit. Rather than operating within this ideological framework, Erbacher and Villanueva are interested in the potential of office plants to “develop a life and agenda of their own” as living and sentient beings and thus to actively break with the ideological agenda of office landscape architects and designers.

To this end, their installation The smallest murmur uses a number of large office plants that are connected to a biodata sonification device, which, via a synthesizer, translates the plants’ bio data into an eerie, abstract soundscape.

To accompany their installation the artists have created a large wallpaper collage of office ceiling tiles marked by the disintegration of any kind of legible system of perspective, which functions as a visual metaphor and extension of their proposed deconstruction of power structures in the open plan office.

Images curtesy of Shane Darwent.