box with the sound of its own making

‘box with the sound of its own making’ (2017) by Jonas Bohatsch and Peter Kollreider is an art classic transfered to the present time. Bohatsch/Kollreider reveal processes of transformation in our technological environment which shape our culture. They shift the relationship between the process of formation of the artwork and its aesthetic form. The initial work of Robert Morris (‘box with the sound of its own making’,1961) consisted of a wooden box with a built-in loudspeaker. It reproduced the sounds which occured while manufacturing the box. You could thus see a wooden box, which acoustically imparted the course of time of its formation within 3.5 hours, and experience the constructing of the artwork itself. This was a reference to the manual aspects of art production as well as a way to associate the experience of time with the artwork.

Bohatsch/Kollreider recode the work of Morris in the Computer environment in order to illustrate changes in central qualities of our manufacturing practice. Just as in the initial work, the sound of its making is played back to the digital box. In this case its the sound of the computer keyboard which was audible while typing the program. The time of emergence is as a result reduced to nearly 5 minutes. This brings multiple references into mind: to the changes of processes in production and the craft, to the expanding manifestations of art, to the perception of time, different interpretations of work and effort, etc. The most massive change however is the possibility to implement algorithms. The digital box is controlled by a few lines of code that constantly change its position and color. With every pageload in the internet the algorithm is generated and the question about originality/non-originality is split up in a third entity. The multiple but exclusive generation of the box in one’s own and many other browsers is opposed to an imaginary original value of the artwork. We see ourselves confronted with the paradoxical simultaneity of unicum and replica.