Interactive sound system Jan Prins (2008) Rnul

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

In 1942 the Maastunnel was opened in Rotterdam. The Rotterdam poet Jan Prins (1876-1948) wrote two quatrains for this purpose (a quatrain is a poem or stanza of a poem of four lines and two rhymes). The poet PC Boutens (1870-1943) also wrote one. Both commissions were awarded by Stichting Rotterdam 1939 and the Nederlandsch Kunstverbond, Rotterdam department. The Second World War prevented the installation of the works. In 1968, one of Jan Prins's quatrains was given a place in the Rijnhaven metro station. That of PC Boutens adorned the northern entrance of the Maastunnel from then on. In 2008, as part of the “Icons and Entrances” program of the Pact op Zuid, CBK Rotterdam had the second poem by Jan Prins installed in word and sound at the southern entrance of the tunnel. This poem could be heard through a sound system from the mouths of various Rotterdammers. They each read a line of the quatrain: A beam of light that crosses the night / A path through silence and solitude / I deliver life's treasures / From South to North, from North to South. The sound system was interactive; as visitors moved through the tunnel, they heard the recitation become polyphonic. The accompanying plaques were created by graphic designer Bart Oppenheimer. At the end of 2012, the sound system with accompanying plaque was removed. Only the plaque with the above line of poetry is still present.

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About the artist

Rnul is a multimedia agency that focuses on interactive uses in public space, whereby the public becomes part of the artwork. Rnul is from Aart Muis (Rotterdam, 1980) and Rob Donkers (Gouda, 1977). They both studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.

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