Jens Kull: Numb Pulse (2008) – Mankind’s beating heart, an hommage to achievement

A rectangular screen, lodged in the ceiling of a darkened room, showing a piece of sky like a rooflight, not making it apparent at first if it’s a screen or just a window. The sound of jets fades in and a plane, high above, crosses the patch of sky. A second plane appears and then a third, until the whole screen is filled with planes, some flying low, some high, and the deafening noise of over fourty jets fills the room, until it is hardly bearable anymore, then the whole construction of movement and sound collapses as all planes exit the screen and leave an empty sky. The loop starts again.

Dozens of planes cross the urban sky each day, and every one of them can be seen and heard. However, we usually don’t do so anymore because we filter the noise as much as the vision, we have made ourselves numb. All the more, if we happen to see one of these planes, we tend to regard them as a nuisance.

Planes are symbols for human achievement, of the ability to overcome distance and space, and they stand for the freedom of mankind and the fulfilment of the ever-present dream to fly. And they are perfectly designed and optimized machines, unflawed in form and function, a technological adornment and at the same time a reference point on the otherwise endless surface which is the sky, providing our consciousness with a boundary between the earthly and the heavenly, a reminder of the finiteness of the human space.

Numb Pulse brings this symbol back to consciousness. We are forced to look at it closer than we are used to. It brings back memories of a time when we still looked in awe at the wonders of human technology. At the same time, they form the only reference in the rectangular skylight, preventing us from losing track in the uniform blue flat.

Like in a time-lapse, Jens Kull unites the air traffic of a whole day to a single, deafening and stunning moment when we see all these planes which cross above our head during the course of a day. The skylight is literally darkened with planes, and the moment of climax evokes a peculiar mixture of awe and fright, of the beauty and in the meantime of the fright of technology.

In Numb Pulse, Jens Kull again plays a trick on time and our perception of it. And with the ever-increasing and decreasing level of noise, he creates a pulse, referring to what makes mankind’s body run, an hommage to technology as the beating heart of society. In the same time, he confronts us with the fact that we numb ourselves against the effects and side-effects of human progress because our minds are simply unable to keep up the pace.

Numb Pulse (still). Image courtesy of Jens Kull. All rights reserved.
Numb Pulse (still). Image courtesy of Jens Kull. All rights reserved.

>> See other Art reviews here

>> Visit Jens Kull’s official website here

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