My friend Hermann-Christoph Müller introduced me to a wonderful museum in Köln. Kolumba is the art museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne. The architecture combines the ruins of the late Gothic church St. Kolumba, the chapel Madonna in the Ruins (1950), a unique archaeological excavation (1973-1976), and a new building designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
In one of the rooms, they had a Rube Goldberg-esque construction that produced all kinds of sounds with balls rolling around and dropping down on trays, etc. Known as Marble Maze, it’s creator – Manos Tsangaris – referred to it as a “three-dimensional automatic musical machine as a model of perception.” The best part wasn’t sitting in the chair in the middle and being surrounded by these sounds; it was the fact that being an old church redone as an art museum, there was a large amount of natural reverb inside – especially the last room in the exhibition which had the highest walls – and you could hear the mechanics of this installation gradually blur into a sound mass as you walked away from it while exploring the outer areas of the museum. Sounds would fade in and out and overlap – no distinct beginnings or endings – which made it beautifully contemplative. I sat in this last room for half an hour. Audio of the walk-through can be heard below.