Audio, megaphone, gold, 2011. 90 seconds repeating at irregular intervals.
The cry irrupts into the periphery of your hearing, on the border of your awareness of the city’s cluttered acoustic environment. Your ears are inured to these kinds of sonic emergencies in this city of sirens, so it takes a while to even register the alarm that is gradually getting louder somewhere in the distance. There is something melancholic, something anachronistic about the sound, like an air raid siren from war times, a sound from your memories. But then from within the rising and falling of the siren you discern the trembling of a human voice. This emergency is coming from a throat, a boy, a changeling at the interstice of human and machine, adult and child. Just at the moment when the siren’s call reveals itself to be human, it disappears, burning itself out in a final, quivering shriek.
Vienna Boys' Choir treble Beni Klocker sings a vocal interpetation of an air raid siren, broadcast from a gilded megaphone.
The Return has been exhibited under a bridge in Maastricht, in a city square in Vienna, on a clocktower in Marl, as a doorbell in Toronto, as well as in more traditional gallery settings. The Return is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada.