großer Lauscher (big Eavesdropper) is a 12-channel spatial sound performance, recorded in a radar dome, at a listening station in Berlin, Germany. Field Station Berlin was built by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States government, during the cold war in the early 1960’s. Five narrators from five different continents recite the story of Echo from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, translated from Latin into English. The sound piece is exhibited in darkness, where space can be visualized via sound, through the protracted echo, created by the architecture of Field Station Berlin.
A reading space adjacent to the immersive installation provides visitors with materials from Miserendino’s investigations that inspired the work. Texts that draw from poetry, myth, religion, science and news are accompanied by a 1975 television broadcast of an interview with Frank Church, a senator who chaired a U.S. Senate committee to investigate the NSA, CIA, FBI and IRS.
In order to curate an experience driven solely by sound, the unique acoustic signature of the main radar dome at the Field Station Berlin called for a playful interpretation and immersive implementation through sound design. The performance was recorded in a multichannel audio format in Berlin by Alyssa Miserendino with technical support from Arup. In close collaboration with the artist the audio was then processed, spatialized, and rendered into the final piece by Arup acoustic designers using the proprietary 3D audio technology of the Arup SoundLab®. Arup concurrently designed a spatial sound system to render the piece and provided acoustic consulting expertise for the exhibition space, optimizing the patron aural experience.