Auditory artist creates a 'sound tank'
By Ben Coxworth
September 22, 2011
Do you like car stereos with good, thumping bass? I mean, do you really, really like them? If so, you might be appreciative of "Tank," a creation by Berlin artist Nik Nowak. The fully-functioning tracked vehicle sports six 12-inch mid-range drivers, three 18-inch subwoofers, four tweeters, and pumps out 4,000 watts of gut-wobbling sound - just think of it as an acoustic assault vehicle.
Nowak, who is a big fan of bass-driven electronic music, started with a used Japanese mini-dumper, which he bought in an internet auction in 2008. He took it apart then reassembled it with a lot of added bits and pieces, to create a vehicle that could bring high-decibel music to outdoor sites. The intact dumping mechanism allows Tank's wall of speakers to be hydraulically raised and aligned when it's ready to start a performance. The frequency ranges are widely spaced, so that Nik can easily achieve the right mix.
Unfortunately, he has discovered that slow, steel-tracked vehicles such as his aren't allowed on most urban roads. Still, there are some venues that it can get to, and it has allowed him to make the statement that he wanted to make.
"With the ghetto blaster or boombox, music was carried into the streets and parks of the cities," he explained. "Today, things have dramatically changed. The concept of sharing music in the park is now realized in cyberspace in the form of anonymous exchanges on internet platforms. My objects are, in a sense, a reaction to this increasing anonymization of life taking place by dwelling in virtual space - a utopian enterprise of setting something against this virtual world by bringing steel, wood and deep bass to the fore."
The video below shows Tank being driven. Other videos, along with images of some of Nowak's other sonic sculptures, can be seen on his website.