The eponymous installation "db" (2012) is centrally placed in both halls. In one room, it consists of a black super-directional parabolic loudspeaker that projects a pure wave of sound into the white space; in the other room, a powerful searchlight projects a beam of white light into the black space. The sound in the white room is reduced to a standing sine wave, the simplest musical building block. Every movement by a visitor alters the sonic field, allowing it to be experienced individually. The beam of light in the black room is directed through a hole in a wall at one end of the space and thus becomes perceptible as a white circle. The beam consists of pure white light that, analogously to white noise, contains all the colors of the spectrum. Here, too, visitors' movements alter the space; whenever they cross the beam of light, reflections illuminate the dark room.
Two other works featured in the exhibition — the irreducible [nº1-10] (2009) and the transcendental [nº4] (2012) — also complement each other. In the white room, the ten-part pigment print series the irreducible, which consists of over 1 million digits each rendered in black on black stands in contrast to the ten video projections of the transcendental in the black room. There, a transcendental number consisting of an infinite number of digits is luminously represented, zooming by at an ultra-fast frame rate while generating sounds in real time. Both works involve the representation of infinity based on mathematical research. Here the visitor can see respectively hear a tiny fragment of this endlessness in each space, as if through a window frame in the wall.
The exhibition "db" by Ryoji Ikeda is the latest project in the "Works of Music by Visual Artists" series, which Freunde Guter Musik Berlin e.V. has presented in collaboration with the Nationalgalerie Berlin since 1999 and, since 2002, also with MaerzMusik, the contemporary music festival of the Berliner Festspiele. Since the start of the series, musical works and installations have already been presented by: Hanne Darboven, Yves Klein, Hermann Nitsch, Rodney Graham, Stephen Prina, Lawrence Weiner / Peter Gordon, Christian Marclay, Käthe Kruse, Carsten Nicolai, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Cory Arcangel, and Egill Sæbjörnsson & Marcia Moraes.